Her name is Carley. She was rescued from a shelter. She was most likely abused by someone when she was a puppy. It takes a long time for her to trust people. She has sad eyes that make you wonder what she’s thinking – and what she’s had to endure. But no more. Now she has a home; and now she has love.
Carley now lives with my daughter in her apartment; but just the other day, she was a sleepover guest in my house – for three days – and that is where the story begins, because I was very nervous to have her stay with me. I didn’t think I could take good enough care of her. This was a big responsibility, and it frightened me.
What if she didn’t like me? How would I be able to care for her? What if she wouldn’t eat or sleep or go for walks? And even worse: what if she did go for a walk and she got loose?
And then something else dawned upon me: in order to go for walks, I would have to leave the house – a lot. This did not sit well with me, and I began to lose sleep over the prospect.
I felt the weight of this responsibility directly upon my shoulders. And then I saw that this was a good thing because the responsibility gave me the strength and commitment that I needed to get the job done. It is this outward-thinking, this doing things for others that empowers us. We no longer fester in our fears for we are reaching out for a better purpose. Our focus has shifted and we grow strong. This is the beauty of life. People need other people, and when we reach out and help, this in turn helps us. In this case, my “person” had four legs and a tail that I wanted to get to wag. I had to work hard. I had to be clever.
At first, things were tense. Carley didn’t know what to make of me: was I friend or foe? She stared at me a lot and never got close. And then it happened: we bonded. And, believe or not we bonded over one of my most favorite things in the whole wide word: Fritos.
Yes, it’s true: Carley loves Fritos, too!
Now this is a dog after my heart – what could be better? We could take long walks and return home to watch a baseball game while munching on a large bag of curly corn goodness.
Surely any dog that loves Fritos must be a superior canine. Surely they must have amazing intelligence.
I planned to use my knowledge of her corn chip love to my advantage. We would bond over a bagful.
I held out my hand and she came close. I poured some chips into a bowl and placed it upon the floor. She promptly gobbled them up after spreading them out all over. And when she was finally done, she looked up to me wither her sad beagle eyes and said “MORE!”
We spent a lot of time together after that. Maybe in her mind, I became “the chip guy.” It didn’t matter because we were now friends. In the course of the three days, I learned a lot about Carley – and about myself.
I learned that Carley likes to chew plants. We no longer have a garden. I learned that Carley has sharp teeth that can destroy her leash in under 30 seconds. I learned that Carley likes to roll around in grass, leaves and various other outdoor places – all of which she is allergic to and make her scratch and sneeze. And I learned that she is a lot of work and can tire anyone out very fast; especially when she sees a cat and tries to break loose and chase it. I learned that restraining her causes a person’s arm to develop muscle cramps by the end of the day.
I also learned that Carley is a couch hog. She likes to sprawl out on the sofa, belly up, paws extended. This is her “area.” She will lie there for hours and dream. And with her dreams comes a very loud snore that sounds like the upstairs plumbing backing up.
She twitches and her legs move, as if she is chasing that cat, has finally broken free from her leash or torn my arm off at the socket, and is barreling in on her prey.
I also learned that the only way to get her off the couch is by opening another bag of Fritos.