A Dog’s Life



When I was about twelve, I was wandering around Union Square in San Francisco. My mother worked in the city, and my siblings and I would often take the bus in mid-day, have lunch with her and hang out until she got off of work. Obviously, that was a long time ago, as any mother in her right mind today wouldn’t allow her pre-teen kids such freedom. Anyway, I happened into a pet store and my heart melted at the sight of a white and black, long-haired puppy. There was a heart connection with the dog that stayed with me from that day on. I knew better than to even broach the subject of acquiring this puppy with my parents—I was pushing it with a hamster—but I never forgot that dog nor the yearning that took hold.

Fast forward thirty years. While waiting for my car to be serviced in Sacramento, I came upon a third-rate pet store. I found it impossible to pass any pet store that had dogs, still searching for the puppy of my youth. Low and behold, there was a white, fluffy puppy sitting in its crate. “What kind of a dog is it?” I asked the young lady attending to the cages. “Oh, he’s a bichon frise.” She must have caught the longing in my eyes. “I have to clean his cage. You want to hold him?” Well, that’s all it took. It was like the puppy was waiting for just me! As soon as I had his squiggling body in my arms, he nudged my neck with his little, black nose and settled in. This was my puppy—the one I’d searched for my whole life. And yes, I know we’re not supposed to purchase dogs from third-rate pet stores, but it wasn’t his fault he was there.

It didn’t take me long to come up with a name. He had long, flyaway white hair sticking up in all directions, and as a teacher, I needed something scholarly—so, Einstein it was. That pup is ten years old now, and as a rule, he’s pretty mellow. There are only three things that get him riled—our cat (Anastasia), musical cards (that’s a story for another time) and food. Any of those three, and all bets are off. There’s no reasoning with him or controlling him. I’m not too concerned about Anastasia—she loves to tease him, and I don’t think he really wants to catch her. It’s all about the chase. As for the cards, they’ve become a source of entertainment. My son gives them to us just to see Einstein’s reaction. The food’s another issue, but suffice it to say I was able to get him to obey the command “down” within five minutes using a baby carrot.

My husband likes to refer to these issues as Einstein’s sin nature. We all have one, but hopefully, as Christians, ours are tempered by the Holy Spirit. Einstein has no such God guiding him. And when he comes back from a cat chase covered in stickers, he doesn’t remember the consequences (the painful process of sticker removal.) Of course, there are many people with this same issue (forgetting consequences, not the stickers) who have to learn the hard way. Because unless we stay connected to God, we, too, can easily be led astray by that ol’ sin nature.

Ultimately, I see Einstein’s quirks and challenges as a part of who he is, and regardless of my frustration with him at times, he brings me great joy. I imagine God sees us like that, too. At least I hope so.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

4 thoughts on “A Dog’s Life

  1. I love the story about how you got Einstein. I agree he is a great dog. I didn’t know about your cat. What kind is she?

  2. I completely agree as far as getting dogs from a pet store. I know it’s not good ’cause it supports the puppy mills, but I always ache for the poor puppies who have already been kept in poor conditions. It’s hard to find it fair to leave them with no loving home just because of the situation they were born into. It makes deciding whether to pass up the puppy in the store because of where they were born or whether to buy the poor thing a very difficult one to make.

    • P.S. It’s cool to have finally learned how you came up with Einstein’s name. Now that I know, I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out myself sooner!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *