After our golden retriever, Lady, left us it was some time before another dog found us.
One summer afternoon, I played a terribly dirty trick on our little boys. I retrieved a new tent I placed on layaway and put it together in the back yard. I went inside where the boys were eating lunch and said I had a surprise for them. I went back outside and yelled, “Here! Come here! Here boy!” I whistled, then went back inside. Of course, they were all excited, “Did you get a puppy?!” I took them outside and when they saw the tent they started crying, “We thought you got a dog and it’s just a tent!”
Not long after my ill-advised stunt, my wife saw an ad in the newspaper for a rescue shelter. There on the page was a very cute little terrier-beagle mix with adorable eyes saying, “Please, please take me home!” We went to the rescue and the puppy adopted us.
Our boys were excited as they could be. They played with the puppy in the back seat of the big car I was driving when all of a sudden, “Dad! She’s pooping!”
Sure enough, the pup was hunched over in the familiar pose, leaving a warm pile of fresh steamer filling the car with an aroma never mistaken for anything else. I quickly pulled over to the side of the road and cleaned up the mess.
Libby grew quickly but was never bigger than a small beagle. She loved playing with the kids and was very attentive to them. Her energy never ended.
We moved to another rental home to get close to the university where my wife was attending classes. Now that our boys were in school, she was studying to complete her degree in elementary education. Our neighbors had a boy who was about the same age as our triplet sons so they spent a great deal of time playing together. One afternoon our Libby grabbed the neighbor boy, but luckily did not break the skin. She was very protective of her turf and her boys.
We accepted the pastorate of a small church in a distant town which meant another move. We quickly settled into our new home, our children into a new school district. The church we pastored was in the beginning stages of building a new facility which was going to be on the same property as our home, which was also owned by the church.
Sunday morning was always a very tense and anxiety-filled time for me as I anticipated speaking to the people. Five minutes before the morning worship service was to begin, with my anxiety peaking, a church leader walked into my office and with his familiar exaggerated gesturing, said, “Your dog bit the builder!!”
I pictured a limb torn and tattered, and expected the builder to be furious. The truth was much less dramatic. The man went into a metal shed in our yard to retrieve something he needed. When he came out, the dog grabbed just his pants but no skin. It was becoming apparent that a change was going to be necessary. Our Libby was unpredictable and that was making us nervous. As she got older, she was becoming more protective.
We had Libby for two years but determined it was time to find her a new home. The wiry and energetic little dog would no longer be running around our yard. We would not have to worry about her anymore.
Once again, we were without a dog. A ten-gallon fish tank and several gold fish took her place. Fish don’t fetch and they’re hard to cuddle, but they generally don’t jump on or bite anybody, either.
(The dog in the picture is not Libby, but looks just like her.)