Monday, February 10, 2014

Pick of the Litter

Our dog is about to celebrate another birthday!  I realize that canine birthdays are not something that a lot of people keep up with, but somehow I do.  I can't remember why I came in a room, what I was about to say, or that my glasses are on top of my head, but our dog's birthday.....that I can remember.  Go figure.

Nine years ago, our family decided to get what we thought to be a full-blooded Dachshund puppy from an out of town great-aunt.  Her registered Dachshund had a litter of puppies and we thought that was just what the Millers needed......a wienie dog!

When we'd call to check on the puppy that was being held for us, she would tell us that it was doing just fine, but really didn't look much like the rest of the litter.  "Hmm", we thought, but went forward with our adoption plans, because, after all, we were getting her for the family price of free. 

When it was time, we took a road trip to pick up our already named Sugar and when we saw her, she looked "Dachshundy" enough, but something wasn't exactly right.  We just couldn't quite put our finger on it.  We brought her home and quickly became attached!  We were in love with our little Sugar. 

As the weeks went by and she grew, her long, droopy ears, that once flopped down beside her head, began to spring upward toward the heavens.  First, one ear went up.....and then the other joined it about 6 months later.  It was an odd sight.....so much so that we began to wonder if wrapping her head with aluminum foil would get us some extra channels on the television.

It was something that we hated to say out loud, but I know we were all thinking it....."We've got ourselves one ugly dog here.  Just not very cute...bless her heart".  But, when our children went through that terrible baby "acne" at around six weeks old, (you know that brief period when you pray no one will call to come see the baby) we didn't stop loving them.  Then at about eight years old when kids get those walrus teeth that are bigger than piano keys, we still loved them then, too.  Sugar was no exception to our blind love.

Quickly, we started putting the pieces together when we remembered the Chihuahua that lived next door to my aunt and concluded that we must, indeed, be the proud owners of a "Chi-wienie" or "Wienie-huahua" as they're sometimes affectionately called.  The father wouldn't submit to a paternity test, but the ears gave him away.  Obviously, Sugar's mother did some things she regretted and her daddy was just a scoundrel looking to put another notch in his collar, but none of this was Sugar's fault.

Sugar will never win at Westminster.  She won't be pictured on any dog food bags.  She hates everybody who doesn't live in our house.  She bites the vet.  She growls at anyone who comes near her food bowl.  She snarls if you mess with her while she's trying to sleep.  She doesn't care for small children.  She likes her routine and gets very anxious if it's changed.  She won't eat dog food unless you put table scraps under it to entice her.  She snores louder than a grown man.  And she sends the little girl across the street screaming into her house every time she sees her.  Nonetheless, we love her. 

She's a grumpy, set in her ways half breed, who's not much to look at.....but she is ours.  She greets us with drooling adoration when we get home, wants to be wherever we are, and she'd strip all the skin from your ankles if you tried to mess with us. 

To love each other despite our glaring imperfections....that's what families do.  What others may see as a mutt, we see as a precious part of our family.  I suppose it's the same way God see us, too.  He looks past all of our faults and just sees someone that He loves with all of His heart.  We're not perfect.....but we're His.

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