It was 4 am last Wednesday, when I heard someone at our backdoor. I jumped up! I was alone. Everyone was asleep and I was, of course, watching Babysitters Club on Netflix. (Shut up its classic television). "What should I do?" I thought. There was no time to run and get my husband. They could break in the door before that. I grabbed a weapon -the broom. I was ready for war. Suddenly, I heard an odd squeal followed by a loud bark. I looked out of the window. I could put aside the notion of fighting off super villains, it was only A ROOSTER. Yes, one of my “eclectic” neighbors is the proud owner of a full grown boy-chicken (That isn't sexist, is it). What he does not own is a farm. I mean, we barely have grass. Luckily, I was rescued by the neighbor’s dog; a sweet little pooch that plays soccer my the boys and eats their snacks every afternoon. She was protecting our house from the evil chicken. I was so grateful. I have always liked this little dog. She favored my kids over the rest of the children on our street, and early that morning she was our furry security guard. As my canine hero ran for home I thought “I have to be sure to bring her a treat and tell her thank you”. I never did.
Today, the kids came home and told me she had died. I instantly felt a sense of grief. No, this dog was not mine, but she had become a part of my children’s lives. I work from home while somehow managing (or not) to raise three little boys. Most days I am extremely overwhelmed. I pray for peace and quiet before the children even wake up in the morning. Activities like using the bathroom alone or eating while seated are faint memories of a life I no longer live. One day, while my children were out in the yard whining incessantly about their “extreme boredom”, a dog wandered onto our property. I was initially hesitant. Where did this dog come from? I went outside to survey the scene. As I opened the door I heard a roar of laughter. This dog was entertaining my children! She danced around their legs; ran relay races; she even sat on her hind legs while they ate their afternoon snack. After that day, she trotted directly into our yard as soon as my boys appeared outside. For at least 2 hours a day, their dad and I lived in a world free of complaining and moaning. This dog was a Godsend!
My youngest son is Autistic. He seldom allows anyone (man or animal) to invade his personal space. I watched the small dog approach my son differently than she had his older brothers. First she barked at him to get his attention. Once their eyes met she lowered her head to the ground and lifted just her eyes. They were completely focused on one another. She whined for him to pet her, just once though, she was being patient with him. He slowly approached and the adorable hound stayed completely still. He pet her head, before quickly pulling his hand back. She remained completely still. This process lasted a few minutes before my normally reserved child was on the ground giggling and smiling. He was enjoying the company and the affection. We took dozens of pictures while we watched in amazement as he connected with this animal. I was amazed by her intuition. Again I thought about doing something for her in return, and again, I did not.
I like to believe that quiet doggie was trying to give me a little help. It may sound a little strange to some, but every mom needs a little assistance now and then. Mine just so happened to have four legs. I had a mommy ally and took it for granted. She helped protect my puppies from little neighborhood bullies. She entertained them all summer long. She would even bark if they got too close to the street. I wish I could have done something more than pet her head a few times to show her my appreciation for all she had done. I'm sure this all sounds incredibly silly, but it is not easy raising kids. And you take the help where you can get it. Recently she gave birth to two adorable pups. Those poor babies are now motherless. My heart breaks for her children. We should make sure to return the favor, and look out her pups as she did ours. She was a living, breathing creature who died too soon. Thank you, little dog for all of your help. You will be greatly missed and forever an honorary member of my family.
"People have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they'll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don't. I may be wrong, but I call it love - the deepest kind of love. It's a shame that people all over the world can't have that kind of love in their hearts," he said. "There would be no wars, slaughter, or murder; no greed or selfishness. It would be the kind of world that God wants us to have - a wonderful world.” ― Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows