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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for Our Loyal Dog

anita's thankful post IMG_0754_1

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My oldest son was only 3 when he decided he wanted a dog. As an overwhelmed mother of three under age 5, I said, “when you are 5, you can get a dog.” Fast-forward almost two years, and my son started talking about his upcoming 5th birthday and how he was going to get his new dog. He was holding me to my promise.

I tried to talk him out of it. “How about a new bike for you birthday?” His response, “That would be great – a bike and a dog.” I tried that with many different bribes, but he always added the dog. I decided to just go for the dog. We drove to a house in Henryville, Indiana, to meet puppies that were a mix of Australian Shepherd and Black Labrador Retriever. My son chose a puppy that looked like a Lab with a touch of white on his chest and the only one of the seven with dirt on his nose. He named him Max within five minutes of loading into the van. They were inseparable, and Max was a confidant in times that my son felt no one else cared. Max has felt charged with the responsibility to guard my children and our house with fierceness for 12 years.

My son is now 17, and his dog Max is at the end of his life as he has bone cancer. We are thankful that Max has been a part of our family for so many years. I have had many pets, but this one has been thoroughly integrated into our everyday family life. I know many of you have had similar experiences with saying goodbye to a beloved pet, how has it been for you? Share some of your thoughts and ideas here. What are you thankful for?

Contributed by Anita Oldham, Editor of Today's Family and Today's Woman magazines.

1 comment:

  1. As i am a little older I have been lucky enough to have two dogs in my life that have had similar impact. My first dog was Sparkle. She was a gift for my seventh birthday - like you, my mother was hesitant to get my a dog but after much begging she gave in. Sparkle lived to be seventeen years old - honestly much too old, but she was such a part of the family that we gave her a bed and covered her with blankets at night to keep her warm towards the end of her life. Like Max and your son, Sparkle was my confidante for a full seventeen years. I didnt always value her as much as I should have because I was young and assumed that she would always be with us. But through my teen years when I was sad, all i had to do was sit down on the outside stairs and she would come to me and let me cry on her.

    As an adult I had another dog, Tinka who was truly the best dog i have ever owned. She had some behavioral issues (but really ... dont we all?). She was loyal and protective but at the same time gentle and kind. When any one of us was sick she would lay next to us and you could literally feel her taking your pain away. My boyfriend had kidney surgery and when he came home he was stuck in bed for about two weeks. This dog laid with him for two entire weeks. I had to force her to get down and eat or go outside ... and then she was immediately back in the bed at his feet. Our house caught fire a few years back and she stayed with my mother while our house was being repaired. Mom came down with a nasty case of the flu and Tinka stayed next to her for 48 hours ... leaving her alone except to lick her nose every few hours just to see Mom open her eyes and then she'd lay back down. As soon as she knew Mom was ok - Tink was ok.

    Good loving dogs are a gift. You never know when that gift will be taken away from you so once you get that dog that understands you and loves you no matter what mood youre in when you come home from a horrible day at the office ... you should grab on to that dog and keep it near :)

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