Finding Love on the Side of the Road

Literally last year, my husband found a stray dog. Long story short, he called me up to tell this funny story about a dog curled up in his lap. And then he took the dog to a local shelter and surrendered her.

Our geriatric dog is aging by the day and as the snow falls, I watch my eleven-going-on-eighty dog become slower and more crotchety. 

Somehow, I extrapolated my husband’s “let me tell you this weird story” into a cry for a new dog. And then I took this crazy inference and stitched it to the Girl. And we actually entered a state of negotiations regarding this potential new dog. 

Nearly twelve years ago, when I got Loki, I pretty much wore down my Beloved with my pleading. I thought we were getting a family dog. 

Nope, I got my dog. Which is fine. But I won’t narrate here the arguments and issues we had because of a lack of cohesion. 

So the idea of introducing a new dog into our family dynamic was nerve wracking to say the least. We are in a huge state of change. The Boy is traveling to Greece for three weeks. I am renewing my National Board Certification. Plus I might be studying overseas for part of this summer and hiking a hundred miles on the AT. Oh and the Girl might be spending a week at an astronomy summer camp. Plus she wants to work as a page next winter-spring for the state government.  And I won’t even go into my Beloved’s insane work-Boy Scout schedule. 

We didn’t need another dog. But I kept pulling up the picture one of my husband’s friends took of him holding the dog. And I felt my resolve break a little more. 

Because once we really sat down and talked about getting this new dog, I realized that my Beloved had fallen in love with this new dog. As much as might be a bit gruff and austere, he truly is soft and compassionate. I just have to find my way past the thorns that are wrapped in velvet. 

I admitted that I had truly read into what he was saying. I pulled myself out of the decision making process. I could see too many cons. I saw just as many pros. But I was frightened about interrupting the placidity of my status quo. 

I was also afraid of loving another dog. 

Watching my beloved geriatric baby approach death is destroying me. And I don’t want to feel this way again. Loving a pet is a voluntary act, and loving a pet to the end is like trying to amputate my heart with a blunt blade. 

But the little dog in my husband’s arms kept beckoning to me. And then, my daughter shoved aside her fears of the new dog massacring the Girl’s stuffed animal collection. 

And so we waited the required time for the original owners to retrieve their dog. We waited and I prayed and Friday, ahead of the snow storm, my Beloved and the Girl went shopping for dog supplies. 

The snow fell and I dreamed about owning this new dog while loving my Loki, my old man baby. And my gruff austere husband braved the insane drivers who think they know how to drive in snow but can’t. 

He was the person at the shelter. He had been calling to check on the dog nearly daily. And they released her to him

Leia came home today. She’s underweight and a bit skittish.  My Ugly-Cat hates her. Loki puts up with her. The Boy feigns indifference do that Loki won’t feel jealous. 

My husband and I just laugh. We hold each other and laugh. Later, though, while I worked on a puzzle, Leia climbed up in the chair behind me. 

We had just returned home from a frigid three mile hike on pavement, snow, and ice. 

I sat at my dining room table and swam my fingers over the pieces. Leia curled up behind me. Her trembling stilled. My world warmed. And I was thankful that God sent to me a little love from the side of the road.  

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