People who know me quickly come to understand I’m not a dog lover. It is a fact of my life about which I’ve recently had some serious pangs of guilt. I believe all animals are God’s creatures. Because God created them, they deserve respect from humans. Almost every family that has a dog (or dogs) has ceded familial love to them. In principle, I get that.
However, when I married my husband, he was (like me) tender to animals in general but disinterested in the idea of family pets … at least for us. Neither of us cared for animals that bark, jump up and take liberties to lick you uninvited.
All that changed (for my husband, anyway) more than ten years ago when our son and daughter-in-law brought a puppy named Tank through the door. If you’d like to read this story in greater detail, I posted about it here.
More on my pangs of guilt in a minute, but I thought I’d temporarily shift into a semi-friendly mode and share this lighthearted poem about “my dog” which is a wholly fictional account. Written many years ago, I could only imagine what dog ownership might be like. This was the result.
In reality, Tank isn’t a mutt but a pure-bred Labrador Retriever. (The above picture of Tank with my husband is only added for visual interest.) Showing how long ago this poem was written, today’s license tags today surely exceeded the seven bucks threshold long ago.
Tank is an indoor dog. Because he’s a black labrador, he sheds stiff, thick black hair everywhere. We don’t allow him in areas of the house that are carpeted, but his shed hair still gets carried throughout the house! When he’s been outdoors, he’ll return with a layer of dirt and grime covering his coat. Consequently, wherever he lies down, the area will have a noticeable layer of dirt after he moves elsewhere. (This is like having the Charlie Brown character Pigpen living in my home!)
Tank’s dog bed is ensconced in my laundry room, so whenever I enter that room, I have to step over him, step over his large dog bed (which he only occasionally uses) and breathe what is (to me) dog air. [Don’t even let me start on the stench emanating from within my husband’s pickup truck where the dog often spends time. It’s awful!] I would be less than candid if I neglected to admit one time when Tank wandered off and was gone about a week, I felt sorry for my husband … while inwardly I rejoiced at the prospect of retrieving my laundry room for exclusive use as a laundry room!
Maybe I’m a baby, but can you sense the rationale behind my negative attitude? Those of you who are dog lovers, I understand if you don’t feel the same (or if you conclude I’m a creature from another planet). But can you see my side of things, if only a bit?
Back to my pangs of guilt, yes, I feel bad about my hostility to this four-legged creature. When I must sweep up the dirt and debris he leaves behind, my resulting resentment disgusts me. My heart accuses me of being an unfeeling beast! And there’s not a shred of denial because the pangs of guilt I feel are condemnation enough. But love? Nope, I don’t have it in me. Nada.
So today, as a means of penance, I tip my poetic pen to Tank the dog. If I ever wanted to have a dog, he’d be the one.