As I approach another birthday at the end of the month (which is inching closer to the half century mark) I have realized I have softened my heart as I have aged. I don’t know if this is normal or not, but I have always tried to stay open to new ways of thinking and being in the world. When I was young (in my 20’s) I was pretty obstinate in my beliefs. But life has a way of making you change those beliefs so that you can sleep at night.
I think what is surprising is that it is still happening—having a change of heart, I mean. Our son moved back home from the East Coast shortly before Christmas. It was and is hard on him to be away from his son. He has a good job and will be starting to school hopefully next month. He also is a pet lover. When he was younger, if there was a stray in the neighborhood he would want to stop and try to find its owner. As he has gotten older too, he has a special heart for a breed of dog that many communities do not allow (such as ours). Well of course, a friend of his found one such dog along a highway, and yes, he ended up at our house for about 3 days.
And this is what I learned. I too had a not-so-good opinion of this breed of dogs. We had told our son from the very beginning when he decided to come back home he could not bring his dog because they were illegal in our community. Yet, we found ourselves in this quandary. Also we have a smaller dog that we have had since 2007 and knew it would not be in Wesley’s best interest to have the dog here. But all this is not the point. What I learned was that someone somewhere had taken care of this dog. He is not a puppy but not an old dog either, is very active and strong. My son kept him in his room at night and in the garage at night.
I did not come to love this dog but I did get an affinity and an appreciation for why my son loves them so much. I compared it to fostering children. I loved all the children that stayed with us; but for a variety of reasons we could not keep them with us. It is the same with this dog. He was gentle with all of us, would lay at my feet, and put his head on my chest. Yes, this is how I fell in love with our dog, Wesley!
My son made the decision today to take him to the humane society. He knew that he could not devote the time and energy this breed requires and was dreading it because he is convinced the dog will eventually be put down. My heart aches for my son as he did this; because he loved that dog and it is the second time in less than a year that he has had to leave such a pet.
So why am I sharing this? It is because just like people, how dogs are treated is HUGE in their early years and I learned that over the last few days with this dog. Yes, is it part of their nature to be aggressive however, we all have that nature at times.
So, although he is hurting and I am too because of his grief, I am praying he is adopted. And I am thankful to my son for helping me change my heart and grow in compassion to a breed of dogs that are considered very undesirable by most people.