Our doorbell rang. Midnight barked her announcement that we had a visitor. My husband headed for the door telling her to settle down. Midnight barked quieter.
“Shush girl, I’m right here.”
“Woof.” Quieter yet.
Midnight stalked away with disgust written on her snout, mumbling “mwmwm.” After all she was only doing her job!
Pets do have personalities. As far as Midnight was concerned, the door belonged to her, likewise the sidewalk. Naturally she would sound the alarm when someone who didn’t belong used them. Midnight included in her fold Grandma, and her dog Puddin. Grandma adored Midnight and Puddin adored coming to our house to watch the fish swim in the fish tank. It appeared to be canine MTV.
Midnight considered us family, but not everyone was thrilled by that. My husband and I both grew up with pets, but my husband was done with them. Our son had other ideas though. I vividly recall the day my husband called me upstairs where he was working.
“I’m getting weak,” he said. “I’m thinking of getting Jamie a dog. Can you think of any reason we shouldn’t? Please, any reason at all?”
His petition took me by surprise because nothing had been said recently. At the moment I could not come up with a reason why our boy should not have his dog. Later I was able to pinpoint an issue with pet ownership. Hair. Everywhere. Which should not have come as a surprise because we already had a cat. Adding another pet to the mix just meant twice the hair.
After we brought our pup home, the family gathered around the table for the serious discussion of a name for this new family member. Because she was all black, I leaned towards Licorice. But that was quickly squashed due to my tendency to go by nicknames. Standing at the door calling for Licker didn’t seem appropriate. We settled on Midnight but called her by many names, Pup, Poochkie, Mid, Mutney. She responded to all, lapping up the love and attention most of us gave her.
At about the same time Midnight joined our family, some friends of ours added a pup to their family as well. Their experience with a new puppy wasn’t altogether good.
“Are you folks having problems at night with your puppy whining and crying after being put to bed?”
“No, not at all,” I said, perplexed as to why they were experiencing this. All the kids welcomed her with open arms, our son especially. Because the puppy was too small to jump onto his bed, our boy lined the floor with newspapers and slept on it with Mid. Our friend, on the other hand, put their pup in a kennel far from any family members. Clearly, he didn’t grasp that dogs shouldn’t be treated like animals.
Midnight was happiest when she was included in family activities. She especially enjoyed going camping with us. Most of the time we were outdoors with her, so she had ample attention. One vacation in particular she tried to befriend another black critter that had a really neat white streak running down its back. Thankfully I managed to squelch that doomed friendship before any bad memory took place.
It amazes me the how and what lessons God will bring into my life to learn. Living with our new family member, I became a student of valuable lessons that Midnight had for me. Take for instance the aforementioned visitor at the door. Immediately Midnight determined whether our visitor was friend or foe. Her policy was to like everyone. Then had a friend for life
Other lessons I learned from Midnight:
When a person is hurting, stay close by, with a listening ear available to them. Midnight lived that out making herself available to any one of the kids during those tough adolescent years.
Even the few times we reprimanded her, Mutney always forgave us.
Little people were some of Mid’s favorite humans. I guess because they knew how to have fun. If they tended to be a little clumsy she exercised patience.
Mid could read people and take joy in another person’s happiness. Understanding wasn’t a prerequisite for her to join in the celebration.
Our girl loved car rides. She made it a practice to never pass up an opportunity for a road trip, however small it might be. Ditto for red wagons. Don’t postpone joy.
When outdoors, she always took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. Who knows when the next opportunity would be?
You don’t have to finish all the food in your bowl. If her snout was dry and she felt a little under the weather, it was ok.
In theory, Mid was not to be on furniture. It was my way of controlling some of the shed hair. When we were gone, it was another story. The furniture was at her disposal. When taking a nap, she would find the softest pillow in the house.
Be a kitchen-helper. There just isn’t an easy way to conduct floor patrol without getting underfoot. At least the cook shouldn’t feel lonely in there by herself.
Adapt to the changes in your world. As long as you have family, you have all the support and protection you need.
Lastly, always have the last word.
While my husband might not completely agree, our lives would not have been complete without this four-legged family member. As long as Midnight gave her master the lead dog position, all was well with the world. We miss you girl and always remain your faithful family.