My friend and manicurist works with a rescue group and when she showed me this fluffy guy’s picture and told me he had only hours to live, something irrational clicked in my heart and off I went to the rabies center where I paid the $38.00 fee and brought him home.
Since we had planned to leave town for several days, we ask the vet to board and take care of him while we were gone. We also had him groomed so when we got back a healthy handsome dog awaited us. We named him BJ in honor of Tennessee’s football coach, Butch Jones.
It has been over three years since we had a dog, and like childbirth, with time you forget most of the aggravation. Another thing I forgot was that, like children, no two pets are alike and when BJ began to act like BJ instead of Bailey I had to readjust my thinking.
A mastiff, Bailey was a gentle slobbery giant. You could always see him coming and most of the time he was coming slowly. BJ, a little guy, can come from anywhere in a flash with a quickness that makes me nervous and reminds me I have no agility.
For over a week we have been training this pup to establish a routine we can live with, and though there have been a few mishaps, things are going well.
The vet said he was around three years old so I thought he would be past the chewing stage. I lost two wicker rockers and the cushions on them when our mastiff was teething. Though not as big, BJ is just as bad but without the slobber. He will chew, eat and swallow almost anything he finds.
Sunday we left him in the laundry room while we were at church. When we returned and opened the laundry room door, it seemed at first glance to be covered with snow. A closer look revealed the results of a bored dog who had found the paper towels stored under the pie safe.
It looked disastrous, and as I cleaned up the mess I muttered, “What in the world was I thinking?”
I’ve muttered that same phrase several times since then and have plotted graceful ways to ease him into someone else’s care.
The thing keeping me from putting a plan into action is not only the nagging belief that I should take care of this responsibility that I committed to, but that I may need this dog.
Taking him out in the morning allows me to see some spectacular sunrises.
Taking him for walks means I get more exercise and by bedtime I’m weary and fall into a deep sleep that lasts all night.
He reminds me that it’s not all about me and too often I think that if it’s not it should be.
His looks of love make me think he appreciates the effort.
I once said that we should all await the return of the Lord with the same devotion that Bailey waited for his master to return. He would sit patiently at the door while Don was gone, and upon hearing the truck turn the corner, that big old dog would break into a happy dance and bark with joy.
BJ’s joy is more subdued, but just as sincere.
Mother wrote in her journal, “Every miracle large or small begins with an act of obedience.”
She was writing of spiritual principles, but her words remind me that teaching obedience to a pet is the first step to a rewarding relationship for pet and human, and the results will be worth the effort.