Feb 11 2013

Loyalty in a Dog’s Eyes

My husband left for the weekend to go skiing. At Okemo, they got two inches of fresh powder. Here in Milford, CT, we got two feet. So here I am, engulfed by mounds of snow, my car merely a huge lump in a sea of white, harboring my three kids and one extra who spent the night and can’t go home. I bundled up the kids, grabbed the snow shovels and opened the door. Hmm. Problem number one- the door is 1/3 covered by snow. Problem number two- the kids take two steps and are collapsing through the crust, their feeble efforts at helping me just adding to my work. They soon flop, roll and plow across the yard toward the buried lawn furniture, and leave me to shovel on my own. At first it isn’t too bad. I am astounded at how deep the snow is, and I count how many shovel fulls it takes just to get to the bottom. But soon, I feel the strain across my shoulders and my arms are getting tired. Time starts to drag, and my progress slows. The kids abandon me and head inside for hot chocolate. I see endless piles of white between me and the car. I have already given up the idea that I will shovel the entire sidewalk (a dream I had when I started this project). By now I only want access to the clinic. I start to get a bit frustrated. Here I am, all alone, struggling to shovel this inanimate beast of white, and I am getting exhausted. I finally reach the clinic and rest on my shovel, a thread of grumpiness weaving its way into my heart.

Then I feel something bump against me and I turn to see Athena, my German Shepard, standing in the path I had just created. She is covered with half melted snow, her eyelashes have icicles and her ears don’t even reach over the edge of the snow drift. She is with me, loyal, steadfast and patient. I have no idea what she is thinking… does she think I am crazy to spend all this effort when the sun will come out in two days and melt it all away? Does she think I am playing some odd human game again and she is trying to figure out the rules? Whatever she thinks, there is no doubt that she is staying with me. Her beautiful brown eyes seem to say “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”

Ruth 1:16-18. I guess that is what loyalty is all about.

Rebecca Saria, DVM

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