On several occasions I have written about the life and spiritual lessons that I have learned from my faithful dog, Mochi. While I continue to enjoy and learn from her, there is another dog in the house who I would like to introduce to you. World, meet Zimba.
On one particular September Saturday, a box of puppies was left at the vet clinic doorstep. As I peered into the box, 3 pairs of pleading eyes gazed up at me. Their skin was stretched so tightly over their tiny bodies that I could count the ridges on their spine. They were lying in feces and vomit; their fragile bodies covered in sores from fleas and ticks feasting on them. Two of the puppies were beyond help and we euthanized them later that day. However, there was one little guy who was determined to live.
Due to Zimba’s small size and fragile state it was difficult to estimate his breed and future size, but we predicted he was a small terrier mix. He seemed grateful to be alive, eager to please, and quick to learn. Within a few days he learned how to sit and quickly understood that he needed to be quiet when he was in his kennel. He didn’t drool and rarely barked. He quickly bonded to Mochi, though she was not thrilled with the idea. I wonder if she is now…
Four months and 50 pounds later Zimba is a long, lanky, headstrong lug. He chews his way through life, running over whatever he can’t carry in his mouth. He falls over when he lifts his leg to pee. Stepping onto the bed or onto the lap of someone sitting on the couch is something he accomplishes with ease and doesn’t think twice about barrelling into the leg of the unfortunate person in his path. He walks through screen doors; sticks his entire head underwater to retrieve a rock; barks at reflections in the window; considers Mochi’s head the most comfortable seat in the house; and tackles the cats. But he never means to be intentionally naughty.
I have worked as a vet technician for 8.5 years. I interned with two large animal vets, handling horses and cattle. I raised a male golden retriever and a female pit bull. I have never encountered an entity quite like Zimba. My initial reaction would be to give up and get rid of him, but I believe that deep inside that clutzy, obstinate body is the heart of a very good dog. I have learned that sometimes God gives His greatest gifts in packages that are the most difficult to unwrap. Perhaps Zimba is Christmas and my birthday combined…for the next 10 years.