Thursday, February 8, 2007

85. What's bad about dog's life?

Each day starts the same way- the caring brown eyes, the pitter-patter of feet and a bundle of enthusiasm. The early morning optimist can hardly control herself, enthralled with the idea that it is a "brand new day." Our small Shepard mix, Shea, brightens every morning with her idealistic attitude, as though today will somehow be different.

Shea cannot help but put us in a good mood, even if the day's prospect hints toward an apathetic measure of routine. She is lighthearted, endearing and dances to my playful taunt that it is indeed a "brand new day." It is only partly more accurate to suggest that she is more interested in breakfast than the celebration of a new dawn.

Shea has had a warm and contagious attitude from the first time I saw her. She was rescued from unfortunate circumstances and has never been shy about showing her appreciation. She seems to enjoy life- always receptive, always up for anything, always ready to go.

Not many of us wake up with that same exuberant vigor each and every morning. New days usually bring routine and a list of tasks. This is also true for dogs, and for them it is the same routine five times a week. So entrenched is their routine, and our routine, that they seem to know when the weekend is here. In fact, the occasional day off seems to upset their schedule.

Shea certainly does enjoy her breakfast. During preparation, she often spontaneously breaks out into her dance, a "twist-like" effort in which she stands on her back paws and shakes her stuff feverishly. She quickly finishes her meal, takes a quick trip outside and then waits to see if our others dogs have left anything over. We do this morning routine, day after day.

She is the type of dog that always comes when called and does not need walked on a lease (although she is for her safety). She follows us from room to room, always sitting in the far corner, just watching us and wagging her tail. She does not participate in any traditional dog games, such as tug-of-war or fetch, although she is quite playful. Her favorite season is winter, as she runs around the yard, eating snow and trying to bait the other dogs into chasing her. Her soft thick fur allows her to stay outside for extended periods of time.

I picked Shea out at first glance. We saw a number of dogs that day, all left in an adverse condition. I pleaded with my wife to go back and get her as a companion to our other dog. Even though I spent not more than a minute with her, I just knew she was special. We went back a few days later, tested for compatibility, and never looked back. Now, ironically, she is my wife's best chum.

When we fostered our latest rescue and tried to find him a home, numerous people, people who don't even like dogs, said, "No thanks, but we'll take Shea." Her attitude and affection is contagious; she makes our mornings a bit more bearable. She also reminds me that it is a "brand new day," and with that- anything is possible. It was not her good fortune that we rescued her; it was ours that she found us.

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