Those who know me well and those with whom I’m connected on Facebook are very familiar with my love for my dog, Callie. I’ve always been a dog person from as early as I can remember. Most of my nearly 57 years have seen a canine companion at my side.
When my previous dog, Bonnie, passed away, I promised my wife one full year of not having a dog just so we could experience all the seasons, travel and life experiences without the added responsibility of a dog for a year. We ended up going for two years before we found Callie. It was a long two years where I went every week without fail to a pet store or animal shelter to look at pups. It was on one of those weekly visits that we saw Callie in a bin with her more aggressive sibling. She fell asleep in minutes cuddled up with Linda, and I knew at that moment who our next companion would be. We’ve had her for 3.5 years now and she is a treasure.
Of all the dogs I’ve had in my life, I’ve never had one with whom I shared a relationship like I have with Callie. When I am home, we are inseparable (unless Linda is cooking in the kitchen, in which case Callie hangs around her in hopes of some food dropping on the floor). When I go from one room to the next, she goes with me – even to the bathroom. When I go to bed, she either lays on the floor by me or crawls under the bed below me and usually stays there until my alarm goes off. When I’m in my favorite recliner at the end of my sectional sofa in the basement, she is on the next section beside me or trying to get between my laptop and me.
No day is complete in her mind unless we throw the Frisbee in the back yard and take a long walk. It helps that I have a daily step goal of at least 10,000 steps (about five miles). Callie is guaranteed to get in 2-4 miles a day walking with me, depending on how many steps I need to reach 10,000 for the day. Her other favorite ritual is to have me chase her around the basement yelling, clapping my hands and roaring at her while she dashes in a big circle around the room. I hope the neighbors can’t hear me.
No return home is complete without Callie being at the door waiting for me and then nearly bursting out of her skin with excitement when I arrive. She goes nuts, whether I’m returning from a full day at work or a short shopping trip. It serves as the appropriate bookend to my leaving for work when she will sit at the door watching in stillness as I drive away until I’m out of sight. My wife tells me that Callie whimpers and whines if I go out into the yard or to the car to do something without her for a moment, disappearing for a while from her sight.
Callie is pretty good at obeying me. She quickly learned the basic commands and does them for me – come, give, sit, stay, down, up, get your ball/bone/chain/Frisbee, etc. – using either my spoken commands or hand motions. She may or may not perform when others give the commands. She’s a smart Border Collie, Labrador mix (a Borador) that we haven’t trained nearly as much as we could have. I had visions of using her as a therapy dog and she would be a sweet dog for that, but we didn’t train her enough to keep her as settled down and under control as a therapy dog would need to be visiting the sick or elderly. She is perfectly behaved around my 2-year-old granddaughter, although the wagging tail is about face-high to my granddaughter right now, but that will change soon.
From the first days of having her when she was two months old, I’ve intentionally tried to socialize her by walking her toward other people and dogs. She knows no stranger and is willing to befriend anyone or any dog unless they give her a reason not to do so. On those walks, she’ll gladly run with me for as long as I want to run as long as it’s not too hot outside – she doesn’t handle summer heat very well for long. Otherwise, she’ll walk with me for as long as I want to be out.
Some people let their dogs lick them and some don’t. I do, and Callie gives me more kisses in a day than probably all of my previous dogs did combined. If I’ve slept on my couch and am waking up, Callie hops up, lays down on my chest, puts one paw on either side of my head and kisses until I stop her. In that position she’ll also take one paw and gently stroke my face a few times which is sweet, but I have to stop that quickly for fear of a claw leaving its mark.
Callie is a trusting dog and would let me wash her, brush her, check out some injury or treat her if needed without putting up a fuss. The back seat of my PT Cruiser is covered with a dog hammock where she willingly rides whenever and wherever I ask, running to her door to jump in whenever I say “Let’s go for a ride.” We usually share a large order of French fries whenever we go through some fast food drive-through, but that isn’t too often for health and calorie reasons.
As I started writing this post, she was taking a nap beside me with one paw stretched out to touch me. Now she’s laying on my feet. Typical.
Not a day goes by that I don’t look at Callie and marvel at how a human and a dog – two incredibly different species – can not only coexist but actually have a genuine, deep, loving relationship with one another. That may sound freaky or weird to some, but to me it is an incredible joy and gift that brings happiness to every day in spite of the hassles of cleaning up after her, letting her out many times a day, vet bills and occasional sickness. Some days a nice hug and time with Callie is just what the doctor ordered for me to relieve some stress and make things right.
I don’t know if God plans on having dogs in heaven when he brings about his re-created heaven and earth the Bible speaks of at some point in the future. I don’t see why not since animals were a part of his perfect creation to start with. Why wouldn’t a perfect re-creation have them as well? If that’s the case, I know which of all my animals past and present I’d like to scamper around with for eternity – Callie. Whether or not that happens, I am incredibly thankful for the years we enjoy each other now. There is a reason why dogs are known as man’s best friend.
Thank you, God, for my dog.