Purebred Love


My family has a sort of sorry history with pets. As in, we are incapable of keeping them unless they fall under the rodent/weasel category. It's a strange niche, but it's ours. We've tried dogs and cats more times than I wish to share here, but they end up going back where they came from, or in particularly special cases, they get to spend the rest of their days at the ranch and become my grandparents' problem.

It's the one thing I felt I missed out on that when I was growing up. It's something I really wanted my kid to have. That bond that I wasn't given the chance to understand. As soon as we moved into our house I couldn't wait for the opportunity to have a real pet, a dog, at long last.

Then, we got Odie.

Oh, Odie.

He was about the most lovable puppy you can imagine. Then in about a month he was an uncontrollable beast, weighing in at about 80lbs and still growing like a weed. He was untrained and wild. We had our rough patches, me and Odie. He exhausted me when I soon became pregnant, especially since he wouldn't leave me alone. We'd go to the river and he'd swim laps around me until I went back to shore. He'd sleep by my side of the bed every night and I'd trip over him in the dark. I wondered how we'd ever make it once the baby came. How would I ever take care of a baby with Odie underfoot ALL. THE. TIME.

And I worried, constantly, about how I'd ever put the baby on the ground without him being trampled by this big furry oaf. I worried about chubby little hands getting to close to big teeth. I worried myself all the way into putting an ad up on craigslist "Free Dog, Lab Mix, Friendly but Wild." I didn't really expect anyone to want him, not after I told them about his inability to adapt to strangers without mauling them with excited love. About how he was pushing 100lbs and had zero training. But the e-mails came pouring in, same day, and I suddenly had people wanting to come by the house. To take our dog away.

I sat there and cried and didn't answer e-mails. I pet Odie, told him I loved him. Then I replied to the e-mails. I told them all they couldn't have him. I just couldn't do it. I loved him too much. We'd figure it out somehow. We'd keep him outside and fence off the yard and we'd make it work. The heart wants what it wants, and mine wanted this big ol' monster of a dog.

And you know what? It was the best decision I ever made. When Lucas was an infant, Odie was calm in the house. It was like we suddenly had a whole different dog. When Lucas was crawling and chasing and petting (love-slapping), Odie was tolerant and sweet. He never growled, or snapped, or even ran away. He just got it. This was his boy. This was who he was put on this earth for.

He's 110lbs of purebred love, made for my boy and no one else. He waits for Lucas to throw the ball, retrieves it even when it only rolls a few inches across the ground, drops it at his feet and waits. He licks his legs, his hands, his feet while Lucas giggles and giggles. He follows Lucas from room to room, plops at his feet, waits to hear his name. "Oh, Odie" Lucas says while he pats his monster dog, "Guh Dawg."

It's true. It's true. Oh, Odie. I love you, man.

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