Friday, August 21, 2015

Always loved





This is Sammy. Sammy was my dog when I lived out in the country down in East Texas. Sammy is short for Samantha (for those of you who didn't notice her undercarriage) and she was my little friend for about a year back in my bachelor days. A friend at work was moving from a house to an apartment and had to get rid of her. That worked out well for me because I was toying with the idea of getting a dog and I had no shortage of play area for her. At the time, I had a little over six acres of land with a two acre pond on it. (That's where the banner photo at the top of my website was taken.)

She was a great dog. After a few weeks of weaning her off the dog run I had constructed for her, she was free roaming the property from then on out. (Apparently at quite distance - as I will explain shortly.) She would chase me down the driveway as I left for work and would be sitting at the side of the driveway where I parked my truck when I got home. I never really knew where she went while I was gone, but she was always there when I returned.

Before you start giving me the lecture on leash laws, I should explain that I was surrounded by cattle ranches. There were only a handful of houses within a half mile. After close to a year of our daily routine, I was about to be forced to make a decision about what to do with her. I was leaving Texas and moving to Minnesota. Part of that move was going to involve not having a place for her on the other end. In the end, she made the decision for me.

It turns out that part of her daily routine was to head about a quarter mile down the road and meet up with her boyfriend. Considering I never got around to having her fixed, you can guess what happened. (I actually found this out after the fact.) She just disappeared one day and stayed gone for about two weeks. Right about the time I had resigned myself to the fact that she was probably hit by a truck, one of my friends filled me in on her probable location.

In true East Texas fashion, my friend was out for a morning ride on horseback and decided to stop by to visit. He was the one that informed me he had seen Sammy up the road with my neighbor's dog numerous times recently...and she was in heat. To this day, I like to think she just decided to stay at the neighbor's and raise her pups there.

By now, you're probably wondering what this rambling nonsense is all about. Per the title, yes, I loved that dog and will always have fond memories of her, but that's not the where I was really going with this post. This was back story for a conversation I had with my older daughter tonight.

My youngest daughter has been potty trained for quite some time now, but has recently been acting like she forgot all the work she put into it. She probably wouldn't appreciate knowing I am telling this to the whole world, so don't tell her. (She can't read, so I should be safe otherwise.) My older daughter and I were out on walk while the younger daughter was bawling her eyes out after yet another accident this evening. While we were on our walk, my daughter asked me if I would keep loving my girls even if they "caused a lot of problems" like her younger sister having accidents all the time. That almost stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I told her a story about my old dog Sammy.

A few days after I got Sammy, she had a bout of diarrhea in the middle of the night....that she decided to deposit on my kitchen floor. I explained to my daughter that just because someone (or a pet) has an accident, it doesn't mean you stop loving them. Obviously, your child is on a much higher level than a pet, but the general concept is the same. Accidents happen and that doesn't put a damper on how much you are loved.

I further explained to my daughter that with Sammy (just like with her little sister) there was something else going on that caused the accident. Because of that love you have for them, you don't focus on the accident itself, but rather on a possible reason for it. You do that because you love them and want to help them.

The issue with Sammy was pretty easy to figure out. It was a perfect storm of things including a new surrounding and a different brand of dog food. It probably didn't help that Sammy also liked to scavenge food around the property as well. Unfortunately, the "accidents issue" with my younger daughter is proving a bit more difficult to determine.

I know my daughter wasn't really concerned about whether my wife and I would ever stop loving her or her sister. She just really likes to start deep conversations when we have some father-daughter time. On our walk tonight she also talked about how sad she would have been if I had died right after she was born and she never got the chance to know me, but that's probably a story for another time.

I'm hoping that our little talk tonight strengthened her belief that I will always love her no matter what. Knowing how smart she is though, I'm afraid she was just using the whole conversation as a way to figure out how much she could get away with herself...and still have my love. Until next time....