Thursday, June 8, 2006


Our family recently added a new member to our fold and our lives have been turned upside down—literally. Pippin is the new family dog, an Australian Shepherd mix, who was eight weeks old when she came to live with us in April. It did not take long for Pippin to wiggle her way into our hearts, but we forgot how much work a puppy can actually be.

Since we lost Pebbles at the first of the year, our life has had a small void we had not been able to fill. We did not want to jump right into having another dog, so Christine had been researching dog breeds to try and find the perfect dog for our family. She had narrowed her choices down to a Chow or an Australian Shepherd; they are supposed to be excellent family dogs. Christine was adamant that she wanted a larger dog, like Pebbles was. She loves her Nana and Papa’s Yorkie—Tyler—and her cousin Ethan’s dauchsand—Ellie—Christine had her heart set on a dog that could run with her in the yard and go on long walks.

My main requirement for a dog was one that was easily house-broken and would be a great guard dog. I always felt safe at home alone with Pebbles, because she was alert to strangers and anything out of the ordinary. I think Keith’s main requirement was to have a dog that was easily trainable and would come whenever he would whistle. Even though our hearts ached for Pebbles, we wanted to take our time before jumping in with a new dog.

That is, until one weekday when I was home alone and I received a terrible scare. I had worked nine days in a row with no days off, so I was spending my only day off cleaning house. It was late afternoon on a Wednesday and I was up on the step ladder cleaning out the top cabinets in my kitchen, when the doorbell rang. Since I’m not used to having company during the week, I couldn’t imagine who could be at the door. I climbed down off the ladder and brushed my hands on my dirty house-cleaning clothes as I walked to the front door.

When I opened the door, my stomach knotted up and I had a hundred thoughts go through my head—all in the matter of two or three seconds. The person at my door was someone from my sister’s past, and definitely not the person I wanted to see at my door. I went from shock to terror to hysteria all in the matter of those few seconds. I didn’t know if this person had a gun or knife—I thought he was going to kill me. My brain could not comprehend that this person had the nerve to show up at my house. I had the screen door locked and I was screaming at this person to get away from me and my house. I was in a state of panic and all I could keep thinking was that if Pebbles were still alive, she would have torn into him. Pebbles never did like this person and she had scared him away from the house several times over the past few years.

The man did leave without causing any problems, but I was still hysterical. I ran around the house to make sure all the doors and windows were locked, and it took me two tries to finally dial Keith’s phone number. He was able to calm me down slightly on the phone—at least I was able to talk without crying when we finally hung up the phone. It was time for Christine to be getting home from school, so I drove my car to the bus stop because I was afraid for her to walk the short distance to our home. Once she was in the car safely, we went to my mom’s to spend the rest of the afternoon. When we left mom’s house, I took Christine to the Mercer Public Library and she checked out two books—one on Chows and one on Australian Shepherds.

I truly believe in Divine intervention and if God wants something to happen for a family then everything will fall into place. I think God knew how scared I was without a guard dog, so he set a series of things into motion. Number one, the books Christine checked out of the library. Number two, the next day, I got to watch the Noon News while eating lunch and WLEX always has a dog from the Humane Society at the end of the 12:30. Guess what kind of dog was featured on this particular day? An Australia Shepherd puppy. During that one moment, I realized that God was pointing out the next Rightmyer dog. I immediately called Keith at work, but as luck would have it, he was not at the TV station to see the puppy. He did call the Humane Society and found out that out of a litter of eight, they had four of the puppies ready for adoption. Even though Keith had to jump through a bunch of hoops that day, God seemed to be lending a hand because each time Keith thought the puppy adoption would not go through, another option would present itself.

So, twenty four hours after the scare of my life, our family was the proud owner of a new puppy. I know it will be a year or more before Pippin will become a guard dog, just having another dog in the house already makes me feel at ease. Christine has taken over the main duties of caring for and training up Pippin, but Keith and I still have to “baby-sit” because we all forgot how much energy a little puppy can have.

As the three of us get used to sharing our home with our new four legged friend, there are three other members of our home that are having a little more difficulty adjusting. Mudball and—Earl or Frankie, depending on if you’re talking to Keith or Christine—are our two male cats, who are brothers that turned a year old in April. They are adjusting more smoothly than our older cat, Sassy. She has been the rule of the roost and it takes her much longer to warm up to new people, or in our case, a new pet. For the first two weeks, Sassy spent most of her days in the bathroom, hiding from the world. She would only venture out after Pippin had gone to bed with Christine.

A new puppy in the house, maybe we are crazy, but I like to think that it was Divine intervention. God seemed to know that there was something missing in our lives and our home. Christine now has a new best friend and we have a guard dog in training. All is right with the world, but if you’ll excuse me, Pippin is chewing on my work shoes again.

© Bobbi Rightmyer, June 2006