What a dog taught me about fur management and unconditional love
On the weekend I was disposing of the dog poo in our back yard. The creator of that poo was a rescue dog we had adopted last year and there she was relaxing in the sun in her favourite spot while I scooped her poo, and I wondered at the unnaturalness of this situation…
She had outgrown her first owner’s coping capacity and we had the space to accommodate her, but we were not expecting what a handful this unruly, boisterous one-year-old canine would be.
On her first day at our house she left claw marks in our wooden doors, let herself in by pawing at the door handle, wandered around the house, stood up to sniff the food on the kitchen bench and jumped on us, to say the least. As we watched her snuggle up in her pet bed that night, we struggled to bond with this big white dog, with her big dome of a head, big pointy ears, lean body and long, muscular legs.
However, her short, white fur on the dark rug was the bane of our indoor existence. Every time she shook herself, the fur would plume from her body like fine dandruff. No matter how often we vacuumed, the fur would be back the very next second as soon as she walked near the rug. It was a losing battle, so we ultimately had to pack away our lovely rug and make do with the floor boards.
She also started pooing on the pavers, but the last straw was when she playfully knocked our young son as though he were another puppy and began pawing and nipping at him. We decided reluctantly that if she didn’t improve within a certain time-frame, back to the dog pound she would go, but we knew that she most likely would not get a third chance. In our state of desperation we paid for a private dog trainer to visit us at home and provide advice.
As we worked with her, she gradually improved as she grew into her full size and the funny thing was she grew on us at the same time. We could appreciate her beautiful eyes, her puppy dog waggling of body and tail, and her intense joy at being with us. And I realised that having her reinforced the concept of unconditional love. I learned this when I had my son and now I was learning it again with this rescue dog.
I used to joke about returning her to the dog pound, but now I no longer joke about it because I love this big, boisterous, unruly dog, and I know that the unconditional love she has for us and which she inspires in us makes it all worth it. As for the fur, well, we give that to the worms in the compost bin now…
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