Our family got a dog.
This winter we registered with a pet rescue organization and then about six weeks ago we welcomed Minnie into our family. She’s a two year old Airedale terrier. She is very sweet, very energetic, and eats absolutely everything. Shoes. Plastic wrappers. Stuffed animals. Pencils are her favourite. But for all the extra work a dog brings (like sweeping up pencil shards, for instance) she has also opened my eyes to beauty I would have otherwise missed.
Since I now take Minnie on long walks, I am getting to know the streets around our new house. As we make our way into cul-de-sacs and follow the walking trails (what a blessing our community was built with so many!) I am discovering new neighbourhoods, new parkettes, and houses with some very pretty gardens out front. If I was driving the car instead of walking the dog, I would never have found them.
Those walks are also giving me the time and opportunity to see what is growing near my house. One day last week while walking the Sixteen Mile Creek trail, I revelled in the lovely swaths of white trillium growing on the forest floor. Although it is our provincial flower, they are not easily spotted. They bloom in early spring but many of us don’t get outside until the weather warms up . Without Minnie I would have missed them.
And then there were the toad lilies I found growing along the trail near our house. I exclaimed out loud when I saw them, and smiled because they reminded me of my daughter E. A few years ago we had a great time doing a school project on local wildflowers and learned about them through her research. We only saw them in photographs, but here there are growing right next door! Without Minnie I would have missed those, too.
But Minnie has done more than introduce me to the local flora. She has also been the catalyst for smiles and conversations that I never would have had otherwise. There is the nice man who has a welsh terrier, the neighbour with an Australian shepherd/poodle mix and the young girl with a golden lab who apologized when her dog growled at mine. Somehow, with a dog to walk I have been welcomed into a new community that was not available to me before Minnie.
Minnie is still a crazy dog who jumps up on strangers with deranged enthusiasm. And I hate that she eats anything left unattended (yesterday it was an entire bag of coloured sprinkles. That should make her poop exciting!) But I am so pleased that our desire to welcome a homeless dog is bringing unexpected blessings to me and to our family.
Hospitality–especially the risky kind–is like that.