Since winter our family has talked about getting a puppy. I knew exactly what kind of dog we needed; a Red Bone Hound. Lazy and beautiful is what I was hoping for. But Mike told me my dog picking days were over. The last dog I picked almost killed me.
When spring came, we began our search. We checked the local papers and Craigslist but nothing seemed right. We went to our local pound but instead of roly-poly puppies, the pens were full of angry adults that snapped and barked.
Spring passed, and with its passing so did our hope for a puppy…that is until Mike came home with one a few weeks ago. When he held her out, proud of his pick, the kids all squealed with excitement. I stood in the doorway with hands my hips and said, “That is the ugliest puppy I have ever seen. It looks like a possum!”
Instantly the kids loved her. They called her, ‘Panda’. I called her, ‘Ugly Puppy’. She howled and scratched at our front door. She barked constantly at our cat. She liked to poop in my strawberry patch. Her favorite things to chew were bicycle wheels and she liked to jump on my baby boy. As the weeks went by, I saw puppy disasters everywhere.
Monday night our family went on a nature hike in a field by our home. Panda began to follow. We shooed her home, knowing she couldn't keep up. When we got back, she was gone. We told our worried children she was around and not to fret. When the kids were in bed and I was out watering my flowers, I dropped the hose when I heard the yelp and a car speeding away.
The next morning we buried Panda under the apple tree. We all gathered flowers and said a little prayer. Our youngest, Abe, (5yrs old) was the first of our children to say a little something about our family puppy. He told us, with regretful tears rolling down his chubby cheeks, he was sorry he ran away when Panda wanted to play and he was sorry he pushed her down when she licked him on the face and he was sorry he got mad when he stepped in her poop. He was now going to miss all that. He wished Panda didn't have to die.
If any of us had dry eyes, we didn't anymore. Abe said it perfectly. Puppies aren't perfect; they actually drive us a little crazy at times. But what is perfect about a puppy is all they want is to love and be loved. We realized it didn't matter that our puppy was ugly, we loved her and she loved us. She was a good little mutt.