I started hating dogs from a very young age. I was five or so when a large one, whose teeth grow larger each year in my memories, knocked me down and snarled over me. I was "saved" by a passerby who was familiar with that particular dog who often liked to leap the fence and knock down small children. Apparently it was all bark and no bite but I was less than convinced on that point and chose to steer clear of the entire species for the rest of my life.
When I was a teenager my brother had a dog but I scarcely looked at it other than to move it off the couch if I wanted to sit down. I did enjoy laughing at it though as the dog had excellent timing. My brother was bragging on it as my mom and I were teasing the poor beast's lack of intelligence (for this dog seemed even stupider than your average dog) and as if on cue the dog ran smack into the glass sliding door that goes outside. We had to put a row of masking tape to remind the poor thing that a window is not air.
So when I met a man who was absolutely head over heals for dogs I thought: humph. Over my dead body. Then when I gave birth to two children who were head over heals, the second, the boy, being completely enamored I started to resign a little. His father would advocate for him constantly: the boy needs a dog, he would announce. I was saved by the fact we are still renting and pet deposits tend towards the ungodly.
A few weeks ago a friend at church asked us if we could dog sit. I started to explain that we would have a pet deposit to pay but hubby cheerfully interrupted and explained he had already talked to them about having a dog for a short time like a week and that was OK. I sighed and informed him I would not be helping with said dog. Then I met the blasted thing.
It has this little face, like the kind they used to put on sweaters and skirts, but then it has white, shaggy hair like a poodle. Only it's not pretentious but like the cute raga-muffin brother to a poodle. The darn thing seemed to sense I was the one who needed to be won over so it set to winning. It hopped up on my lap and looked up at me with that: "please pet me, and love me, and don't be mad at me."
I tried to resist. For half a day or so and then I was hooked. I started offering to take it on walks. By myself. One night I was sitting on the couch petting it and hubby came in the room and was all: Aha! Dog-lover! I resigned myself that it was just that one. That maybe it's the strange power that I know I can happily give it back at the end of the week. Or maybe that it's not really like the Beethoven's worst nightmare and not destroying everything in the house.
Or maybe, just maybe, every now and then you need the love of a dog. I think God made them to look up at you with that "please love me" look for a reason and it might just be that sometimes we need to love something smaller than us. And sometimes we need to hold something warm and furry that yips and yaps and licks our faces. As the dog plays with my daughter and I hear her joyous laughter and its happy yips I sigh and resign myself to no longer being firmly and completely in the "cat" camp. Sheesh.