Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

Lacey joins household

One of my son’s Christmas wishes was pushed aside several times.

He wanted a dog, particularly an inside one.

I would not give in.

I grew up with dogs, the outside version. We lived in the country, 12 miles from the nearest town of Hamilton, Ala.

Our problem was our house was adjacent to a busy Highway 278, and they often wandered to the road.

One of my favorite dogs never went to the highway. Then one day it was killed near a bridge about a quarter of a mile from our house. I cried and cried.

It seemed we would always grow close to each dog, and then it would get killed.

Pam, on the other hand, had inside dogs growing up.

And guess who gave in after our marriage?

While in our first house in Fulton, we got a Scottish Terrier named Baxter. We later gave him away after Emma was born because he was a bit too aggressive around the baby. Baxter also chewed on the legs of our kitchen table and other things around the house.

For several years thereafter our only pets were hermit crabs we picked up during vacations to the Gulf Coast.

We tried a dog once in Aberdeen. I picked Molly up at the shelter in Amory. We attempted to house train her. That one didn’t work out. I took her back to the pound.

Later in Laurel we bought a dachshund and named him Baxter, too. We had some difficulty house training him. But we stuck with it, somewhat successful this time around, even though Baxter practically dug a hole in our utility room floor.

Then came the move to Holly Springs and the rental house, so we gave Baxter to my mom. She kept him outside in a pen until his death at a young age a few years back due to some rare health problems.

Andy has wanted another dog ever since. But his request really picked up prior to the Christmas holidays (2005). A dog was just one of a few things he really, really wanted. And he told us over and over and over.

I fought it, but at the same time I kept an eye out for one already house trained. I did not want a puppy.

Christmas came, and there was no dog under the tree.

The family had pretty much come to figure that Dad had decided to put his foot down and say no to any addition to the already hectic Burleson household.

What they didn’t know was that I was still searching, sort of behind the scenes.

Then just before the New Year, one particular newspaper advertisement caught my eye – 3-year-old dalmation, house trained, great with children.

Pam made the call. I still wasn’t sure.

On New Year’s Day, Pam, Emma, Andy and Erin made a drive to Germantown to see the dog. Being hesitant, I put the decision in their hands.

No surprise, they came home with Lacey on the afternoon of January 1, 2006.

A dog as tall as our 4-year-old on the inside? Yes.

It has been more than three weeks now, and she has truly adapted well to her new home, and we’ve become accustomed, too. To be quite honest, and I never thought I would say it, she’s the perfect dog.

She likes to run and catch the Frisbee. She obeys on command. She never barks. She’s gentle and loving. She never uses the bathroom inside. She doesn’t gnaw on things. She eats just twice a day and sleeps most of the time.

You really never know she’s around.

I gave in to Pam and the children, as usual, and at least at this stage, I’m glad I did.

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