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"All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful:
the Lord God made them all."
-Cecil Frances Alexander
from All Things Bright and Beautiful
Cats are interesting creatures. I love their individual personalities and the "I will, but only because I want to," mentality they project. There's something comforting about a cat curling up on my lap in the evenings.
So when our friend Gail's neighbor knocked on her door with a puppy in her arms and said, "My mother won't let me keep her, but Gail said you might be willing to take her," my first reaction was, "Are you kidding? No thank you!" Then I glared at Gail, who had quite obviously set us up for this "unexpected" visit.
I've had dogs before. And I've loved them. But it's been a year since our cocker spaniel Lightning was hit by a car and killed, and, while I've missed him, I'll admit I've not missed the responsibilities that come with owning a dog.
While I was saying my peace, however, little did I know my husband was falling in love behind my back. When I turned around, there was this adorable black and white puppy with the most soulful eyes cuddled against my husband's chest.
And then she licked his cheek.
>Instead of immediately echoing my "No thank you," Bill wiped off his cheek and said, "Well, aren't you a cutie." We learned she was a 5-week-old border collie and Labrador mix called a "Borador." And since no one wanted her she was going to have to be taken to the animal shelter, where she would likely be euthanized.
Just the thought of that sweet baby being taken away caused Bill's arms to tighten around her. "What do you think?" he asked. "Would the kids like her?"
We agreed we'd at least talk about it over dinner. Later, as we sat across the table from Gail, talk about "the puppy" soon turned to a discussion of "Maggie." A phone call to our eldest son brought the response that got me: "Well, Momma, nothing could ever replace Lightning, but I think we could find room for her."
So, after a promise to me that he would get up with her and have the major responsibility for her care, Bill suggested we take her home.
Then he threw in the kicker: "If you let me ... umm, us ... keep her, you can take back all my Christmas presents. This is all I need."
So instead of a trip to the mall to finish our Christmas shopping, our Saturday evening turned into a search for puppy supplies.
And now it's back to house training and vet bills once again. Darned if she isn't the cutest puppy I've ever seen.
Yeah, she licked my cheek, too.
"God gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well."