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Another demented dog

Marge Fenelon

Well, we’ve gone and demented another dog. Of course, we didn’t mean to, it just happened that way.

For nine years we had a standard poodle named Schatzie. She was so docile that you could do anything with her you wanted and she’d just look back at you with her sweet, loving eyes. The kids used to dress her up in clothes, put my glasses on her and pose her with a book, twist her into a pretzel, use her as a pillow while they were watching TV, cradle her like a baby and dance around the room with her. No matter what any of us did with or to her, she never resisted. We worried that something had gone wrong with her mental wiring.

Several months ago, Schatzie became severely ill and had to be put down. It crushed our hearts. We’d grown deeply in love with that demented old cur. There would never be another dog as gentle, meek, and malleable as Schatzie.

Her absence left a gaping hole in our family. Life just didn’t seem right without a barking fur ball to complicate our lives. Safety was a factor, too. We live in a decent neighborhood, but it was a real comfort knowing we had a canine alarm system should a stranger approach the house. Taking the dog along on my lakeshore walks made me feel protected.

It was the kids first. They pushed for another dog. I gave in pretty easily, but Mark was a harder sell. He gave us a long list of criteria to meet and we began our search for a new dog. A month later, we found her – a Lhasa Apso/miniature poodle mix that we named Daisy, after the suggestion of a friend of mine.

Daisy is an absolute rocket. Or at least she was. When we first got her, she was overflowing with energy, ambition, and mischief. She was very independent, always on the go and too busy for cuddling. Notice I said “was.”

Now she’s so docile that you can do anything with her you want and she’ll just look back at you with those sweet, loving eyes of hers. The kids dress her up in clothes, cradle her like a baby, and dance around the room with her. They haven’t tried the glasses and book routine yet, but it’s just a matter of time. She’s too small to be a pillow, but she makes a dandy armrest. She loves every minute of it, too. She’s still got the underlying spunk she came with (she still doesn’t like being pretzelized), but somehow she’s taken on some of the “dementedness” that we thought belonged only to Schatzie.

All this time we’ve blamed our poor standard poodle for her extreme docility, never realizing that we ourselves were its cause.

I wonder if that’s how it works for us when we allow God to be the real master of our lives. If we surrender to him completely, will we become as malleable as Schatzie was in our family’s hands?

Topics: Family , Home Management

Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, columnist, and speaker. She's the author of When's God Gonna Show Up? and When's God Gonna Call Me Back? (Liguori Publications) and a regular columnist for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. She and her husband, Mark, have four mostly-grown children and are members of the International Schoenstatt Movement. Visit her website at www.margefenelon.com

View all articles by Marge Fenelon

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