What My Dog is Teaching Me About Sacrifice

Has anyone seen that old SNL video where the couple gets a baby in order to prepare having a dog one day? I tried to search for the video but gave up after sifting through SNL clips for ten minutes. But it’s a hilarious video, and a spoof on people who get dogs to prepare for having a kid. I was reminded of that video because our little Leia is slowly teaching me the sacrifices of parenting.

Yesterday J and I arrived home after work at the same time, which rarely happens. We both walked through the door and were instantly met with the most foul, putrid smell. My heart sank. Leia. I ran to our bedroom to see our sweet girl in her crate filled with diarrhea. I had no idea how long she had been sitting there (dear Lord, let it have happened just an hour ago!), and before I thought twice about it, I opened the crate to get her out of her misery (which, in retrospect, was probably the worst idea considering both J and I had on nice clothes and didn’t have her leash handy. She ran around the apartment and jumped on our bed).

J took her for a walk while I cleaned up the mess. And y’all? It was gross. And smelly. I changed my clothes and spent the next hour cleaning her crate, our carpet, our duvet comforter, and scrubbing her in a warm bath. The whole time I felt so guilty that we hadn’t been there to help her and so sorry that she had spent the day in this mess.

As I was cleaning up the mess, I was surprised to realize how selfless my thoughts were. (Yes, selfless thoughts shock me.) I was knee deep in a poopy bath getting sprayed by my wet dog, and instead of complaining I was concerned. I know I should think of her — but so often in those circumstances I think of myself and the inconvenience it causes me.

Ahhh, so this is what parenting is. Caring so much for someone that you don’t mind doing the messy tasks. When it’s a delight to serve and care for them.

I feel anxious about parenting one day because of all the sacrifice it will require. But if I feel selfless sacrifice overflowing from the love I have for my dog, how much more will I feel towards my own children? Hebrews 12:2 came to mind, where it describes Jesus who for the joy set before him endured the cross. For the joy, the delight of having me as a daughter, endured the cross and made the ultimate sacrifice.

How great is the Father’s love for us.

leia

PS – I know there’s a whole host of mothers who deal with messy situations on a daily, almost hourly basis. Kuddos to you women!

PPS – Leia is feeling much better, I think. We are monitoring her on webcam today to see if she has any more accidents and can come home to take care of her, if she does.

PPPS – For the record, I’m not pregnant. :)

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  • poor pup! It surprises me when I get concerned about our pooch too. Lately, the cold has me worrying more than usual about him (he’s super skinny and refuses to wear a sweater or anything). I totally get how it prepares you for children and sometimes I can’t even imagine how my heart will break for them.

  • I also get very concerned about my dogs, although that does not surprise me. I don’t plan on having kids and they are the surrogates for whatever maternal instinct I have. I am happy for your dog, he has loving owners and I hope you are able to keep him forever. I think SNL skit sounds hilarious and really resonates with me as I am very much against people who get pets as “practice” for kids. For two reasons:
    1) Pets should not be disposable. They are a commitment, and should be for life (theirs or ours). In fact, I have already made arrangements for their care should something happen to me so they don’t end up in a shelter. Everyone should have wills no matter what their age.
    2) Babies and kids take a lot of time and attention, meaning less for pets and the pets may not adjust well (goodbye pet, hello shelter), they may end up being allergic (goodbye pet, hello shelter), the pets may not be able to handle small children due to temperament but were fine with adults (again, goodbye pet, hello shelter).

    Please, please, encourage readers to never get pets as “practice”.

  • Aw! We had this happen to our puppy too – we crate two dogs together and the one who made the mess got out and left her brother sitting in her muck.

    it was bad.

    We felt awful for leaving her at home sick – even though we didn’t know how sick she was.

  • Love your last comment. Just had to set the record straight (haha). Poor Leia. Believe me, it won’t be the last time you come home to poop in the crate. One of the joys that comes along with dog-ownerness. Brian and I have been talking a lot lately about how much we love our puppy already only 8 months in. Using that as a comparison, I can only imagine how much I will love a child. Hurts my heart.

  • I agree with you wholeheartedly and don’t think people should get pets as practice for children. I also think a lot of people dispose of their pets prematurely because of behavioral issues or because it doesn’t fit in the comfort of their home. Thanks so much for your comment!