"We're all just fragile threads, but what a tapestry we make." – Jerry Ellis

Archive for the ‘dog lovers’ Category

My Tribute to Misbehaving Dogs

Grendel

Grendel

Chester

Chester

Last week, Erin and I took our crazy dogs to the vet to get their Bordatella vaccine for the kennel. I love these dogs, I really do, but when they are together and excited/nervous about something they morph into two lunkheads who completely tune out my voice. I’m glad the Dog Whisperer lives in California so I don’t have to worry about accidentally running into him at the park. Chester and Grendel have a lot to learn about being in the calm-submissive state Cesar Millan teaches people to work towards in their dogs.

Personally, I don’t think Chester (the Beagle) has ever forgotten that after one particular visit to the vet, he came home with a cone on his head, missing a dew claw and a certain other part of his anatomy I won’t mention by name. He has not forgiven the people at Harvester Animal Clinic, and has made it his quest in life to make every subsequent trip there miserable for all involved. See Chester in Action. Sure, he looks like a cute, roly poly Beagle, but inside Beelzebub awaits, complete with throaty growls and clawing.

Dogs chilling on a stop during their walk

Dogs chilling on a stop during their walk

My dear husband is ever faithful in taking them for nice, long walks that manage to work out some of that pent up energy. We have a large, fenced backyard for them to run around in, but it just doesn’t compare to exploring the great big world at the park. I, as a runner, have often thought it’d be great to have a four-legged running partner, but when I’ve tried it before it was a lot of tangled leashes and near-miss face plants. As a result, Darrell ends up taking those two on walks while my friend and running partner, Amy, and I run in the park. Over this past weekend, we had beautiful, sixty degree weather—uncommon for January in Missouri—and took them out to the trail in Woodlands Sports Park. They had not been out to take a park walk for about two months, so just getting the leashes out got them wound up.

We're on a walk!  As you can see by their faces, they get a little excited in the beginning of a walk and try to one-up each other.

We’re on a walk! As you can see by their faces, they get a little excited in the beginning of a walk and try to one-up each other.

Have you ever heard a Beagle’s bark? Bark is a term I use loosely to describe the sound Chester makes. It sounds more like a pig stuck in a barbed-wire fence trying to yodel. On the other hand, Grendel, the larger lab mix, has a squeaky little bark that really does sound like the honk a goose makes. The combination of the two is slightly more pleasant than nails on a chalkboard, and the volume is ear-splitting. This sound is repeated when we A.) Harness them up. B.) Get them to the car. C.) Arrive at the park and get them out of the car and D.) Encounter any other living creature on the path (but mostly when it’s other dogs). Once we get about two miles in, they are a little better, but they always seem to get their second wind. I am more exhausted when we take the dogs for three mile walks than when I do a ten-mile training run.

After a walk on a hot day, we get a little peace and quiet from two tired pups.

After a walk on a hot day, we get a little peace and quiet from two tired pups.

All of that being said, one would wonder why on Earth these two smelly, shedding, mess-making and obnoxious creatures bring so much joy into my life.

This is what happens when the guinea pig's Timothy Hay is not secured and we dare to leave the house.

This is what happens when the guinea pig’s Timothy Hay is not secured and we dare to leave the house.

My dogs, ill-behaved as they can be, are also a tremendous example of unconditional love. Even when I am sick, sad, stinky or grumpy, they want to be in the same room where I am—usually the closer the better. When I pull into the driveway, their little faces are there in the front window, greeting me with happy tails wagging. They wag their tales when I sing the goofy little songs I make up about them—even when the lyrics are not very flattering to them. They know exactly when I’m cold, and snuggle up to me. And they absolutely NEVER, EVER complain about my cooking.

      Grendel

So yes, those two yapping, anxious pups, who have the ability to make my blood pressure jump and my patience reach its end, also bring me the gift of peace. When I rub a round, plump dog-belly or scratch behind floppy ears I am reminded to slow down and enjoy the comforts of home. I watch them playing in the backyard with an old stick and remember joy can be found in simplicity. I see the two of them curled up snoozing and I’m reminded that a little nap is good for the spirit. And I know that I don’t ever return to an empty house—I always come home.

Snoozing Buddies

Snoozing Buddies

Remembering Charlie

Charlie hanging out in the yard.

Charlie hanging out in the yard.

Today, one of my best friends who happens to be my cousin, had to euthanize their family dog, who succumbed to cancer.  Kim and Matt had Charlie since the early days of their marriage, and like most newlywed couples, Charlie the dog was like their first child.  Charlie was exceptionally smart and well-behaved.  In fact, I wish our two dogs now had half his manners!  We all loved Charlie.

