Saturday, July 26, 2014
Day 15 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
On the way to have family pictures taken we discovered that my black Labrador, Tilley, hates my shoes. As soon as I put them on she tucked her tail between her hind legs and barked at me like I was attacking her with a baseball bat.
Tilley is a seventy pound dog. I’ve seen her eat the seat out of a four-wheeler, the wires off of the AC units (twice) and destroy a kids plastic swimming pool. That a pair of shoes would be her undoing seemed more than a little ridiculous.
But there was a short period of her life where she didn’t belong to us.
Tilley was a stray we rescued from a cemetery in south Texas. When we found her she was just a skinny, tick-covered eight week old puppy desperate for food and love. We brought her home and cleaned her up. Two years later she’s a friendly dog, great with the kids and too smart for her own good.
How, I wonder, could someone have left her behind in that cemetery? Where did she come from?
Her hatred of my shoes hints at her backstory, and it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture.
Curious to see how deep her aversion went, I put a tiny piece of cheese on the toe of one shoe. Tilley will eat cheese off of anything, but this time she wouldn’t go near it.
I put the shoes back in the box and put the box on the floor. She sniffed the box, but no matter where I moved to she cowered behind my legs so I was always between her and the box.
I finally took pity on her and put the shoes up. She sniffed the kitchen floor where they’d been then licked my hand as though in apology. I gave her an extra piece of cheese and told her she was a good dog.
It makes me sad to think that someone could have hurt my dog, or any dog, so badly. Anyone with a pet knows that they become a part of your family.
I was scared after being diagnosed with breast cancer that I’d have to find a new home for Tilley. Right behind the questions “What are the survival rates?” and “Can I be around my children?” I asked my doctor “Do I have to get rid of my dog? You know, because of my immune system?”
I felt stupid for asking, but I pressed on. Cancer was already threatening my life. I could hardly sleep. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to walk my kids to their first day of school. If I had to give up my dog, too, well… that was just one extra grain of salt rubbed into the wound.
My doctor smiled and patted me on the hand. “I think pets will be fine. In fact, I’d say your favorite therapy animal would be good for you.”
Amid a sea of troubles, finally, I got to keep this one tiny bit of normalcy.
Today’s silver lining: My fur-baby. May she never have to fear another high heel as long as she lives.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!