Max is stretched out behind me on the livingroom rug - it's a "hand-me-down" we received from a friend of a friend, so I'm not concerned about him shedding on it or anything. He's not an indoor dog and from where I sit here at the computer, barely two feet away, I can smell him...it's the smell of Dog...of swimming in ponds, strolling through Hill Country underbrush and rolling in the damp earth (and I don't want to know what else.)
Tom was watching television and I've been paying bills, all of us gathered in one small area of this big house. A fire crackles in the wood-burning stove nearby chasing away the chill - the reason we were all huddled together here.
There are rumors of sleet tonight...maybe even a few flakes of snow will drift down. This is our version of a winter storm. I think of Tom's brothers in Maryland who have been trying to shovel out from under multiple snowstorms this week; I am so grateful my ancestors decided to move to Texas! The history books might indicate it was because of cheap land or political pressure before the Civil War, but I think it was just to get away from long, cold winters!
I'm not sure why we let Max in the house tonight. It's not really that cold outside. Not for him, anyway...he's a German Shepherd mix with a thick coat. Cold weather makes him frisky.
Tom mentioned it...and I jumped on the chance. I think he was feeling guilty for not taking Max for a walk as soon as he got home from work, but he had a bad headache. All he could do was take some medicine and stretch out on the couch. Max had disappeared, disappointed, into his doghouse by the time I came home.
But Max must have ESP, because he came right in the house when I opened the door, just as he does when it's the 4th of July and the sound of fireworks echoes through the Hollow. (He doesn't like fireworks or gunshots!)
I worry about Frankie being out there all alone, but I worry more about Max feeling lonely. Oh, dang... here comes that puppy question again! We've thought about it...Tom believes a puppy would stay by Max's side when we left for work....not wander off or get lost or eaten by a coyote. Perhaps it would. Perhaps. But what if it didn't? I can't imagine that heartbreak.
Friends have sent pictures...precious puppy pictures...but they are hours away from us. We really don't have time for a road trip just to go pick up a puppy.
And besides, here I sit, still in a daze from paying bills, wondering if we could even afford another puppy right now...the shots, the neutering (the time off from work to care for them after the surgery)...and there's always that chance that it will be another million dollar dog like Max, with some congenital health problem that requires special food, special supplements ("special" as in "expensive")...
Even as I think of all the reasons why we shouldn't, I know before too long we'll have a puppy. We'll know the right one when we see it, whether we choose it, or, like Max and Frankie, it chooses us. And God will see to it that we can provide for its needs, just as he's made sure we can provide for Max's...and I guess I should say Frankie's, although if you want a cheap pet, guineas are the way to go!
I watch Max twitching in his sleep, his stretched-out body taking up a full third of the 5 x 7 foot rug. He's looking mighty cozy, warm and not-so-lonely now that he's in the house. Uh-oh...I'm afraid we might have ourselves a house dog, after all.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." - Roger Caras