Earlier this week I came home to find my family had adopted another dog. I must preface this tale by acknowledging my wife’s deep compassion, especially for dogs and horses, a quality of which I have been the undeserving beneficiary many times. Now you might be thinking, “Hey what’s the big deal? So you got another dog. You love dogs Rabs.” All true. But would you acknowledge my entitlement to consternation if I tell you the dog laid his head on our dining room table . . . while still keeping all four feet firmly planted on the ground?
Sergeant is a white German shepherd, weighing about 110 lbs., and standing 36 inches at the withers. The people looking to rid themselves of this wolf in dog’s clothing were something less than accurate in conveying this description to my wife prior to her agreeing to take him. Now a big dog in a small house can be fine, unless he has no training, dislikes the outdoors, and is generally afraid of his own shadow. Think bull in a china shop. We have the broken glass to prove it.
The only one in our home happy about this turn of events is our cat. Sergeant is so henpecked that Bordeaux, who weighs less than half what he does, had a blast chasing him and so left our cat in peace for a couple of days before getting frustrated with her unenthusiastic playmate and deciding her former live chew toy was more fun.
Despite all his drawbacks, I have to admit Sergeant is sweet. Indeed he thinks he’s a lap dog. And despite scaring me out of my wits when he tried to jump up on my bed to cuddle with me while I was asleep, his constant bumping into the furniture, shedding (I think he may be part pigeon because each day he molted enough hair to fill our vacuum cleaner, twice), and numerous other quirks, I like him.
When my wife told me she had found a place he could go where he would be assured of living out his natural life I felt bittersweet. It’s hard for me to resist a creature that only wants to feel safe and loved and is willing to give unqualified love in return.
But here’s the rub. Not every relationship can be close and lifelong. Sometimes the most you can do is provide a safe haven for a short time while someone finds someone else who can make a long-term commitment.
Like everything in life, you have to be intentional about the people with whom you’ll invest in creating a relationship. You cannot do so with every person you meet. But hopefully each person who enters your life benefits from knowing you even a short time. And likewise, you can benefit from them.
It took me two days to see beyond Sergeant’s faults and realize how endearing he is. Thanks buddy for imparting such a terrific lesson to me. G-d speed in your new home.
How do you decide in whom you will invest the effort to create a relationship? Please comment below.