We have had to have two dogs euthanized and one died on her own.  Each loss hurt tremendously and I felt like I’d lost one of my best friends.  I pulled this out of my writings that I wrote after we had to put our dog, Amber, to sleep back in 2004.  Today I’d like to dedicate the message Kim, Matt, Joe and Jason in memorial to Charlie!  RIP sweet friend.

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW

This past March, I had to take our beloved dog, Amber, to be put to sleep.  Now, if you’re not an animal lover, you may be thinking, “It’s only a dog.” But if you’ve ever loved a pet you’ll know how difficult it is to make that decision.

I’d had Amber since I was 15 years old—a little over 17 years.  Before I met my husband, had babies and became a “grown up”, I had Amber.  Yes, she was just a dog, but she did teach me a lot about loyalty, unconditional love and devotion.  Though I’d had other pets growing up, she required a bit more care and attention (I couldn’t just leave her in the cage like a guinea pig or hamster), teaching me responsibility and how to nurture another.  And during her puppy “chewing” phase, she taught me patience—I went through a lot of shoes.  She was a wonderful companion.

So, other than memorializing my pet’s memory, what does this have to do with the Bible?  Well, it got me to thinking about where pets belong in God’s kingdom.   I desperately wanted to believe that somehow my dog—my loyal friend—was in some sort of “doggie” heaven.

Once I asked a former co-worker, who happened to be going through seminary, if dogs go to heaven when they die.  He explained to me that the Bible didn’t say anything specific about pets, because back in the time it was written animals were either food or workers.  So, unfortunately, there are no “Rover” verses for me to look up in my Concordance!   Yet we know God created animals, and it does speak of God’s creatures.  The verse that came to me was Luke 12:6-7.  I didn’t remember the words of the passage perfectly, let alone the Scripture reference, but I remembered the song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”, with the line, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know that he watches over me.”  So, when I felt ready, I looked up “sparrow” in my Concordance and found where I could look it up.

Call it coincidence (I don’t), but the verse just so happened to be the one the Sunday School kids were talking about the very next day in Chapel at Sunday School.  I’m not sure if my son, Tyler, who was grieving for his pet, made the same connection with that verse that I did.  But I found it comforting.

In the Scripture passage, which really begins with Luke 12:1, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, and an apparently “rowdy crowd” (I call trampling on each other rowdy!)  He starts to warn them about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.  He tells them not to be afraid of those people who can do physical harm to them, but instead, they should fear Him who “has the power to throw you into hell.”  Not exactly a warm fuzzy, huh?  But he goes on, and what he has to say in verses 6 and 7 is heartwarming to me.  “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don’t be afraid;  you are worth more than many sparrows.”  In other words, the mere sparrow was just a lowly creature not given much value here on Earth.  But still God cares for it, knowing each of His creations intimately.  This Scripture gives me hope and gives us a glimpse at a God who lovingly created our world, down to the tiniest, seemingly insignificant creature.

Our pets, creations of the same loving Father who made us, have a place with Him.  Now does this mean dogs and other pets go to heaven?  I don’t know.  And I am certain that there are numerous arguments to be had about an animal’s soul or lack thereof.  But a God who loves the insignificant sparrow created it all, and I can put my faith in that fact.  “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know that he watches over me.”

Welcome to The Lighthearted Dragonfly Blog

It’s 2014 and I’m finally blogging! After much internal dialogue (and debate), I’m putting “it” out there. You see, “it” was what all the debate was about. What do I have to add to the internet that’s not already been blogged, tweeted and posted by ten thousand other people already?  Maybe nothing new, wild and crazy, but perhaps that’s not the point.

I love a lot of stuff.  That is, I enjoy a lot of stuff.  Stuff like being a wife and Mom, my friends, running, writing, my dogs, trying new recipes, wine, exploring and deepening my faith, being in a Book Club, experiencing the curve ball in life of aging parents, hanging out at the Lake, finding ways to avoid housework, finding ways to get excited about housework.  You get the idea.  I especially love connecting with other people who enjoy a variety of things too.  I like hearing their thoughts on all these things and the feeling that there are other people out there that have a single, fragile thread of a commonality with me.  That someone might read something I’ve written and think, “I know exactly what she means!”

So why The Lighthearted Dragonfly? I have always loved dragonflies and how beautiful and delicate they are.  Especially the blue ones. They apparently like me, too–they seem to land on me often.  When trying to think of a blog name (not as easy as I thought it would be) I found a website that talked about dragonflies and their meaning.  It said they symbolized transformation, joy and lightness of being.  I latched onto that.  How inspiring to envision the slender, iridescent dragonfly, full of lightness and joy, perched on my shoulder as I blogged away.  At least that’s how I envisioned it.  I have found dragonflies spark my creative muse.  And they make me happy.

So thanks for taking the time to visit my blog today.  Hope you return often and chime in on a topic now and then.  Until next time…

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