I awaken each morning with an expectancy. Oh, not necessarily an expectancy of what I am going to do or where I am going, but rather an expectancy to expect the unexpected when it comes to our dog. His name is Sky, and he has a problem.
For one, he sings a song as he saunters around the yard: "Don't Fence Me In." Many of you will remember this twangy rendition, and can form a mental picture of our husky mix dog creating his own melody. His voice isn't much, but hey, he lives it.
We have tried everything except the underground fence (in the works now) to keep this free spirited canine home and away from the neighbors and the road. However, he does not cooperate and chooses to socialize at every given opportunity.
So what is my expectancy every morning as I awaken, you may ask? My expectancy is to see what my kleptomaniac dog has brought home today. His name is Sky ... and he has a problem.
He sees the other toys the neighbor doggies have, and his Dollar Tree toys just don't look so hot anymore. So, instead of keeping his covetness inside, he helps himself. Sincere apologies to the dogs he has stolen from, but honestly, I've taught him better. Recently, he and I did a wrestling match in order to place yet another collar around his neck. It was a nice one, too ... all camouflage, huge and manly, I thought he'd love it. Oh, it was the biggest game to Sky. He immediately knew it was a game and began thrashing around, wagging his tail and jumping. Every time the collar went over his neck, he opened his mouth, caught it and threw it and me over his head. He ran with the collar and would come back and play cat and mouse with me. Yeah, you can guess which one I was. Finally, I tightened the collar just enough after retrieving the slobbery mess from him and slipped it on him ... voila! Mission accomplished. Now, I could lead him by leash to where he could be free to run, but not in the road! I went in to give him a break, yeah right, I needed the break, and looked out at him, and it was gone.
"How on earth?" I mused. Days later it reappeared as he was playing with it again.
So, every day is fresh with new stolen toys in it. Right now, there is a raccoon with a squeaky toy in it. Hey, they don't sell those at the Dollar Tree! It will be returned to whoever bought it with apologies and compensation, as I am sure, it's just not the same.
So recently, his biggest prize yet appeared. A skin and bones female dog with the exact same coloring as Sky. Oh, yeah, he is happy. I'd almost think it was his mail order bride arriving just in time for the holidays. However, she honestly looks like an Ethiopian poster doggie. Yikes, I've never seen such a malnourished animal. She has been mistreated, it is obvious, as it's been weeks and she is just now letting down her guard enough to not run away when we go outside.
The two of them play for hours running (now that she's eaten enough to have strength). Oh yeah, I feed her, what about it? I know. I know, if you feed them they will stay. But, it would take a hard hearted soul to not feed little "Sugar." OK, I named her, too! Don't scold me. My boys said, "OK, you're feeding her, you've named her Sugar, and Sky is in love with her. Does that mean we can keep her?"
Sky truly is in love. They would make any doggie movie script as they run through the fields, jump, share food and stolen toys, and walk in the moonlight. OK, I made that part up, but I can imagine it.
I've told the kids, Sky has our family's personality. He has friends over all the time! I've never seen a dog who was so hospitable, and not territorial at all as he! One morning, I looked out my kitchen window to see Sky showing an entire pack of dogs our place. I counted five doggie friends as Sky, as if tour guiding, led them around the basketball hoop, treehouse and garden area, all the while explaining they were welcomed anytime, our home was their home and to please come again, and just help yourself to my dog food before their trip home. How do I know this? Because they do come back, that is. Hundreds, OK, maybe not hundreds, but dozens of dogs make their way to the "dog play place" at Auntie Kim's. They come, they eat, they wrestle, rest and go home refreshed.
Now as for Sugar. If you know of a good home for her, can provide references, background check, finger-printing and last year's tax forms and W2s (to make sure you really can feed her) and you are willing to sign a contract with one of the vets in town for care for her, hey, you can have her. For all I know there may be a bonus in that she may come equipped with six to eight husky/mix puppies. Hey, that's a deal if I've ever heard of one. If you want her, just call: 555-no-dogforu - that's 555-no-dogforu - and we'll talk.
(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA, is a homeschool mom and counselor/chaplain of Cornerstone Christian Counseling Center: 304-940-9362 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)