The Dog I Didn't Want
By D'Ann Mateer
I really don’t know why I wanted that cat. Emma became her name. Midnight black, she was abandoned just before Halloween and the shelter wouldn’t take her. So we did.
Of course we were still newlywedish. I’d just graduated from college; he was in his third year of law school. We had no children and no intention of children for a while. So we took on this kitty.
Fast forward a dozen or so years. I hated that cat. Three kids in three and a half years will make work up to your eyeballs, and the last thing you need is one more creature to care for. So there was no love lost between that cat and me. She came with us on three moves, but shortly after the third one, we went on vacation. When we came home, Emma had vanished.
We think maybe she went somewhere to die.
I’ll admit, I breathed a sigh of relief. Now all I had to care for were the other humans in my house. No more vet visits or cat food or figuring out what to do with her when we were gone for a length of time. Life could settle down a bit.
Then our best friends (we had purposely built our house next door to theirs) got a puppy. An Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. In fact, my oldest son (nine years old at the time) went with them to pick it up.
Oh it was cute all right. All fat and furry. I saw the gleam rise into my children’s eyes. But I’ve never been a mom who is afraid to say no. I had nothing to fear.
“They were so cute, Mom,” Aaron told me. That’s all he said. No begging. No pleading. No cajoling. Not even an actually request. But what he didn’t say came through loud and clear.
In that moment I saw God—how He sees our desires even when we don’t put them into words. And I saw my own selfishness in denying this thing to my children simply for the reason that it was a hassle I didn’t want to deal with.
We took them the next day and got the last puppy in the litter. Abby is her name. God was gracious and gave us a smart dog. I don’t think I could have handled a stupid one. She’s been a pain on occasion, and yes, a hassle, too. But my kids love her. My husband loves her. I tolerate her. Still, she’s been part of our family for eight years next month. She’s spoiled rotten. She’s mostly scared of her own shadow.
Even with all of that, I’m glad she’s ours.
What was your favorite pet? Did you have one growing up? Do your kids have one?