“Weeping endureth for a night, but Hobbes cometh in the morning.”
–Psalm 30:5 (Paraphrase)
Two weeks ago our family experienced the tragedy of a dog gone wrong: We gave our pet of three months’ standing back to the breeder after she bit a neighbor boy. Thank you all for your sympathetic response to that blog post. Today I’m delighted to share the next step on our pet journey.
Meet Hobbes, a one-year-old, medium-size lab mix. He’s social, playful and patient, and he loves our big back yard. In just under a week he’s become part of the family. His name is a reference to a certain stuffed tiger from the funny papers, or to Thomas Hobbes the English philosopher, or to Roy Hobbs, the home run hitter from The Natural. It depends on which one of us you ask.
We adopted Hobbes exactly one year after the death of our first dog, Baxter. It’s been a year full of canine lessons at the Tucker house.
- Losing a dog is really, really sad. Pets wiggle their way into our hearts. It’s okay to grieve when they’re no longer with us. But the grief shouldn’t stop us from adopting again when the time is right.
- Not every breed is right for every family. Research was the key to finding the right breed for our family. A little more research might have prevented us from adopting a Belgian Malinois in the first place. Research certainly helped lead us to our mellow Labrador retriever.
- Animal shelters vary in the services they offer. Again, it took some research to find the right one for our family. Wayside Waifs in south Kansas City took wonderful care of us, and of Hobbes while he lived there.
- Dogs cost money. Shelters charge a fee to cover the medical care they’ve already given. If somebody gives you a dog for free, you’ll spend the same amount or more with your own vet. And that’s just the beginning. Over his lifetime, Hobbes will need good dog food, yearly shots, and lots of little accessories like leashes and i.d. tags. A dog is a financial commitment.
- We really are a dog family. Our reaction to losing a dog is to ask, “When can we get another one?” We find challenge and comfort in caring for Man’s Best Friend. May I remember this when it’s shedding season.
Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, is famous for saying, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” I’ve known about the ‘God-shaped vacuum’ for many years, but this week I was surprised to discover a dog-shaped hole in myself, and it was just the right size for Hobbes.