SHATTERING LINES • Ulti‘Mutt’ Memories I’ll Always Cherish

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Animals are amazing. There are many different pets that fit people’s needs. Some  people love snakes (nope, not me), goldfish, cats, gerbils or talking birds. I myself am a dog lover. I love puppies, big dogs, little dogs, cute dogs and ugly dogs (I have never seen an ugly dog). Either way, I love all of them.

My very first dog, Daisy, some sort of a hound, came to our house when I was around nine years old. I found my black and white spotted friend under my grandma’s porch, whimpering, shaking and scared to death. She was so tiny and cute, and I wanted to keep her. My mom and dad weren’t so sure if we could because she potentially belonged to someone else, so they called around  to the country neighbors to find the owner. When they found out that she came from the neighbor down the road, he said he couldn’t take her back since I was already attached, so Daisy became my best friend. 

Daisy always made me smile and laugh, especially when I taught her how to sic the cats, which made my grandma yell at me out her kitchen window when she heard me. In spite of my teaching, she was the best dog. 

I liked it when we had emus in our yard one summer. She and our other dog, Bear, barked and barked at them as the emus trotted through the yard. At one point, Bear chased the emus around the house, and by the time she made it back around, the emus were chasing her. Daisy stayed out of the way, but she did her part by barking at all of them. 

When I was in high school, I drew a picture of Daisy in art class. I still have that picture in a frame at my mom and dad’s house. She was, and always will be, one-of-a-kind.

A few years after Daisy passed away, another dog showed up on our doorstep. Since we already had Bear along with our other dog, Jake, we thought “Why not?” My nieces and nephews named him J.D. after John Deere tractors. He was reddish-brown, cute as a button, and as skittish as he could be. 

J.D. wanted to be loved on so badly, however, he was so timid that he never let anyone get too close to him. He would sniff my hand from a distance, but that was about it. I worked with him day in and day out, trying to get him to learn that I was not going to hurt him, and then one day it struck me, I was doing the exact same thing to God. 

In the beginning of my relationship with God, He would let me know He was always with me, holding out His hand and telling me that it was okay, and that I could trust Him. However, I was so scared that I would pull away––just like J.D. did with me. I wanted to get close, but I let fear and panic override my spiritual knowledge of God. Over the years, I have learned that I can approach Him with every thought, feeling and hurt––I don’t have to be afraid.

So what happened with J.D.? I finally got him tame enough to come to me and to let me pet him and hug on him. He enjoyed being loved on and knowing he was loved. Not long after, he was hit by a car. What little time I had with J.D. was time well-spent and I learned a lot from knowing him.

And then there’s Missy, who came  around right before J.D. died. She was my baby. We found her running through our field out back one cold winter day.  I thought she made it back to her home since we didn’t see her for a few days. However, she returned, needing a home, and we gave her one.  Missy was a black, white and brown spotted coonhound, and she had a face that made me melt. She was so sweet, spoiled and ornery. 

I remember the time she found herself in a jam, where she needed help. I could hear her barking from somewhere over by my grandma’s house. The closer I got to the shed, the more I heard her yelping. I figured she had something trapped like she always did. I looked around and didn’t see anything. I checked all around the shed, until I found her––stuck up in the backside of the combine. She had apparently chased an animal a little too far and couldn’t free herself.  

I‘ve been there, chasing something that looks good, then finding myself in a delicate situation. I call on God, and just like that, He rescues me. And of course, my dad freed Missy from her misery that day. She learned her lesson and never pulled that stunt again; however, I’m still learning.

Over the years, Missy and Jake went on adventures together like the dogs in Homeward Bound (unfortunately our dogs chased the cat away early on). They ate together and even slept in the same doghouse. Missy and Jake were attached at the hip like a married couple.

Even though we lost Jake in 2018 to old age, Missy continued to thrive. Much older than when she arrived at our house, she kept me entertained. I always loved to hear the sound of her bark, especially when she would get excited when any of us came home from somewhere. 

Oh, and then there was mealtime. She got so excited when my dad would step outside (yep, definitely my dog), because she was going to get something good from our scrap bowl. In the last year or so, she enjoyed eggs, milk, canned dog food, and so much more. She was living her best life, and enjoying every moment of it.  

Several months ago Missy left us the same way she came into our lives. Although she is gone, I know she had a good life––that all of our pups had a good life while in our care. 

I’m glad God made dogs, and I thank Him that He allowed me to have Daisy, Bear, J.D., Jake and Missy. I wouldn’t change the memories or the lessons I learned from them. 

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