When I grew up, for many years, we did not have a dog.  The reason for this, which seemed unreasonable to me at the time but nowadays I totally empathize with, was my mother.  Mom had had a dog for 18 years and by the time we started asking for a dog, she had had her fill, at least for a time, of tending to pets.  Although she relented for a season when I was about eight (we had an Irish Setter for about a year, until she started digging to China on our patio and then my folks found a friend with a farm and off she went) for most of my childhood – no dog.

And then came Sinbad.  When I was about fifteen, some people drove up behind our house and called to my younger brother who was outside at the time.  “Do you want a dog?”, they asked.  My brother said, “My parents won’t let us have one.”  To which they responded, “Hope they change their mind!” and shoved this mutt puppy out the door and took off.

Sinbad, the name we finally settled on, seemed a mix of many breeds (we almost named him Heinz, 57 varieties!).  He was mostly a shepherd/collie mix from what we could tell but that surely wasn’t all.  For example, he had a purple tongue (common in Chows but he looked nothing like a Chow).  And he could run like the wind (also not common in collies/shepherds, at least others I have had over the years).

My brother came and got me.  We fed him and gave him water.  We didn’t know how Mom would respond but we had a dog!

My mother at first gave no ground.  “That dog is not staying here!”  She would not let him near the doors of our house.  But Sinbad seemed content enough.  He slept in our fence-less yard and we snuck table scraps to him each night and put buckets of water under the bushes!  Everybody got in the act in time and started passing him something each time they saw him.  Even my mom softened in time (she loved him the most as the years went on and Sinbad saw it as his duty to protect her).

Sinbad became a fixture in the neighborhood.  We would be amazed at being eight or ten blocks from our house walking him and people we didn’t know would call out “Hey Sinbad!”  He had no name tag on, just a leather collar.  But somehow, by word of mouth, he became a neighborhood dog.

I’ve had many dogs since Sinbad and I love them all.  But Sinbad, for whatever reason, is on my mind this morning.  I’ll tell some more Sinbad stories too in the days ahead.  These couple of ones just scratch the surface!

Did you have a dog or cat that really stands out in your memory?  What does God teach us through the life he puts around us?

Some musings on my day off.

Until next time,



2 thoughts on “Sinbad

  1. I could write a book (and probably should) about the dog prints across my heart.

    Che Che was my first dog, although he bonded with my uncle and really became his dog. My grandmother swore she didn’t want a dog and lamented his being a nuisance. Meanwhile she cooked chicken especially for him, even salting it so it would taste good. Che Che went missing one day and very likely went off to die (he was 11). My grandmother’s health spiraled downward after that. I think it broke her heart, although she would never admit it.

    For me, it was Kenya. I got Kenya just before embarking on my 3-month journey cross-country. She was friend, companion, and guard dog. She looked mean (she was part shepherd, part rottweiler) and sounded worse, but was marshmallow inside. She was also one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known. After we moved to New Orleans, she developed lymphoma at only age 5. Finding out was one of the worst days in my life. Ultimately, through visits to LSU Vet School and talks with our vet, we decided to do chemotherapy with her. Despite the extreme cost, it remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was truly BLESSED with an additional year and a half with her. i wouldn’t trade that time for anything. (Chemo in dogs, incidentally, does not cause hair loss. The prednisone was the worst part.) My relationship with her and that experience taught me about friendship, caring even when it seems bleak, experiencing joy in the moment, and appreciating what we have been given.

    Thanks for giving me an opportunity to talk about Kenya. It has been more than a dozen years since I lost her, but I still miss her.

    1. Dee, thank you for sharing about Che Che. What a blessing these little furry ones are in our lives. Their love and devotion are unequaled. I believe we will see them again in the Kingdom. In Christ, Tom

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