When life feeds you crayons …

Published 12:09 am Sunday, October 28, 2018

The lady of the house is getting gray and a little grousey. From her hair to her attitude, things have changed — and not for the better.

She has reason to be upset with me since I kicked her out of the bedroom. I know what you’re thinking, “He shouldn’t be like that, let alone tell everyone about it.”

But she had it coming.

It was simply time for a change.

We still respect and mostly tolerate one another, but the old girl just needed to have a little space of her own.

Since shortly after coming to live with me after we were bonded through marriage Suzy, who was Julie’s dog for several years before I came into the picture, had gravitated toward making her bed in the back our shared closet.

Somehow when we moved into a new house a few years later, the new house had two separate closets in the master bedroom.

Suzy had to choose. At first I was flattered by her choice. I later figured out she realized that my aim was less accurate when I tossed clothes into the hamper, which Suzy viewed as gifts that were to be used as extra bedding, until they were properly placed later. The arrangement worked out well until a few months ago when we realized Suzy’s “accidents” were becoming more frequent and more the norm than the exception.

Eventually, after a late-night session of Resolve and a roll of paper towels, I’d had it. We filed for the doggie equivalent of divorce and Suzy’s bed was moved into a kennel in a tiled room off the kitchen, which allowed for quicker cleaning. My closet has never been cleaner, but Suzy often looks at me with a scorned eye these days.

It’s rough for Suzy all around; it has been for approximately six years ago when our first child, Anna, came onto the scene.

Suzy’s life has been downhill ever since, at least in her mind.

One of my favorite photographs is from the first day we brought Anna home from the hospital. The image is taken from the hallway outside our bedroom. The baby carrier containing our precious gift is resting atop the bed while mom looks on. In the lower right corner an expectant Suzy looks on. She had no idea how much the little creature would change our lives and hers.

We tried to make room for Suzy, but the early days of a new baby are tough and we almost certainly didn’t give her the attention and affection she deserved.

What’s worse, Anna has never really been an animal person, so she and Suzy have a mutual toleration agreement. Neither has much to do with the other and both are content with the arrangement.

Flash forward a few years and when our son, James entered the picture, Suzy had little expectations.

But in the last year, James has surprised Suzy. He’s an animal lover. He throws her food, always wants to share his snack with her and loves when he has a chance to pet her (with supervision because, well, Suzy’s more than 15 years old and may get cranky on him).

James’ caring hand encourages Suzy to try and eat anything he hands to her.

A recent example caused a howl to come from my mouth on a recent backyard clean up trip with the shovel in my hand.

Obviously James had fed a few crayons to Suzy, who trusted her little buddy as knowing what was good for her and she gobbled it down.

The result out the other side was, colorful.

Upon sharing the discovery with Anna, she hollered into the house, “Mom, Suzy pooped rainbow poop.”

It was then that I realized the aging dog was teaching me a valuable lesson.

When life feeds you crayons, make something special out of it, make a rainbow and make someone smile.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.