by Maria Schulz
While browsing the internet the other day, I came across an article called “8 Wonderful Dog Stories.” I also found another article about a cat that saved “his” little boy from a dog that was attacking him.
I was astounded by the heroism of these dogs and cats, but it got me thinking…. What exactly does my dog do all day?
A Typical Work Day for My Dog
4:45 a.m.: start hitting Maria in head with toy or paw
5:00 a.m.: lay crying in hallway because you’re awake, so that means everyone else should be too
6:10 a.m.: Jump for joy when Maria finally comes out to get breakfast and open back door
6:12 a.m.: finish breakfast
6:17 a.m.: find Maria and start hitting her with paw again because she’s asleep for some reason
6:18 a.m.: lay crying in hallway
6:20 a.m.: start bleating like a sheep
6:21 a.m.: jump for joy when Maria gets up again
6:30 a.m.: park yourself next to Maria as she makes lunches. Cry often, in case she forgets to share the turkey with you.
7:15 a.m. : jump for joy as you go out for walk
7:30 a.m.: say hello to neighbor dogs, and then try your best to run away from neighbor dogs
7:45 a.m.: make sure you sniff every lamppost and hydrant
7:55 a.m.: Is today garbage day? Recycling day? The Raccoons Made a Mess Day? Oh joy, there’s food and garbage on the ground. Hooray!
8:15 a.m.: when you get home, throw up somewhere because you ate garbage off the ground
8:20 a.m.: crawl into your bed, drop from sheer exhaustion, and rest for the next 10 hours.
Basically, she’s got all day to save the world. Hasn’t she heard about all those dogs that are saving seizure victims and rushing into burning buildings? Or even that cat that saves children from marauding dogs?
But what does she do? She sleeps all day, with occasional breaks to guard the house and bark incessantly, until late afternoon. Why? Because she wants to eat dinner, walk the streets, meet up with her doggie friends, and check if there’s any garbage on the ground.
I make fun of my dog a lot, but she brings a lot of joy into my life. While some days are less joyful than others thanks to her uncanny ability to wake me in the middle of the night and eat garbage off the ground, she is mostly a good girl.
We got her following the death of our old dog, Cokey. That chocolate Labrador was so smart, she could’ve balanced our checkbook if we would’ve let her. We got Cokey when she was 6 months old, on a 103 degree day. You never saw a dog so happy to run and run and run…even in the middle of July.
Cokey had tons of boundless energy and she could’ve used a pot of coffee and a couple of packs of cigarettes to calm her down. To keep her happy and out of mischief, we took her for hour-long walks in the mornings and at night, bookended by stroller walks with our little kids and tons of play time in the yard chasing her beloved tennis ball.
In her prime, Cokey couldn’t wait to meet her friends at our local field, where she and her pal, Honey, enjoyed a good solid hour of running or scattering the geese on “their” field.
But time passed, and our dog started to slow down. She and Honey still wanted to walk up to the field to play, but then they would lay down and watch the younger crowd of dogs run for a while.
That beloved chocolate dog got a face full of salt and pepper fur, and she began to limp a lot. The hours that she slept grew and grew, until we finally had to beg her to go for a walk. Eventually, her running days ended after she tore her knee, and her boundless energy did not return. Her friend, Honey, passed away, and we suddenly realized that time was not as endless as it had once seemed for our dogs.
Eventually, Cokey left us too…and in those first horrible days after she passed, I doubted I would ever get a dog again Why? Did I need the endless worry and responsibility that comes with loving another creature? Why put myself in the path of the sadness that comes along with losing another pet? Been there, done that. Did I need to do it again?
At first, I said no. But then I realized: loving our pets made us better people. It’s helped us make new friends and gave us a glimpse of unconditional love. It taught our children compassion, and showed them how to put another creature’s needs ahead of their own.
To quote the 80s country music star/pop crossover artist Ronnie Milsap (and how often does that happen?): “Even though I lost you girl. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Sappy, but true…and at least I didn’t quote Christoper Cross’s “between the moon and New York city” lyrics from his theme song to “Arthur.”
Two weeks to the day that Cokey went on to join Honey at that field in the sky, we brought Trixie home. Her paper name is “Maria’s Winter Sunshine,” because she made a bleak time in my life so much brighter.
The years have flown by, and my dog is now about to become a senior citizen. I see her body changing, and realize that she is starting to slow down a bit. I’ve learned to accept her changes and limitations. I understand them, because we’ve grown older together.
No, she doesn’t run into burning buildings and save people from roaring fires, or warn me that I’m about to have a seizure, or even do much besides take me for a walk every day and get me out to play.
But maybe she saved me after all.
There are few things that make my dog happier than a roasted turkey. Follow this recipe for a moist, juicy bird that you (and all your pets) will enjoy.
So…what’s your dog/cat tale? Which one of your pets was your favorite? Does your pet love roasted turkey? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!