Chatting with my brother Rob, and my mum in England, is part of every Saturday morning. As well as catching up on our human family's news, we always talk about our dogs: Bruce, his Staffordshire bull terrier and Molson our golden retriever.
Bruce is still suffering with shattered nerves from Bonfire week in England. He hides under Mum's settee when he is downstairs in her flat, in the far corner, where he manages to find a tiny space to wedge into. Rob has to work hard to pull him out. When he is upstairs in Rob's flat, his chosen hiding place is in the storage cupboard. He still only ventures out when he's sure it's safe, in the wee hours of the morning. Rob said he will probably just be getting over it when the fireworks start again around Christmas.
Both of us believe that our dogs are gifts sent by God. Rob doesn't talk much about God except when it comes to Bruce coming into his life.
Years ago Rob had a Staffordshire bull terrier named Boss. He loved that dog and for years I thought that having another dog would be so good for him. But he is a man who doesn't make snap decisions and it never seemed to be the right time to look for a dog. Bruce belonged to a young couple and lived on a farm. They loved him dearly but they knew that he was not good with children and when they had a baby of their own they made the hard but only right decision to find another home for him. John, Rob's son, who lived with him at the time, became his new owner. When John was at work, Rob would take Bruce for walks as far as his weak back allowed, but still, Bruce belonged to John. A few months ago John moved out of Rob's flat and in with his girlfriend who has a Staffordshire bull terrier of her own, called Fink. She has a little daughter, and there was no risking her safety with Bruce. Bruce stayed with Rob, and eventually, after a few weeks had gone by, Rob said tentatively to John, "So do you think I can I call him mine then?" John laughed but didn't say no. So, now he belongs to Rob; he landed where and with whom, he was supposed to. He has filled a void Rob didn't even know was there but if he was gone the void would be an aching hole.
Molson also belonged to someone else to start with. He had been partially purchased from a kennel where Brenda was doing some volunteer data entry. His owner, a youth, had agreed to work off the other half of the purchase price, but never kept his promise. Then Molson was found wandering loose, traced back to the kennel and brought back. He had not been properly cared for, and it took some time before his owner made inquiries and found out where he was. The kennel owner would not give him back, even when a relative of his youthful owner offered a generous amount to buy him back. Instead the owner offered him to Brenda, on condition that he be available when needed as a stud dog.
Readers here know how much we all love Molson. If I had a dollar for every time I hug him and thank God for the blessing he is to us, well, I'd be growing richer by the day.
This past Friday I ended my day by talking to someone with someone struggling with her relationships with people. Suddenly she asked, "How's your dog? You brought your dog to the barbecue in the summer, didn't you?"
I laughed and said, "He's fine, and yes, I did."
She said, "He didn't eat any food."
"Oh, I think he got quite a few bits and pieces that he wasn't supposed to," I said.
"I gave him a piece of my sausage," she confessed, "just a small piece."
And I thought that I really should bring Molson along to work sometimes. He probably would do a much better job than me with people who need some unconditional acceptance and love.
I believe dogs are heaven "sent" to where they are meant to be and it kind of feels like some of them are on a mission with special orders--a mission they are fulfilling with flying colours.