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,