Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Andy The Wonder Dog?

Meet Andy The Wonder Dog.  He really is~he's the greatest dog ever known to mankind.  Seriously.  All this coming from a non~dog person, such as myself.  I took this picture right after we got him, which will be 5 years ago this coming May. 

Did I ever tell you how we got him?

Todd had been BEGGING, and I do mean begging for a dog ever since...well, forever.  We were at church on a Wednesday night, and I was coming out of choir practice and ran {literally} into Todd.  "Do you want a dog?", he asked.

I probably said something really sarcastic, like, "Now??"

To make a long story short, there was this lady we went to church with who had been given a dog.  Being a single mom of three, with 2 cats and a dog of her own, Andy {as he was already named} was too much for her.  She was giving him away free to a good home.

Andy was already housebroken.  He was 3 years old {a.k.a. NOT a puppy}, kennel trained and had successfully completed obedience school.  {Well, I say "obedience school" very lightly.  Because half the time, the dog just does whatever he wants to.  Occasionally he will obey and make us feel good about ourselves.}


Can you hear my heart melting?

I agreed to the dog.

Yup.  Me.  Who likes cats, not dogs.  Who, I didn't want to admit at the time, was a little fearful of dogs.  Especially big dogs.  Because I'd been chased by some and been scared half to death by as a little girl.  Who had never owned one personally.

Well, let me stop right here.  The dog has to be an inside dog for me to count "owning" a dog.  Not an outside one.  We had an outside dog when I was young, and while he was great, it's just not the same. 

So, I totally gave in to my husband, being the bossy SUBMISSIVE wife that I am.  {Please don't come and strike me, Mr. Lightning Bolt.}  And for your information, I am working on the submissive thing.  Have been since the day I married dear, sweet Toddley.  Even though I may have laughed through that part of our vows.  Seriously, I was laughing so hard you could see my veil shake.

Anyway, back to the reason for this story.  The one thing that caught us off guard about Andy was his size.  Todd told me he was big.  That was how he was described.  What our dear friend from church left out was that he was not merely big, he was more like the size of a small pony.  Not really, but it's fun to imagine.

Todd picked him up and called me when he got him.

Me: "Do you have him?  What's he like?"

Todd:  "Yup, I got him.  He's um...well...he's BIG."

Me:  "Really?  How big?"

Todd:  "He's just BIG."

Big was defined as a 130 pound black mass of the most amazing dog to have ever been born.  A ferocious bark me might have, but a bite?  Well, come visit us at 1am unannounced and I'll let YOU be the judge of that.

Andy was nervous around us at first, but he quickly wormed his way right into the center of our hearts.  Even mine, the former cat lady.  Yes, I still love cats, but in our house the animals all get along.  Well.  Most of the time.

We quickly got Andy out of the kennel~we had a "guard dog", so what good would he do us if someone broke into our house and he was locked up in a crate?  He came to love "bedtime" each night, especially when it involved Drew and a nice game of "chase".  

Andy doesn't jump on furniture or people.  He doesn't snatch food away from you and he most certainly does not beg.  He only barks at every third car, and as big as he is, he is every bit the 'fraidy cat.  He is deathly terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks.

He loves his boys and his mama.  When I cook dinner at night, he watches from a few feet away, ever hopeful for a dropped something or other.  He lays in the kitchen while we eat dinner and he hangs out with us in the living room after.  He goes to bed with the boys each night and when he's satisfied they're all tucked in and sleeping soundly, he joins us downstairs.  When I go to bed, he comes with me.  When I'm gone, he stays upstairs.  He loves wholly and completely. 

I am smitten.

The reason for this post?  Andy has been limping today.  Being as big as he is, I'm scared it's his hip{s}.  I hope not.  It's not something in his paws~Todd felt all around, and there was no sign of pain.  We called our friend who is a vet, and he thinks Andy may have arthritis.  Which means that he doesn't jump up quite so fast.  It also means he may not always be able to go to school with us every morning.  :(  The sad face because that is his most favorite thing in the world, going for a ride.  So much so that we can't even say the word "RIDE" or "GO".

I was trying to coax him into the back of the 'burban this morning, and I didn't think he was going to make it up.  It was absolutely pitiful, and I was reduced to a puddle of tears.  And have been the rest of the day.  I cried on Mom's shoulder when she was here earlier.  And through preparing dinner.  And in the bathroom, where I was forced to hide because the tears wouldn't stop.

I hope it is arthritis and nothing serious.  As pitiful as arthritis is.  I know this is just the circle of life and all that, but come ON.  I feel like I'm living out Marley & Me.  I never would have thought that I would love a non~person this much.

To top all this off, Andy keeps on looking at me so pitifully with his big 'ol eyes.  Even Mom saw it, and she was kinda teary.  It was the saddest thing.  I don't know what I will do when his day comes to leave us.  Forget the boys {DREW, I should say}, I don't know if I'll be able to handle it.  I love animals.  Especially MY animals. As does my sweet Drew.


I know nothing can be done about all this, I'm just explaining some of the madness I've experienced all day.  I've cried so much that my eyes feel all squinty and my head hurts.  Andy's going to see the doc first thing in the morning.  To get him checked out, but also to get his teeth cleaned and to be groomed.  He will be loved on and well taken care of.  And hopefully we'll be told we have a few more years to enjoy this awesome beast of an animal. {He's 8, did I mention that?}

Thanks for the listening ears/reading eyes.  It feels better to have vented a little about all this.

If you have a dog, go love on him for me.  In honor of my sweet Andy the Wonder Dog.


Tater Mama said...

We have 4 labs. I just gave all of them big belly rubs though big ol' tears. Remind me to give you a big hug tomorrow. And please give Andy some love from a serious dog lover!

all4boys said...

4?!?!?! Holy cow, woman. I sometimes don't know what to do with my ONE!! You better not hug me or I'll cry!! I don't even like to talk about in person or think about it, or my eyes fill up. I'm ridiculously attached to this baby. I will!!! Thanks!

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