I admit it. We've been scoping the local pounds for the perfect family dog. We've looked at close to 40 and finally found one that we all fell in love with. This is no small thing for us. I've been anti-pet for years but when our teenage son came to us with his very own puppy-dog eyes and a written request and plan to pay all expenses himself (including a percentage put into a savings account every month to cover unexpected vet bills)....and then went out and found his own lawn mowing work and in a matter of one month raised over $150 dollars...I knew we were going to be adding a new family member soon.
We went into the pound and interacted with a beautiful American Eskimo dog. She was so obedient and patient and well mannered. She liked us...we all (yeah, me too!) fell in love with her...it was a match. I asked several questions...
How much will it cost?
Does she get along with other dogs?
Has she ever nipped at anyone?
Is she potty-trained?
Is she a purebred?
Is she fixed yet?
Come to find out she was in heat and couldn't be fixed yet. So my next question was (since she was a purebred, I know nothing about dog abusers and I'm a homeschooling mom..."What a great learning experience to let her have one litter and study up on stud service, the birth process, how a mommy dog cares for her babies") "Can we breed her once and then get her fixed?" Most likely we wouldn't have done it, but I thought I'd ask.
Uh...guess that was the wrong question. We were immediately declared puppy mill breeders, their tone changed and we were instantly the enemy. They wouldn't let us adopt her until after she was spayed, they wouldn't hold her for us, nothing. Case closed. We could call back once a week and see if she was fixed yet, but no promises.
Yeah, I feel a bit like I just walked through the airport screaming "I have a bomb!"
Needless to say I have a heartbroken boy. But you know what? What a great lesson and I'll tell you why.
All along we've been praying for the right dog to fit into our family. That the Lord wouldn't let us make any mistakes and that His timing would prevail over our passionate rush to get a new cuddly dog. I got to talk to the kids about trusting God's plans and timing, about my own moments of pain and struggle and the times I weathered the storm and looked back thanking God for those hard times and the fruit that they brought to my life. And their disappointment and anger began to soften and seep away.
And mine did too.
And at the end of the day a broken teenage boy kissed me good night and said, "I'm so glad you're my Mom. I feel so much better."
My guess is we'll still have a dog soon. The perfect dog for us. But the lessons we're going to learn along the way and the great story that we'll have to tell will make it an even deeper experience.