Babe’s needs are pretty basic: shelter, food, water, exercise and love. Her schedule never really changes from day to day. She is getting a little older and a little slower. She sleeps more and she gets cranky more often. But then, aren’t we all?! Babe is my niece’s nine (nearly ten) year old Boxer. Well, I suppose you could say I have partial custody, at least while my niece is over three hours away at school and I am left as one of Babe’s caretakers.
I am not much of a dog person, not because I don’t like them, but because I had never really been around them much. We did not have dogs when I was growing up; not until between my junior and senior year of high school when a friend gave me a brown, shaggy ball of fur. This puppy was a Shepard mix and definitely not an indoor dog. His name was Popeye. We were living on a farm in Kentucky during that year. Popeye had the run of the farm. He ended up staying in the country as we moved on to town. A friend of my dad’s took him and he got to live out his life as a farm dog. That was the closest I had to having a relationship with a canine.
The first time Babe and I met was when she was a puppy, only weeks old. At our first encounter, she started doing the strangest dance. It was strange to me anyhow. She was right in front of me, excitedly just dancing around and around (and around) until I thought she was going to fold herself in two. Then she stops and plops herself down at my feet…actually, on top of my feet. I was not sure what any of that meant. My sister-in-law told me that she had just claimed me as one of her people. The crazy dog still does the dance and expects to sit on my feet…and I let her!
Babe has had the run of my brother’s house since she was a pup. She is quite a spoiled little lady. She even has her own recliner in the TV room. Did you think I was kidding about the spoiled thing? Oh, and she is so very much a house dog. She does not like to be outside for very long. She will go out and chase a few rabbits around the yard, or out of the yard. She will chase suspected robbers away also! She will get at the top of the hill, roll onto her back and slide down to the bottom of the hill in delirious enjoyment. She likes to play in the mud in the corner of the yard. When she is finished with all her shenanigans she heads back inside the house. Yes, this is one pampered pooch that is sheltered quite nicely!
Her eating habits have been a source of concern for me this fall. Last year when my niece went away to college the first time, she moped around a little bit, but snapped out of it pretty quick. This fall, it is the end of October and she is still moping. I don’t think she eats enough; but my brother says that she eats when I am not there and do not see. I trust him, sort of. She is not wasting away to nothing, although I do think she has dropped a few pounds. Every morning when I go over to check on her, I see that my brother has already filled her food bowl and has put water in her water bowl. The defining action there is “put water in her water bowl.” She does not like water put in her water bowl. She likes her water bowl washed, and clean water put in her water bowl. After we go outside the first time for the day and come back in, I try to get her to drink. She walks over to the bowl, sniffs, looks at me like I am a vile person and walks away. I can not get her to drink unless I first wash the bowl and then put clean water in for her. Do I do it? Yes, I do. The girl is fed and watered pretty well.
I’m not quite sure how she has managed to lose a pound or two. She gets very little exercise; although I think she may be getting a complex with me talking about her weight so much. I say she is losing weight and my brother and niece tell me she is not, that she is as big as ever. I suppose. They say she is healthy. Being a female myself, I should know better than to harp on a girl’s weight, especially if she is being called healthy! I have noticed her doing laps around the yard recently. That could just be the rabbit trail though. I have no plans to join her on her laps or rabbit chasing. I am perfectly happy to allow my chunky little self to sit on the patio and observe her getting her exercise for the day.
If you can’t already tell, Babe is loved. My niece loves her totally and my brother, although he denies it, has pretty soft feelings for her also. The one that trained her loved her also; as can be seen by how loving and well trained she is. I don’t know if you’d call what I feel for her “love,” but I sure do like her a lot! This past Monday, it was raining crazy hard. I waited and waited until I knew I could not wait any longer. I grabbed the huge golf umbrella and headed next door. She was happy to see me and was ready to go out….until she got to the back door and saw that it was raining. Getting this dog out in the rain is an experience!
The first time that I could not get her to go out in the rain, I called my niece at school. I told her she was going to have to tell this dog to go pee. Well, she was in the middle of a crowd, in the middle of the student union. Somehow I don’t think yelling at the phone, “Go pee,” was something she was going to do for me. She walked away from the crowd and, though she was cracking up laughing at me, told me I would have to go stand in the grass and she would go. What?! It worked. The thing is, that day it was not even raining hard! This past Monday…. monsoon!!! I take the massive umbrella, hold it over the door way out onto the patio. She came out toward the door, but scooted back into the garage a few times. Danced around in circles, Here I am, standing in the rain, telling her, “Babe, you have to go pee. Come on, I’ll stay with you.” She was not having it. Finally she stepped out onto the patio, under the umbrella. I though I had her, but in my excitement, I tipped the umbrella and a few drops fell on her. Zoom….back in side she flew. Well it took some more coaxing. (I have no idea if the neighbors were listening. You are welcome for the entertainment.) Finally, she came out onto the patio and stood under the umbrella. She took a tentative step, and then another. I was with her all the way. I had the umbrella low and over her. She finally went for it. I stayed with her step for step! She did what she needed to do and resolved her situation, with me standing there, holding the umbrella over her, (looking away so she could have some privacy, of course). Uh, oh yea, by the way, SHE was under the umbrella, not getting much more than her feet wet. Me on the other hand, I was NOT so much under the umbrella. I was getting soaked! That was OK though. I kept that umbrella in place and did not have a drenched dog when I got back inside! I dried her paws and the few drops on her coat and we went back into the warm, dry home – warm and dry. Well, I might love her just a little bit.
Don’t you know that is how it is with us when we are looking out over the storms in our lives? We are standing in that situation that we know has to be taken care of, looking out at that raging storm around us. We do so many crazy things to keep the storm from touching us. We stand still and close our eyes, thinking, “If I don’t see it, it is not there.” We back up and turn around, do all matter of dances and end up hiding in the corner. God is there though. He is standing just outside with the biggest umbrella ever! And yes, there are times when those stray rain drops splash down on us and we run headlong, straight back into the situation we are trying to resolve. When He finally coaxes us out and we see that He is protecting us, we can then find resolution to our situation. During our anxious moments, God is standing there, lovingly covering us, making sure that we see as little damage as possible. Every storm! Once, He even handed the umbrella to His Son and that storm ended up costing His Son’s life, in order that my sinuation could be resolved, and my life forever changed and my home secured.
What does Babe see through her eyes? Sometimes I truly wonder, especially those times when she just rests her chin on my knee and looks up at me. I think she sees that she is sheltered, cared for, and loved. You know, that’s the same thing I see when I rest my chin on my Lord’s knee and look out toward my eternal future. I am sheltered, cared for and loved!
“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.” (Joel 2:23 – ESV)