Mom, Can’t We Get a Dog, Pleeeease?

Our rescue from the local animal shelter: Sushi, a poodle mix

I was not raised with a dog. Wait — I take that back. The last home we rented in Osaka before immigrating to this country came with a dog. It belonged to the owners who lived next door. The fact that they didn’t want to live with that dog should tell you something. When I was about 7, I went out to feed that dog.  I must have startled him because he bit my hand, causing me to lose any interest in ever becoming a dog owner.

That all changed when our kids began asking for a pet. “Mom, why can’t we get a dog? We promise to take care of it.” I’m sure they meant well, but I also knew that they were only children and that the work would ultimately land on me. I did dogsit my sister’s two yorkies for a few months while she was going through a divorce, and I also took care of a lab-mix named Brit for a friend who was on vacation. These dogs were fun to play with and all, but it was also good to give them back to their owners.

David kept taking the kids to the local animal shelter, looking for dogs to adopt. He grew up in a home with a dog. It was a mutt named Lucky, just like a million other Chinese dogs. His sister Betty was the primary caretaker of the dog, while David mostly played and wrestled with the dog.

Every time they went to the shelter, our kids would find a little dog to fall in love with. They would come home with photos, begging me to let them take it home. I would say no, because I wasn’t ready for a dog. Then they both would cry, and I would feel like a heel. We went through this time and time again, until David decided to stop torturing our kids and quit going to the shelter.

One day, after singing a solo at Saddleback Church, I was in a good mood and decided to go visit the animal shelter with the rest of the family. I’m not really sure what got into me, but I began to feel like life was settling down somewhat and the kids were becoming a little more responsible. For a split second, I thought they might actually be helpful in taking care of the dog.

So we found Sushi.

In the midst of the chaos of barking, yapping, and howling that is the animal shelter, I saw this smallish white dog sitting quietly in his own cage.  I sensed that he had inner peace.

We asked to get a better look at Sushi, so they brought him into a private fenced area. Sushi calmly came in to meet us, but he was mostly interested in playing with the worker who obviously had bonded with Sushi. I was happy to see that he had the capacity to bond with people.

We couldn’t tell exactly what breed Sushi was, but we could tell he had some poodle in him. Basically, he was a mutt. He also wasn’t exactly beautiful, but he was cute…enough.

So we brought him home, got him a good haircut, and began to love on him. And Sushi began to love all of us, but none more than me. I have become his alpha dog.

Just as I had suspected, the kids helped out enthusiastically at first, but as time went on they faded away, and I became the primary dog caregiver. This is okay, because I was prepared for it.

Once, David sighed, “I wish we knew more about Sushi’s background, but he’s adopted.”

“Honey,” I said.  “All dogs are adopted.”  I was reminding him that no human ever gave birth to a dog.  But now, Sushi is definitely a part of our family, and he reminds us everyday that God also adopted us into His family.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonshipthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

- Ephesians 1:4,5


Do you have pets?  Tell me the story behind how you got them!

3 thoughts on “Mom, Can’t We Get a Dog, Pleeeease?

  1. I was about Josh’s age when we bought Buddy from the pet store at Brea Mall. It was after hitting the annual sales and getting me new wardrobe for the season and school I asked my mom to go “look at the puppies”. When my nose and his nose touched, my mom’s thoughts were “uh oh”. And then my mom held the dog (again, she was thinking, “uh oh”). Both of us immediately fell in love with the dog and took him home! Of course, my mom ended up with full responsibility because I had school/homework. And I think having a dog is like having a boot camp personal trainer: can’t take a day off of exercise even on days you’re dead tired!

    Unfortunately Buddy passed away March 2011 and both of us were sad. Come summer time and we were ready to open our hearts for another dog, thus we searched for and found Max…at Cerritos mall…again, responsibility ended up on my mom just because I was living away in Arizona! Though, I do walk him when I’m home…and it’s a good reason to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh COOL air of SoCal.


    • So glad you got Max! I know you can’t eve replace Buddy, but I know it soothes the pain a bit to get another friend.

  2. Our friend’s daughter had an “accidental” litter of puppies. Two stayed with the family, we accepted one after our boys promised to help take care of the dog. Guess who’s the only one to walk the dog everyday (hint, it’s not our boys)?

    By the way, Tomo’s a Pomeranian / Chihuahua mix. Look up the word “yapper” in the dictionary and you’ll see a photo of our dog.