Friday, September 16, 2011

A Doggy Bloggy

As I was running this morning, in the cold of Buffalo, where Autumn is upon us and means 40 degree weather in September, I was feeling really blessed to be able to run again. It has been a long, annoying road since my last ankle surgery in 2005.

Wait, this is a blog about the dog? I forgot, as I often do, because kids family running blogging almost everything trumps the dog these days, so back to my point.

While I was running this cold morning (did I mention it was really cold?), I couldn't help but think back to the very first time I ran post surgery...back when Selah was a rock star.

It was the beginning of 2007. It was a brief but wonderful time in our marriage when it was just the two of us, selfishly meeting only our needs, and the needs of one other, Selah. Just after Christmas we had needed and wanted a dog, and found the perfect one at the Humane Society in Charlotte, NC. She had been rescued by them from Animal Control who swore she was an aggressive danger, and they were determined to put her down. There was a lot of 'oooing' and 'awwing' and "I can't believe they would want to put her down!" and we were sold. Done and done. We done got ourselves a dog.

This was a glorious, kid-free time for her as well; back when she was endlessly adored, and we greeted her as excitedly as she greeted us when we would return home.

One morning in February, I got an upsetting phone call from Jelani. He had taken Selah out for a walk on a nearby path. At the time, we lived in a very busy, university area of Charlotte where we were surrounded by four lane roads and the speed limit was no less than 45 mph. However, there was a nicely paved path just down the street that weaved through the woods and under the major roads. I was a newly expectant mother, and as such, was exhausted, so Jelani took Selah out without me, and when I got his call I was still in my pajamas. We worked the second shift at the airport and didn't have to leave until around 1 pm.

"Selah is gone," he said into the phone, almost too calmly.
"She's gone. The collar snapped right off, and she took off through the woods. I've been looking for her, but every time I spot her off in the distance, she takes off, and goes farther away."
I was already putting on my shoes. "I'll be right there." I hung up the phone, and without a thought, took off running out the door and down the bright red pajama pants. I couldn't bare the though of something happening to her, yet I was thinking the worst. So I ran straight on past the entrance to the path, and stayed on the street headed for the next major intersection. Jelani had told me, before hanging up, about where he lost her, and I knew there was an overpass right there. She could have easily found herself right on the street.

I ran as fast as my pregnant legs could carry me, and gasped when I noticed a pickup truck stopped in the middle of the busy road. Oh no!! Tears stung my eyes while my pregnant brain naturally assumed she'd been smashed to bits. But the good citizen had stopped his truck to grab a hold of Selah before someone could hit her. I thanked him.

I hugged her before even leaving the middle of the street. She had rolled in something dead, and I was tasting blood from my first sprint in almost two years, but I hugged her anyway. We panted in sync.

We got her safely home, cleaned her up, and went about our day. I think I even remarked on the momentous occasion of my first ever run on my least favorite ankle, and how I was victorious because I could still walk.

The end.

Fast forward to this morning, as I was jogging along the streets of a city I never thought I'd live in again, and casually thinking back on a day when the dog was more to us than just "the dog," as we now less-fondly call her, I reflected on the relationship we now have.

"GRRRRrrrrrr." She growls and whines at the same time, much like Chewbaca, to get our attention.
"Don't talk to me like that! I already took you out, and you wouldn't do anything, so that's your own dang fault."

More Chewbaca-esque noises.
"Hush up, Dog."

Selah runs out the door, making a dash for it.
"Wonderful! Well, we're not missing church, so I hope she knows enough to stay out of the road."

"Leave me alone." Threaten her with a squirt gun.

Selah runs off again, and I'm home alone with the kids.
"Hope she comes back."

"Leave the kids alone!"
"Back up!"
"Don't even think about it."
"I don't care if it's raining. You haven't peed in days, and I'm not cleaning it up when you finally do!" (Throw her and her pansy, princess paws into the wet grass).

...and so on...and so on.

And as I sit here, writing this amazing piece of literature, I notice her licking the carpet, a habit that has only surfaced in the last year. I realize that this OCD behavior was likely brought on by the tenth-rate-citizen status which has been thrust upon this poor creature in the wake of children, and school, and jobs, and, oh yeah, children.

I remember her glory days when, in lieu of the carpet, she would lick our toes. She never licked them right out of the shower. It was always at the end of the day, after we'd come home from work, took our socks and shoes off, and casually plopped on the couch. She would lovingly bathe our feet. It would tickle, and cause Jelani to giggle like a 5-year-old girl, but we never yelled, "NO!"

Now, she can be unnerving. She growls to get her way, makes herself throw up to remind us to take her outside, refuses to go out when it's raining or has rained in the last 24 hours (but will still growl at us anyway), jumps all over visitors as if they are an abandoned ship on a deserted island, and licks the carpet.

We still love Selah, and we hope she knows that. Every now and then we remember she's here, and even more extraordinarily, remember to acknowledge her.


  1. My Gus is my first dog or any animal that I've ever had the privilege of being in my life. He doesn't like the rain or water either so I can relate to that! Lily his girlfriend however loves the water, hitting every puddle as if it were her mission! I love them both so much and they are my reason to get up everyday. Hugs, hope and memories...