As if things were not crazy enough for us we decided to adopt a horse, I mean a large puppy. Meet Samson. He is a 60+ lb., 6 month-old black lab with the largest paws and the sweetest face. The kids love him and so do I. Travis? Well, Samson is growing on him. I think getting use to an outdoor/indoor dog will take some time as well as a lot of training. Samson follows me wherever I go and I think he knows I am his new mommy. I walk with him outside, play with him, give him treats, and tell him “NO!” a lot. That pretty much qualifies me as such.
We did not rush into getting a dog. In fact, we have been looking around for some time now. Even in Memphis we considered adopting a dog, but we never settled on it. The kids have been good sports through all of this, because they looked around for several weeks with us checking out dogs in various agencies walking out without a dog of their own. Then one weekend while I was at a conference, Travis and the kids went back to one of the places we visited and found Samson. They told me about him, I decided to see him for myself before we made our decision, and I felt an instant connection. It was love at first puppy sight!
As adorable as he is, Samson has been quite a trouble maker. Already, he has chewed through five pairs of shoes, several sandbox toys, three stuffed animals, and a toddler fork and spoon. He enjoys his dog bed, but he prefers our leather couch. I have to bribe, beg, and wrangle him upstairs every night. He ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich whole today, like in one giant gulp. We are training him, but he is training us as well. We don’t abandon our food, leave shoes on the floor in the mudroom, drop mail, coats, or keys on our countertops, or leave him free to wander in our house when we are gone.
On the positive side, Samson loves the kids and they love him. He plays with them, chases them in the backyard, and is real gentle with them for being such a hoss! He is pretty much house trained, can sit, heel, lay, and shake his paw. In many ways he is like a giant furry toddler- cute, hyper, mischievous, and can learn to behave if trained. Judson likes it when Samson misbehaves- he laughs and I think he secretly cheers Samson on.
Doing life with a pet is not without excitement. I think there will be plenty of stories to share in the months and years to come. Even with all the mess and mayhem, the laughter and fun is what makes it all worth it. This is true with raising kids as well-it is often crazy, loud, messy, and imperfect, but we can’t focus on all that. The relationships we nurture, memories we make, and tender hearts that we shape are what we are really about. And having a dog in the middle of this just adds a little extra something special to our family culture, even if it involves a little mess or inconvenience along the way. I am reminded of a proverb, which says, “A righteous man has regard for his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10). Teaching our kids how to care for our dog gives them opportunities to show responsibility but also a space for special bonds to form between man and man’s best friend. There is just something about a dog after all.