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.