Love for a great dog changes even hardest heart

  • Sunday, December 29, 2013

Moses the dog could be the son and brother that’s been missing from the O’Bryant household. PHOTO PROVIDED

I am not an animal person. I don’t think this is a secret to anyone who knows me, or anyone who has been reading my column for any length of time. There was the Goldfish Massacre of 2010, where in only 48 hours, the lives of countless fish were lost by my unskilled hand. (And a 2-year-old who felt strongly that they should eat six to seven times a day.)

I was terrified of dogs as a child and never really had a pet. I was against animals in general but most specifically about animals that lived in houses with people because — gross.

But as soon as my oldest daughter, Aubrey, started talking, she began praying for her very own dog.

“Dear God, thank you for my Mommy, Daddy and sister and dis house and for my dog. Amen,” she’d solemnly pray.

“Aubrey you don’t have a dog,” I gently reminded her, never saying out loud, “and you never will.”

“I know, Momma. That’s why I pray for it!”

For years she has quietly asked for a dog. A dog would make all of her dreams come true. She could only be fulfilled in life if she had a dog. I was firmly against the dog idea, as you may have gathered. But she found support in her little sister and in her daddy.

Zeb and Emma joined her in a full court press to get a dog and I finally relented. A friend shared a picture of a litter of lab mix puppies on Facebook and said they needed a home, and I caved. Sadie, my youngest was only 3 at the time and was as terrified of dogs as I was as a child. I knew we were going to have to get a small dog or a puppy so that it would be smaller than she was so she could get used to him. We threw around a slew of names — James Earl Jones being my top pick. I just really wanted to yell out my screen door, “James Earl Jones, you get back here.” But I was once again outnumbered, Moses was chosen by Zeb and the girls.

He was a playful puppy, he nipped at Aubrey and Emma and chased them around the yard but somehow he seemed to understand that Sadie was afraid of him. (Probably all that shrieking and the way she scaled all the way up my legs anytime he came within 10 feet of her.) So Moses began gently courting Sadie, and I slowly started to like him. Only a few weeks after we got Moses, he was in the house playing with Aubrey in the kitchen. Sadie had taken a nap on a pallete in the middle of our sunroom and when I heard her waking up I went to lie down with her. I kissed her squishy cheeks and we snuggled up together. That’s when I noticed Moses standing at the office door. Sheepishly, he poked his nose around the door. I called him to me and he took a few tentative steps into the room but paused a few feet away. Then he laid down on his belly and crawled the rest of the way to our pile of blankets. He was quiet and still and peering at Sadie, wrapped in my arms, she wasn’t shrieking with fear, so slowly, Moses dropped his head onto her arm. And just like that, my heart melted.

Last week, Zeb was away on business and one evening the girls and I came home to see Moses shivering in the driveway. I let him come into the kitchen for a few minutes before we were out the door again. We ran a few errands and decided to get him a bed to keep him off the ground at night but when we came home, the girls dropped the bed in the kitchen, Moses walked straight to it and collapsed with a gleeful grin on his face. The girls begged me to let him sleep there for the night and, against my better judgement, I agreed. He’s a chewer and there are a lot of things in my kitchen I didn’t want destroyed.

Moses stayed put that night, and the next. And the next. And the next. And the night after that, the girls found an old towel and tucked him into bed, several hours later I walked in the kitchen to find him passed out, still under the blanket with only his little doggy head hanging out.

As I type this, Moses is laying on his memory foam bed in a patch of sunshine falling through the kitchen window. And beyond the fact that 1) I have a dog. 2) I actually love said dog and 3) Said dog has been sleeping in my house for weeks — I just wrote an entire column about my love for this dog. I am, apparently, a changed woman.

Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.

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