Last winter, we had to have our border collie, Riley, put to sleep. She was 15 years old, and her health had just deteriorated to the point that we all agreed it was time. My husband, Jayson, and I stood around our dog with our three sons, and we petted Riley as she slipped away. It was so hard watching my kids experience this pain.
We missed Riley terribly, but after a few months, we started thinking about getting another dog. There's just something about the unconditional love and eternal happiness that a dog brings to the party. Jayson wanted to wait until summer, but I had been looking online at the local shelter and had fallen in love with Dave, an adorable black-and-white pooch. His photos were so sweet, and something about him just spoke to me. I had to have him.
I started wearing Jayson down by emailing him photos of Dave on a daily basis. Finally, I told him that all I wanted for Mother's Day was a dog. How could he say no? I gave him three sons! I checked online daily to make sure Dave was still there. We went to meet him on Mother's Day weekend -- and instantly fell in love. Dave ran around the shelter yard with the boys, jumping and smiling (Dave AND the boys). It was a done deal.
The folks at the shelter told us that Dave had been with them longer than any other dog, around six months. He had come in with another dog as a stray, and it turned out the person who owned them couldn't keep them, so she just turned them out onto the street. The other dog was adopted right away, but for some reason Dave was still there. It breaks my heart to think of him fending for himself and facing all kinds of trouble on his own.
One of our first stops was taking Dave to our back 40 to explore. Watching him run around the pasture for the first time, chasing the boys and leaping through the tall grass, he seemed to almost be laughing. We wondered if he had ever been in the country before, and had this much room to roam. He wasted no time tromping around in the creek bed, rolling around in the clover, and trying to figure out how to get on top of the hay bales. The cows confused him at first, but he has since figured out they mean him no harm, and they live peaceably on opposite sides of the fence.
Dave quickly became part of our family. We were thrilled that he was already potty trained and could sit. (A great reason to adopt an adult dog instead of a puppy!) The boys have taught Dave to dance for a treat. It's fantastic! His favorite thing, though, is running around the yard with the boys. They scatter, and Dave flies around the yard, going from boy to boy, "herding" them together. He also chases the laser light around the room like a maniac. He is very smart and super fast, so we are thinking he would be great at agility or flyball.
Dave now sleeps at the feet of my boys, snuggles up on the couch with me while I work and write, and goes for pickup rides with Jayson. He has a mischievous side too, including breaking into the fridge and tearing into the trash. Nothing is funnier than finding him with the bathroom trash can lid stuck on his head. We got a fridge lock and take the garbage out a couple of times a day, so he has trained us, essentially.
On the first day of school, Dave stood in the front yard watching his boys climb onto the big yellow bus and disappear. He didn't know what to think. When they came home that afternoon, he tackled them and licked them right there in the driveway. Now he has gotten used to the school routine, which often includes Dave and I visiting Papa and Grandma in town. He and I spend our days together, and I am so happy to have him with me. He makes me smile.
Cats are nice. We've had a few. We have fish and a turtle. The boys each have their own cow. But there's just something about dogs. They want nothing more than to please us, and they live for a pat on the head and a scratch behind the ears.
Dave has been so good for all of us. He is officially a member of the family. I have four boys: Jake, Luke, Will, and Dave. I find it so hard to believe that he was in the shelter for all of those months without being adopted. Everyone who passed him by really missed out, but I am thankful for their oversight! I believe he was just meant to be with us.