Friday, August 13, 2010


Throughout my life I've had many dogs but very few of them became a part of our family. Growing up on a farm, having lots of animals was just normal. We actually raised labs for a few years so it seemed we always had puppies and dogs at all stages of life. Because of this, we didn't get close to many of them, as we knew at some point they would leave and go to another family.

There are only three dogs that truly made an impact in my life. The first was Trooper, a beautiful black lab, who might have been the best dog ever. He was the runt, a trait I've always chosen in pets, and it has never failed me.

Trooper was a kind soul and my best friend for many years. It was nothing to see him sprawled on the grass, covered in kittens, and loving every minute. What I remember most of him though was his instinct. He was extremely protective of my sister and me. Every morning, Trooper would meet us at the porch and walk the mile-long trek to our bus stop. Patiently, he would wait by our sides until the yellow bus picked us up and then he'd slowly turn back toward the house. From the bus, we would see him looking back over his shoulder, just to make sure we were ok.

Mom said in the afternoons he somehow knew just when to rise and start out to meet us. It never failed that Trooper was there at the bus stop waiting when we arrived. What was even more amazing was that he'd be there, even on days when school let out early due to the weather. Sadly, one day Trooper wasn't at the bus stop. I remember the scary and lonely walk home, only to find that Trooper wasn't there either. We guessed that someone stole him, as he was waiting for us to come home. Those walks were never the same.

Kibbles was the replacement dog my aunt got for me, that never really made up for Trooper being gone, but was a good friend. He was a silent listener to me on many afternoons, walking the fields by my house. He was also very protective of me and I always felt safe when he was around. Kibbles lived a long life too, seeing both my sister and me into adulthood.

When Tim and I got married, we attempted many times to bring a dog into the family. Tragedy struck some of them and many were just the wrong fit. Some we found stranded, only to later locate the owners and have to hand them back in tears. We tried rescue dogs for awhile, hoping to find a match while caring for a needy pet waiting for adoption. With each dog we held our breath, and kept our hearts at a distance, in fear of being disappointed again.

2010 must have been our year, as on New Years Day, we found Patch. Through several connections on Facebook (it is a small world!) we were introduced to his current owners and made the trip to Indiana to meet him. Patch, a toy Chihuahua, was true to his breed, jumpy and nervous. His owners had adopted a very large dog and Patch was having trouble adjusting. He immediately took to Tim and Noah, leaping between them both, panting and excited. We snuggled him into his kennel and headed home, hopeful.

My initial plan was for Patch to be Noah's dog. He'd been so lonely and needed a pal, someone to cuddle with, run and play with, and someone to listen. While Patch loves Noah very much, and begins pacing the floor even before his bus pulls into the subdivision; he has become unusually attached to me.

I think it is probably because I'm with him more, especially his first week home, that he just naturally connected to me. If I'm home, he's at my feet or on my lap. When I'm gone, Tim says he'll sit at the door, waiting. And if I head toward the bedroom, he's right behind me, whimpering to join me. Because of his size, he cannot jump onto our bed. If I lie down without picking him up, he'll run to Tim, barking and circling, until he carries him to me.

He's an exceptionally smart dog and we're continually impressed by how much he understands. Patch is so much a part of our family now it seems we've had him for years, instead of mere months. What I love about him most though is how we has connected to each of us in different ways. It's as if he knows what we each need and works to provide it.

For Tim, he is the happy dog, tail wagging, as he meets him at the door. Patch will bark at Tim, almost as if carrying on a conversation. And, he is Tim's meal companion, always at his feet, ready to grab the sneaky treat Tim tries to hide from me.

For Noah, he is his buddy. He runs and plays, circles and barks. They snap at each other, play fighting. He's there to cuddle too when Noah needs it. And, he makes Noah laugh, which warms my heart.

With me, he's calm and gentle, a sweet friend who is always there to listen - or just sit quietly. He is my constant in every day. His kind little eyes look up to me with sincere affection. He makes me feel needed and loved every minute I'm with him.
One of my resolutions for 2010 was to find happiness and joy whenever I could. With Patch, it is so easy to do and we're very thankful he's a part of our family.


Anonymous said...

Well, praise God you finally found a pet to keep. I hope you have replaced that picture of the random dog you kept in your office forever with a picture of Patch! I loved your story. :)

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