Some Days are More Blessed than Others

Um, you should not be on the chair!!!

I arrived a little early and realized that I should have put the gentle leader on Lila before I left the house. I forgot how much she can pull me when she doesn’t have it on. Lila saw all the people and dogs standing up on the little knoll waiting for the priest to arrive. We jogged over to be among the crowd. (Jogging was Lila’s idea.) Lila greeted some of the other dogs, and calmed down for a little bit. It’s funny how she gravitates towards dogs that look just like her. An older set of black labs could not see what Lila was so excited about.

When Father arrived, Lila decided it would be a good time to make a wild dash towards the planter that decorates the side of the entrance to the church. I wasn’t prepared and got a little gash in my hand from trying to hold her back. If only she had her gentle leader. When we got to the planter, I didn’t see what the big attraction was.

“Come, Lila,” I said.

“Oh, she listens,” said Father. Everyone seemed to be pleased about that, and I heard a few of their chuckles.

We went back to our spot, and I noticed that our cousin, Laura, and her two dogs, Choco and Mortie, had arrived.

“Thank you for inviting us,” said Laura with a hug. I was happy to meet little Mortie. Laura and Paul adopted him the day before from the Animal Humane Society. Laura talked about how great their experience was there. They had been looking for a dog on the website for a couple of weeks, and found Mortie’s picture, went to take a look, and now they have an addition to their family!

“This is Choco’s first blessing too,” said Laura.

“I brought Music to be blessed a long time ago. I didn’t think Father had blessings for the animals any more, but then I heard about it at church this morning. I knew I had to bring Lila,” I said. Music, our first dog, was the type of dog that growled and snapped at other dogs. Music seemed calmer than usual at her blessing, and after she was splashed with the holy water, she relaxed even more. When I heard about the blessing that was coming up, I knew I had to bring Lila.

Father started the ceremony in honor of St. Francis, and Lila was more excited than calm. Lila stayed close by but wandered about to get a few more good sniffs here and there and jumped up randomly for no reason.

A young girl recited a reading, and Father talked about what a blessing it is to have pets in our lives and how God trusts us to take care of them. We prayed our pets would stay healthy, be protected from harm, and we said the “Our Father” together. Everyone spread out to make more of a circle, when Father got ready to bless the animals. I didn’t get splashed with the holy water, but I hoped Lila did.

After the blessings were over, Laura and I chatted a little while longer. It was nice to learn that Mortie and Choco are getting along pretty well, and Laura reported that Mortie appears to be house trained, which is a blessing too!

I was glad that Lila was excited to be blessed even though she hasn’t changed a bit. Going to the blessing was a good reminder of how I feel blessed to have Lila in our lives even though some days are more blessed than others!


Northern Minnesota Dog Moves to The Suburbs

All our family knows about Lila’s past life is that she came to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley from a coalition shelter up in northern Minnesota.  I was surprised that we couldn’t learn more about Lila’s background.  I didn’t really think there would be much difference in a dog that came from northern Minnesota.

As we were leaving the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society on the day of Lila’s adoption, Lila jumped back when see saw the large, bronze statue of St. Francis.  St. Francis welcomes visitors with one hand outstretched towards a bronze dog with a bronze bird perched on his shoulder.  Lila relaxed and the bounce returned to her step when she realized that the looming statue was not alive.  We decided that this was Lila’s first encounter with a large statue either in or outside of northern Minnesota.

When we opened the door to our mini-van, we expected Lila to hop right in and find a comfortable seat, but she would not budge.  We pushed her rear, we snapped our fingers in front of her face, we talked in very sweet voices, but she would not move one inch.  My daughter, Laura, lifted Lila up and placed all 60 pounds of dog behind the front passenger’s seat.  As we drove away, Lila stood on the floor of the van and looked out the side window occasionally.  Lila was not intrigued by the passing scenery but was mostly trying to concentrate on which leg to stand on so that she would not fall over in the moving vehicle.  We decided that Lila was not a dog that got to go for rides in northern Minnesota.

After arriving home, Lila christened our front yard with a big surprise that we were glad did not happen inside the house.   When we took her for a walk, she looked up at the airplanes that flew overhead as if she had never seen such a thing before.  She also watched each car as it drove by.  I like to watch her ears as they twitch at each different sound.  We decided that there were many new sounds for Lila to get used to now that she doesn’t live in northern Minnesota.

As we were getting ready for bed, we thought Lila would want to be with the rest of the family during the night and join us upstairs.  Some silly suburban dwellers let dogs sleep in their bedrooms.  When Laura went upstairs, Lila got confused and went to look down the basement steps to see if she could find Laura there.  We tried to get Lila to climb the steps, but we soon realized that stairs were something she never tackled before.  Again all our cajoling did not work, and Lila slept on the main floor that first night, and she still sleeps there today.  We decided that Lila is used to sleeping alone because that is what she must have done when she lived in northern Minnesota.

When there was a thunderstorm, Lila stood next to the house and appeared to have a knowing look on her face like she knew that thunderstorms are something that just happen and there is nothing that can be done to stop them.  She didn’t get scared and want to be in the house like some dogs do.  We decided that she was used to being outside during storms when she lived in northern Minnesota.

We were so excited to get to know our dog, and we were anxiously awaiting to become better friends.  Since Lila developed kennel cough a few days after she came home, she was very lethargic and rested for many days.  She did not want to play or go for long walks with us.  When we got her to stay outside for a little bit, we thought it was a little strange that she liked to sit on or hide under the bushes.  We decided that Lila took naps in bushes when she lived in northern Minnesota.

When we give her little milkbone treats, she happily eats some of them and then hides the others.  We can tell that she is going to bury a bone when she just holds the bone in her mouth with a very serious and intent look on her face.  After making it known that she needs to go outside, Lila very carefully digs a hole, places the bone inside, and covers up the hole with the top of her nose.  She is very neat with her method of burying bones.  So neat, that we have not seen her retrieve any of them.  We decided that Lila used this trick when she lived in northern Minnesota.

The first time Lila noticed her reflection in a mirror, she barked at what she thought was another dog.  It seems as if the television is a new invention to her also.  We decided that Lila spent most of her time outside when she lived in northern Minnesota.

I wonder does she miss where she used to live?  Did she get to be off her leash all the time and wander about northern Minnesota?  Did she have her own dog house to hang out in?  Were there other animals around her there?  Does she wonder why we put her on a leash and tie her up all the time?  Does she wonder why we go with her when she does her daily duties, and why we always carry around plastic bags?

We decided that Lila likes this new beginning, and all the love she is getting, even though she is no longer living in northern Minnesota.

This is part of the Saturday morning blog hop.  To link up to other blog posts, click here.