Friday, January 22, 2010

Dog Parenting and People Parenting

Marissa, my maid, said that because Ed’s and my only child is an adult, we have made the dogs our children. I thought of her words today as we brought our three dogs to their vet, Happy Hayop.

It was like a family trip as Ed and I were swayed by the happy barking, tugging of leashes, and sheer joy of our dogs. As a child Kat (our daughter) was wild, too. She ran faster than all the boys in the McDonald’s play area.

I have always envied people with dogs who behave perfectly, stay in place, and do as they are told. I especially envied them today, when Ashley Pumpernickel refused to get inside the vet's office and had to be pushed. Winniechurchill (named after my favorite hero) hesitated at the door, and Mocha Barney walked innocently in, not knowing what was in store (she was new to this).

The doctor pried the dogs apart one after the other. Ashley did not need shots but her ears were cleaned, and her nails cut. Winnie had a worm test (I was worried because she is so thin) and she was perfectly fine, though she was given a vitamin prescription. Mocha got an injection.

(Winniechurchill in this photo)
As the doctor prepared their papers Ed proudly told the assistant that Ashley can catch food on two legs at five throws without sitting down. I said my dogs have never bitten any person, and that Ashley and Mocha are scared of Winnie. Ed proudly showed how Ashley can shake hands.
Meanwhile, a line of patients were waiting outside. A basset hound, a cocker spaniel, a dachshund, and a poodle.

We gleefully pointed out, at that point, how Winnie was possessively sitting on Ed’s lap. Then Mocha kept barking at the cocker spaniel, so I had to hold her mouth shut a few times.  I was concerned about the growing line of patients outside as the doctor prepared Mocha's medical book.

My mind wandered.  I realized then why God only gave us only one child, despite many persistent years that were spent praying for a second child, a boy. We are not disciplinarians. When Kat was a toddler Ed would slap her hand if she was naughty, and if she was really bad he would slap her feet. He stopped doing this when she was three years old because by then she could verbally communicate.

We don’t hit our dogs, either. And yet, just taking them to the doctor was overwhelming for me.  (Although Ed said for him it was no trouble at all.). Imagine if we had to handle three children instead of three dogs. Romans 8:28 says, "All things work for the good of those who love God and fit into His plans."  God knew our limitations better than we did. Thank God.

Finally, the doctor gave us Mocha's completed medicine card and we were done. I paid a wonderful sum of P250 (equal to 5 dollars) because they only charged me for Mocha’s injection. Then I stared out the glass door at the huge basset hound, the cocker spaniel that kept eyeing Mocha, the dachshund right behind, and the large poodle cradled in her human's arms.  Could we make it out alright?

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