Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Happy Birthday, Satan's Dog!

A year ago today, a little black lab was born. If someone had told me on that day "today, a little black fur ball will be born," I would have thought "what do I care!"

At the time, we had two dogs and two cats and there was no way we would ever have a third one. But then, in July, our yellow lab got very sick, very fast and on August 8th, we made the horrible choice to ease his pain and let him go.

I still remember sitting on that cold floor at the vet's, holding his big yellow head on my lap, telling him it was ok to go, and asking the vet why was it still so hard to do this, when it felt like I'd put so many pets to sleep.

On the way home, I couldn't bear to go home to a house that would feel empty without an 80-pound panting dog.

I stopped by the SPCA. I just needed to see some live pets. I approached cages, talked to many animals, cried, my heart heavy with grief. And then I headed to the back to look at puppies.

And there it was. This perfect litter of little black balls, all of them bundled together, snoring softly, the distinct smell of puppy breath softening the stench in the air.

I talked to them, trying to coax one awake. I picked one up, but he gave me a dirty look, wiggled out of my hands and went back to sleep with his siblings. I was so disappointed.

And then Satan's Dog opened his eyes, sighed softly and took one for the team. He approached the front of the cage and sat there, accepting the fact that some human would touch him. And so I held him. And he nudged my neck, licked my cheek, as if he were telling me it was ok to open my heart to another dog.

I took him into the meet and greet room, where he clumsily ran and nipped my ankles. And right then and there, I decided that he was what we needed to heal our heart. I had watched Sweetie Pie cry for three days, devastated by the loss of the dog he'd wished for his entire life, the loyal companion who'd been by his side all through his 20's. I had to make it better. And this puppy would help me achieve this goal.

I left the SPCA with the puppy in my arms, his warmth tucked against my chest, his soft brown eyes unsure as to what would come next. I put him down in the grass, hoping that he would tinkle before the drive to go pick up Little Man at his home day care.

After watching him run around in the grass, I decided the dog must have an empty bladder. I put him in my Jeep where he promptly tinkled on my floor mats.

That night, I tied a red bow around his neck and when Sweetie Pie came home, I presented him with his very alive early anniversary present.

The past year wasn't all smooth sailing and slobbery kisses. There was the difficult process of potty training a puppy while taking care of an active baby. But that process also brought memories of working from home, with a seven-pound puppy sleeping behind my keyboard so that I could keep an eye on him.

There was much nipping of Little Man's ankles as he learned to walk and screams of terror as Satan's Dog would try to wrestle him to the ground. But during the past year, a friendship that will last, hopefully, a long, long time blossomed.

No matter how much outdoor furniture, gutters, stuffed animals, panties, and much more that dog has destroyed, the one thing he has brought is a lot of love and a lot of patience as far as Little Man is involved.

From sharing his bowl of dog food with a toddling baby, to being bitch slapped with an Ernie doll, that dog has never even had the thought cross his mind to get irritated with the baby. After all, that child has fed the dog more contraband food.

Sometime over the past year, I went from being constantly irritated with Satan's Dog to realizing that he'd slowly squirmed his way into my heart. He may not always sit on command. And he sheds more than any other creature on Earth. But one thing he can do is make me feel loved and violate my personal space, the way no one ever has before.

So Satan's Dog, happy first birthday! There won't be presents, there won't be cake. But there will be the promise of much ball tossing in the backyard today and for all the days of your life.

We're glad you chose to join our dysfunctional family.


Mama, Daddy and Little Man.


beebop said...

He is SO cute! Happy 1st bday Satans Dog! (that cant be his real name is it?)

What is it about short black hairs blowing around the house like tumbleweeds that make me feel like I am a bad housewife?

Kellie said...

A post that brought tears to my eyes and made me laugh out loud (bitch slapped by an Ernie doll, huh?).

Our Lab is extremely patient and gentle with Morgan and I hope he sticks around long enough for her to have memories of him.

Happy 1st Birthday, S.D. (but, seriously? What's his real name?!). You scored yourself an excellent family :)

Rachel said...

What a sweet post! I was crying and laughing at the same time! I had a sweet sweet black lab when I was growing up that we eventually had to put down when I was around 12. We then got a sweet yellow lab and lost her in 2005.

Happy 1st Birthday Satan's Dog! May you have many many more!!

jesse said...

I love your post and he is sooo cute. But my fave's are the ones with him and Little Man. And my fav is him being bitch slapped by Ernie-rofl. Happy Birthday Satan's Dog.

Ms. Porter said...

I discoverred facebook and now I'm behind in my blog reading!
Teared up a little while reading this post. We are on week 3 of our new doggie (aka Walter...not his real name...his real name is kinda stupid) and I am so happy to have him. He is trained but needs to learn a few manners so I'm sure that helps. I love him more each day I see him with my girls.

M said...

Oh I love you, your dog, and that boychild. Ship all of you to me. Pronto. Thanks.

Sam said...

Happy 1st Birthday Satan's Dog xoxoxoxox