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Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
By Michelle Mitchell
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My husband and I were married 14 years before we finally decided to get a dog. The decision as to which animal we would choose as our family pet was not the problem. The problem arose from the fact that my husband grew up with dogs that stayed outside, while I on the other hand, slept with mine.
Our sons at the time were four and twelve years of age. Our youngest, Ethan, so loved the dog next door. It was a lovely spring morning, Saturday as I recall. From the kitchen window, I could see tears streaming down my little boy’s face. In the distance, I could hear the raucous glee of the children playing next door. The problem as it were, was the dog’s owner, all of age six, who had decided that Ethan could no longer come and play with HER dog. This indeed would prove to be a day of compromise for our family!
There was no question that SHE would be an INSIDE dog. Her breed of course, was strictly up to the men folk. I had never even heard of a BEAGLE but she was, without a doubt, the cutest thing I had ever seen. As it turns out, Beagles are pack animals, so it was a good thing that I was a stay at home Mom. Casey was a happy little thing… gentle and sweet, calm and loving, very sociable, and intelligent to boot, but oh was she stubborn! She was a scent hound, never to be let off leash outside the safety of our fenced in backyard.
Casey may be the family pet, but she is my dog. She is my very best friend. While my husband worked and the boys were at school, Casey and I were left to our own devices. She would follow me tirelessly, room to room, as I cleaned. Even now, as I sit here at my desk, Casey lies at my feet. A much younger Casey could be in another room, asleep on the couch, and still hear me as I placed scotch tape on the back of an envelope. To this day, I am still in awe of how it was that she could hear that sound, and know full well, that if only she waited patiently at the side door, it would mean a walk to the mailbox. Our Casey has always been able to tell time give or take 5 minutes. She knew when to expect the boys to arrive home from school and my husband from work. You need not watch the clock to know when mealtime is for Casey, as she will always let you know. Every 12 hours it is, give or take 5 minutes! When you say the word “Granddaddy”, she invariably runs to the front window, looking intently for his jeep as she can always depend on him to give her a treat. It matters not how many drive-thru windows we go through with Casey as she knows only the bank teller keeps Doggie treats on hand. Our Casey has never been hot, cold, wet or hungry. She sleeps between my husband and me, under the cover, her head on a pillow, just as if she were a child. Herein she feels safe and secure, so do I.
Our vet asked me once if I would consider keeping her three little girls while she worked. I could not imagine why she would ask me of all people. I did not keep children in my home at the time, neither had I ever considered it. She said just this, “Anyone with the capacity to love and care for an animal as you do Casey, can most assuredly be trusted with a child.” I was flattered.
Casey is twelve years old now. She is a little hard of hearing, sleeps a lot and gets very sore with exertion. I grieve even now, the end of her life and I cannot even begin to imagine mine without her. Casey loves me unconditionally. Her devotion unsurpassed. How marvelous is God’s creation of her. I can only imagine that Heaven in all its glory will surely be full of Family Pets.
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