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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day #3: My Dog, Luke

OK, I have to admit that I wanted to devote my thanks on this Day #3 of November to my gratitude over God's creation of potatoes.  What a perfectly wonderful food the potato is, and how worthy it is of a day of thanks.  But that seemed a little shallow.  So, I decided to devote Day #3 to my dog, Luke.  Nothing says deep like a lady's love for her dog.

Luke hasn't been the most popular guy in the family, in his 12 1/2 years of life.  So much so, in fact, that I can think of a few people who would rather have me go back to writing about the potato.  But, since my thanks is about the things for which I am thankful, I have to stick to my guns...or my dog.

Yes, it's true he ate a meatloaf my mom had cooling on the counter once.  And two pies the night before Thanksgiving.  Yes, he did have that little incident when he and his litter mate Belle ran a few head of cattle through a fence.  And then there was the second time he tangoed with a porcupine...the first time wasn't his fault.  He had no idea.  But the second time?  Not so cool.  But, you've never met a more gentle patient as hundreds of quills were plucked from his face, and mouth.  Why didn't he learn the first time?

We say of Luke that he has the heart of a watermelon, but the brain of a pea.

He transitioned from being a grizzly outdoor country dawg, to a bona fide, citified, indoor Southern California dog.  It wasn't an easy transition.  The meatloaf incident happened in the early transitional months.  He developed what his vet calls, "severe separation anxiety."  Like, if I'm in one room, and he isn't, he will bark until he gets to me.  Or, if he's at the groomers, he does fabulously when he's being worked on.  But, once they finish and put him in a crate until I come to pick him up, he barks unless he has someone with him.  And. He. Won't. Stop.  Caesar Millan couldn't make him.  (No, he didn't actually try to get him to stop, but Adam did see him at McDonald's once.)

He weighs in at just over 100 pounds.  (Luke.  Not Caesar Millan.)  His daddy was a Black Lab, and his mama was a German Shepherd.  He took all of the lab traits, all the way down to the climb into your skin level of affection.  He follows me everywhere.

Other than the risk of him accidentally stepping on a baby, I'd put one down with him.  He's just that gentle.  And clumsy.  But, it means a whole lot that when the kids have friends over, I don't have to worry for a second that he will attack or bite them.  I can't guarantee that he won't drive them crazy with his incessant need to be petted, but he won't be aggressive at all.

Unless you're a dog.  Though he was raised with his sister Belle and his daughter (he got custody of her after the one-night-stand with the neighbor's hot Border Collie/Aussie Mix), coming to California has seemed to wipe from his memory the pleasures of canine companionship.  Cats.  Now he's a BFF to any feline he comes in contact with.  But another dog?  Not so much.

Last night Lee had a mild seizure while he slept.  I checked on him throughout the night, and at one point, I found Luke laying on the floor in Lee's bedroom.  Like he sensed something, and he knew he was needed.  He usually sleeps with me in my room, but he wouldn't budge.  I let him stay, feeling strangely comforted.  Kind of like I did when I was a little girl and I'd call my dog Fluffy to my room if I was scared.

Adam shares a room with Lee, and when he went to go to bed, he found that Luke had moved from the floor beside Lee's bed (which is high like a bunk bed, but with a storage area underneath for toys), to his bed which is much lower to the ground than his brother's.  He tried to get Luke to move off, and scared, Luke kind of dribbled a little bit.  Just on the bedspread.  Just a little bit.  Not through to the mattress.  Nothing a little All, and fabric softener can't take care of.  Adam wasn't quite as ready to roll with it as me, suffice it to say.

Luke's not perfect, but he's perfect for me.  He's been a devoted friend and family member, and I will always value anyone who takes watch over any of my babies.  Luke has this down.

Doggie piddle, consumed meatloaf, and enough of a shedding problem to warrant daily vacuuming  couldn't be enough to deter me from the love and gratitude I have for my dog.

Even if he is a little bit...well, slow.  He makes up for it in heart.

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