I have an interesting association with dogs.
When I was five years old, living in the old, white farmhouse in Malbis, Alabama, we had a variety of animals on our property: cows, ponies, chickens, rabbits, cats...but no dog...at least not one that we called our own. One day, however, as I was standing on the front porch, a huge St. Bernard came bounding down the street, up our driveway and onto that porch, right on top of me. He jumped up, his enormous paws on my chest, bowled me over and hovered over me, panting and drooling and invading my social space. I was scared to death. He was actually a friendly dog - Big Mac we later called him - but if you know that as a full-grown woman now I am every bit of 4' 10" tall, you can imagine how much smaller I was at five years of age than that huge, slobbery dog. Since then, I have had a general fear of dogs.
Despite my fear, however, ten years ago after months of begging from my five year old daughter, Colleen, I finally succumbed to adopting a docile, half German Shepherd, half Alaskan Husky named Cookie. Cookie is a calm, friendly dog. She has one blue eye and one brown. She will approach you, sit and offer up her paw for a friendly shake. My fears were appeased a bit with this addition to our family. Then came Bubbles...
Bubbles was adopted two years ago and our lives have not been the same since. Unfortunately, I don't mean this as a compliment. She has destroyed every piece of furniture...every plant...our carpet...my favorite pairs of shoes...frankly, too many things for me to name. She is a pain in my rear end. She's so energetic, she can hardly contain herself. Her tail doesn't wag...her entire back end does. She's a hunter. I can't tell you the number of opossums and rats we've found in our yard, her proudly standing over them waiting to be congratulated on her skillful offerings. Just when I think to myself, "Why did I ever agree to get this dog?" she'll do something so hilarious, I have to admit that she brings laughter to the family. (Check out the picture at right...Bubbles' solution to a recent rainstorm!)
Still my most egregious association with dogs is the fact that I have been compared to one. Yep, you heard it right. Years ago, while working with my friend, Annie, on her project, Dance Excellence, a show director that was running auditions at the event talked to me on the final day of the project and said, "You know, I didn't get you at first. I thought you were a bit outspoken and rough around the edges. Now I just know you were protecting your producer (Annie). You know what you are? You're a little bulldog. Tenacious and growling at anyone who may hurt your friends." Needless to say, I was not at all impressed or amused by this comparison.
Now as a 43 year old wife and mother of two, child of two, sister to four and friend to countless others, however, I accept this description as accurate. I know I can be tough to get. I know my boundless energy, tenacity and sometimes "ruff" around the edges manner (sorry, had to), can be much. But walking hand in hand with those qualities are others that our canine friends don't hold the corner on: loyalty, protection, and companionship not to mention slobbering, hovering displays of love. Believe me, I don't always like to be "that" friend, "that" daughter, "that" sister...the one that others look upon to protect and guard the lives and feelings of those whom we love. But I humbly take on these charges because I feel the gifts God instilled in me and the direction He has given me are suited to those needs. And like Bubbles, even though I may drive others nuts, it's my hope that just before they are thinking, "Why did I ever agree to associate with this chick?" that I may do something so funny or creative or endearing that will solidify the reasons they did...and they'll hopefully realize that along with the craziness, I also bring laughter and love to their lives.