A Dog’s Life

There are some things I said I’d “never” do. Well, there’s a long list, but I’ll share a few…

  • Have an indoor dog or cat.
  • Care about pets when “children are starving.”
  • Expend resources and emotional energy on an animal.
  • Get attached to something that could run in front of a car and die. (Almost all of my childhood pets died in such a manner. We lived pretty close to a highway.)

I could go on, but I imagine that paints an adequate enough picture. So how did this happen?

In real life, her eyes aren’t freakishly yellow. But back to the issue at hand. It started with a suggestion from Jacob. He said a pet would be “good for me.” The reasons behind it are long and complex, but one small part has to do with the fact that I decided in my late teens (after my beloved pet dog Cooper died on the aforementioned highway) that I’d no longer love animals. Why waste emotional energy on something that could be so easily taken away? It was a quick solution to the pain, and an obvious solution for a control freak. Lately though, I’ve been working on my “control issues,” and Jacob suggested a pet as a way to let go of some small degree of control in my life.

(I know this whole thing sounds weird when I work with orphans who get “taken away” by either adoption or death, and I expend emotional energy on them. Seems more serious than a dog. I guess there are control issues wrapped up in my motivations to do this work too, even though I know there shouldn’t be. Though I have God-breathed reasons motivating me, I have unholy ones as well… like I feel like I can work to make their lives better, somehow forcibly bringing justice to an unjust situation. As if God has forgotten and it’s all up to me. And to be honest, I guard my heart pretty closely… I don’t let most of the kiddos in; self-preservation I suppose. I’m working on all of this too.)

Anyway back to how this happened. When Jacob suggested it, my mind immediately drifted to this adorable little stray outside our apartments. We’d watched her grow from a small pup over the winter months. Everyone in the complex loved her, for she’s just about the most sociable and friendly little dog I’ve ever seen. And she doesn’t bark. That’s a plus in my books. So, we asked around to make sure she had no home and brought her upstairs. Her name is LeLe (phonetically – LuhLuh). It means “happy happy.” It fits. She makes us happy happy. She is happy happy. (Oh, and her English name is Lola, because all modern Chinese have both English and Chinese names. But we call her LeLe.)

So what’s she like? She likes to be close to us. She’s been with us for almost 2 months. She was house-broken from the day she came to our apartment. She loves to play games like fetch and tug-of-war. She’s smart and understands commands like ‘sit’ and ‘no.’ But she’s stubborn and only obeys when the command lines up with what she desires to do. She’s pretty quiet; rarely barks unless she’s scared or we leave. She never begs for food or whines to go out. The first thing she wants to do in the morning is be let into our room and have her belly rubbed. She’s adorable and we’re smitten. (Both of us. I’m not the only one in this house who thinks she’s just about the cutest thing ever.)

And of course nothing can be too simple; my newfound attachment to a dog is raising all sorts of weird feelings in me. Like guilt for caring about a dog when there are children dying. But Jacob says I need to stop over-analyzing my life and stop worrying about “who I should be” so much. I think he’s probably right, because I go way overboard most days. And there’s nothing wrong with having a pet. She’s been really good for me (us) in many ways… in fact, I think the dog might be making me a bit more “human.”

Signing off now. I need to go play fetch.

12 thoughts on “A Dog’s Life

  1. What a timely post. We watched Marley & Me last night (yes, we are THAT far behind in movieland)! We haven't had a dog since losing our Labs five years ago. As he drifted off to sleep last night, my husband said, “It's probably time for a family dog again.”
    Your LeLe – Lola is adorable! I am so glad you've opened up your heart in this way.
    Enjoy your game of fetch and hope we get to read about her again soon!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,


  2. I think she is precious and it was a great idea. She needs you and you need her….a perfect match.

    When our little dog died before we left for China to meet Lottie we said the same thing. No more. Well, Lottie is intent on having a dog when we get to Mexico….we'll see:)

    Happy Birthday tomorrow!


  3. Carrie,
    You remind me way too much of myself with this post! I laughed out loud thinking about my reasons that I don't have a pet. All control issues I assure you. But Lola sure is a cutie and no doubt she is good for you. Enjoy her!!


  4. I think it is a great idea to have a pet!! Also, don't know it it would be an option, but it would be great to introduce the little cuties at New Day to a friendly dog. When our daughter cam home she was scared of our tiny dog. However, our son (who was in a foster home and the neighbors had dogs) did not seem to care that we had a dog.

    Just a thought!!


  5. I don't know how you could help but be happy looking at her. She's certainly cute! People often say they won't give their hearts to another dog after the loss of one. I can't help but have another one eventually because my life has such a vacuum in the absence of a dog. I don't in any way think they are more important than people, I just think they enrich my life and teach me patience, loyalty, and unconditional love.


  6. Oh Carrie! How great it is to be catching up on your blog! How I missed your posts while we were there–couldn't see blogger ONE BIT.
    I am sorry we didn't get to meet, but there is a piece of my heart still at New Day. You might find it either upstairs in the baby room, or downstairs in the playroom. I pray my heart will always be there–that I will not get back into a new normal and forget our sweet, sweet time there.
    You are one blessed chickadee!
    Enjoy your newest “baby”! Dogs are so lovable! (I know this sounds CRAZY, but I swear that getting our puppy a year ago helped prepare me for little Kevin! I mean that in a totally good way!)
    Little man is doing wonderful, by the way. He is adjusting (little by little) and we are SMITTEN! He has his seven older siblings WRAPPED! I'll keep you posted….


  7. I am so not a dog fan, but I finally gave in to my kids and husband a couple of years ago. Sadie is as much a part of our family as our kids and I love her and cannot imagine our family without her.

    LeLe is a cutie that is for sure.

    THanks for sharing


  8. I'm smiling broadly. Have I mentioned we'd make GREAT friends? OR….actually, maybe we'd make really lousy friends, because I'd have validated all your thoughts and told you that you should “for sure” not get a dog for all the reasons you listed! 🙂
    I'm an over-thinker too. And, I make every decision bigger than it should be- WAY bigger.

    Thankfully, you have Jacob. He's wiser!

    I can totally understand and relate to all those reasons for not getting a dog. Plus, I'm not uber-fond of animals anymore- that era passed for me in late-adulthood apparently. Plus the fact that Chloe goes completely hysterical at the sight of a dog (or cat or hampster or….anything that moves and is not human). My poor son is desperate for a dog, and the way things look, he'll never be able to have one!

    I love that her name is “happy, happy”. I hope she brings you lots of happy happiness! I think she is a wonderful addition to your family! Congratulations on the new addition!!


  9. Glad you took the plunge. My husband and I had missed having a dog , so 9 years ago we adopted an older, harder to place dog. She was almost 9. She was the most incredible dog ever. She was almost 16 when we left to travel to China to get our daughter. Sadly she died while we were gone (in the loving arms of our neighbors and good friends)on the very day that we welcomed Sierra into our lives. I miss her still.


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