I Want To Be A Fire Dog When I Grow Up

Dear World,

“When I grow up I want to be a fire dog.” Yes that is a real quote and sadly it is not mine. When my brother Tom was a little older than Jacob is now, he said this famous line. At the time I can remember laughing hysterically and teasing him about his dream. Of course he could never grow up to be a fire dog! It just isn’t possible. I think we still bring up this famous quote from time to time just to give Tom a hard time, but as I scratched Rascal’s ears today, I wondered what it would be like if we were a little more like our furry companions.

I think about the addition that Rascal has been to our lives. I had graduated from the Art Institute in March of 2004, got a new apartment all by myself (like a big girl), and then went out and got a dog. I can remember the shelter that we rescued him from. He was so tiny that he was in the cat kennels. They put him on the floor and he was bouncing around so excited!

I can remember that I was wearing a pair of beat up flip flops that were held together with a safety pin and Rascal went right for the pin. He put his little puppy teeth on the pin and just tugged. I think it was this that sold me on him. So we left the shelter with this little guy.

Brian was with me and we went back and forth with some names on the ride home. None of them seemed to fit until we pulled into the parking lot of the pet store. “How about Rascal?” That was his name from that point on. It fit him too because he sure did prove to be a little rascal!

He has definitely done his share of damage. He destroyed carpet in my apartment along with molding and also completely chewed my couch down to the wood frames. Yes he was a handful as a pup.

Now that Rascal is getting older he has slowed down a bit. He still has that playful zip to him but it is just spaced out between napping, drinking out of the toilet, and chewing up toys that the kids leave on the floor.

So today as I pet this furry friend of many years, I started to think about how wonderful this dog has been to me and my family. We have had our share of fights and always did he turn to me with a wagging tail. He has never held anything against me for longer than a second.

Dogs are so different from people. Obviously…. I know. But really, think about it. I have stepped on Rascal, the kids have pulled every part of him that they can get their hands on. We have locked him in the basement while we left for work, banned him from sitting on anything other than the hard floor, tripped over him, pushed him out of the way, yelled at him and as I list all of this I think we have tortured him. Through it all though, he has remained loyal to us and every bit as loving today as he was the first day that he came home.

Imagine if a person could do the same. Take all of the terrible things that someone does or says to you and just forget it instantly. Look at them with a smile as if you had already forgotten. How amazing would that be?

Think of how wonderful it would be if people were even a tiny bit as loyal as a  dog. Trust me, I don’t pet Rascal as often as I should. I can list a million reasons why and none of them would be any good. I just put it so low on my list of things to do that it rarely gets done. That said he never holds it against me. Thankfully! Today as I pet him, I realized that he is always waiting patiently for his turn to get some love. He doesn’t hold my business against me even though he probably should.

Rascal is also a protective dog. I can remember Brian and I would laugh when we first brought him home. Brian would growl and wave his fist in my direction and Rascal would leap to stop Brian. No matter how many times we did it, Rascal was always poised and ready to protect.

Imagine if we had a person just like that. Knowing that no matter when or where you are, there is someone poised and ready to attack on your behalf. So many people say that they have your back but when times get tough how many really do? Not with a dog though, they have your back and will die sometimes just to protect you.

I don’t know, I think that Tom had the right idea. Maybe we all should be more like dogs. Forgiving of so much, loyal and protecting… it makes Rascal sound like some kind of super dog! And as far as being a fire dog, well I guess it would be even better because you can ride in the fire truck!



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