I'm Not His Mother

When my children were young, they always wanted a dog. I tried. Truly I did. We got a Golden Retriever first. He was fine as a puppy but overwhelming as a full-grown dog. We just weren't prepared for him, so we gave him away. Then we tried a small dog from the Humane Society. He was great! My kids played with him and he loved roughhousing with them, but unfortunately and to our dismay, he was overprotective of us––his people––and tried to attack other children who came into our house or car. Not adults. Only children. After he bit the second child, it became too risky for us to keep him, so we gave him away. That one was especially hard on me. I really liked that dog.

At this point, I was done with dogs. No more, please. But my kids begged and my sister-in-law found a great deal on a Maltese (teacup size) in Arkansas. My husband's parents offered to pay part of the cost. Since the deal was too good to pass up––these dogs normally cost much more than we could ever afford to pay for a dog––I gave in.

Photo Credit: Curt Dalaba

We now owned a Maltese and named him Shrimp Scampi officially, but we called him Scampi. The first time I heard my kids say, "Scampi, go to Mommy,"––meaning me––I made it abundantly clear that I am not that dog's mother. This continued for about two years and each time I reminded them that I'm not Scampi's mother. One day, we were all sitting together in the family room when Scampi plopped down in front of me and gave me a look that reminded me so much of how my children gaze at me when they want something. Without thinking, I said, "What's the matter, Scampi? Come to Mommy." Oh. My. Word! You would think I had just announced we were going to Disney World. My family rejoiced! To them, I had finally accepted Scampi as my child.

Animals bring such joy into our lives––countless memories. I have many times thanked God for my pet. What a wonderful gift He gave mankind when God created animals. And I believe it pleases Him when we care for His creation.

"Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel." Proverbs 12:10 ESV

Maltese are supposed to live about 14 to 16 years. It broke our hearts when Scampi died five months before turning ten years of age. The vet told us that Scampi must have been born with a heart defect that was never detected. His heart just gave out. He was my children's childhood pet and he entertained, comforted, and loved them until they were grown. Needless to say, he left a deep void in our hearts. We found comfort in knowing we had given Scampi a wonderful life. He only knew happy days.

This photo was taken five months before Scampi died.

Do you have a much-loved pet? Feel free to leave me a comment about your four-legged family member.


January 19, 2022