Friday, January 17, 2014

52 Weeks of Gratitude, Week Three

(By the way, these are in no particular order! Don't feel like you've been skipped; I have 49 weeks left!)

For Week 3 I pick this guy. This is Taco Bob.

I didn't want a dog. I've never been a dog person, and, if you ask my friends with dogs, they have had to go out of their way to make special arrangements to put their dogs up when I go to their houses because I'm scared of them. When a person on the street is walking their dog, my first inclination isn't to talk about how cute it is, or reach down and pet it. I always felt that no matter how cute the dog might be, I would be the person it would bite.

We had a cat. She wasn't particularly fun, but we didn't need another animal. We were NOT getting a dog.

When our daughter Emily Rose was approaching her 8th birthday, she asked for a gerbil. I gagged just thinking about the potential smells that a gerbil would bring to our small home, and gagged again thinking about what might happen if our old cat 007 got a hold of it.

My husband Tim always felt that kids need dogs -- that it teaches them responsibility, and that it's a great bonding experience for kids. I worried about what a dog would chew on, and dreaded the thought of being the person at happy hour who had to leave early to let the dog out. Why would we want that responsibility when we already had three kids?

Emily Rose talked to Tim about the gerbil. In the conversation, she said, "I'd like to get a gerbil because it would show you that I'm responsible enough to take care of a dog."

This yanked on my heart strings so intensely that I immediately began searching our local animal shelters and adoption services and found Austin Pets Alive, an amazing no-kill non profit run almost entirely by volunteers. Browsing their site, I stumbled onto a picture of a dog named "Patch."

Emily Rose and I went to meet Patch. The foster owner took us to her back patio where Patch waddled around with his siblings. As soon as I picked him up, it was over. The same week, we brought him home. Emily Rose named him Taco Bob.

Austin Pets Alive told us that Patch was a rat terrier/beagle mix. His little body grew into a tell-tale Dachshund hot dog shape. He has weird legs. He licks the couch continuously when he can't find a person to kiss. He goes nuts when Tim puts bacon grease on his dog food. He loves Cheeto cheese puffs, but I'm probably not supposed to admit that I give them to him. He rocks a bow tie like no other dog I've ever seen. And even though he's tiny, he barks when people approach the sidewalk. He's our little protector.

Taco Bob made me a dog person (or at least a lot closer to a dog person than I've ever been). When I travel, I miss him. I love how he greets us like we've been gone a month when we've only been gone an hour. I'm truly grateful that Taco came into our lives, and even more grateful that we never got a gerbil.

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