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It happens: that’s life

By DAVID WHITLOCK

Life Matters

My daughter sent me a text message, shortly before church service was to start. It was a picture of her dining room, showing all the furniture cleared back, and the message: “If I’m not at church this morning, here’s why. Dog for sale (almost).”

Back in December, we had all “oohed and ahhed” over her new puppy, a Christmas gift from her husband. The Golden Doodle, (they named him Kobe), was so sweet and cuddly, or so everyone seemed to agree.

But now, a couple of months later, the once precious little Christmas gift has grown to a pesky child (in dog years). He jumps up on me every time I enter their house, nipping at my pant legs. “Down Kobe,” isn’t all that effective in controlling the gangling dog.

And so, last Sunday morning, Kobe had apparently experienced some, “bathroom control issues,” to put it mildly, sharing his “problem” through most of their house. They had been too busy getting ready for church to notice his “presents” to the family. By then, it was too late to divert the disaster.

“No worries,” my wife, Lori, texted back to Madi. “Life happens.”

That was a nice way of putting it.

But Lori is right: sometimes the little bundles of joy, or balls of fur in our lives can also aggravate us to the point where we have “those moments,” (I know, only moments), when we are tempted to throw up our hands and walk away from those children, or pets (and sometimes we struggle to tell the difference between the two.)

But that’s life, it happens.

I fought Madi and Lori ten years ago when they wanted a couple of Schnauzers who are brothers. Where Lori and Madi saw two cute, tiny, puppies, I saw only trouble and sorrow: the yelping that would keep me awake at night, with no regard for what time I had to rise; the messes they would deposit in the most unacceptable locations, like my house shoes; their running off down the street, and me chasing them in my house robe. And even if and when they would adjust to their new home and sleep quietly, and even if and when they were “house-broken,” I knew they would still require vaccinations, and grooming, and boarding, and feeding.

So, I was firm; I took a strong stance, sternly issuing a warning about how those two dogs would change the course of our lives, and how it would certainly not be for the better.

Madi and Lori just smiled and humored me, “Oh, David, don’t be silly.” Then they pointed at the helpless little animals, huddled together as they were, tails wagging, and said, “Just look, they’re crawling to us, like they know us already. How sweet.”

I gave up. A man must know when he is defeated, even though I suspected those two critters were in cahoots, putting on the ritz; they knew how to wrap those two prospective owners around their baby-dog paws.

But now, down the dog years I’m glad Lori and Madi won out, or at least I am, most of the time.

For my acquiescence to the dogs’ adoption, Lori and Madi honored me by giving me the exclusive rights to naming those two pups. Yes, I know, now that it’s too late: Madi and Lori knew exactly what they were doing, the moment I named the doggies they became “my boys.”

Still, Lori is right. It is life; it happens: the people and animals we love will leave messes. And they can be aggravating — sometimes more often than not. They will take your time and your money.

They will grab your heart, too. And they will bring you joy sometimes: unspeakable joy.

I have a feeling Kobe is going to be around for a good while.

He’ll make that little family laugh and giggle, snarl and cry. Just give it a little time, and he’ll take their hearts, too. Behold, it may have already happened.

Yes, no doubt about it: that dog is here to stay.

It happens: that’s life.