An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Canine Crisis

Pita, our dog with the color and disposition of a golden lab
and the pointed ears of a collie, elicits admiring comments wherever she goes.

“What  kind of dog is she?” we’re often asked—but we don’t know. She was a stray when
we adopted her 5 years ago. She was my idea and George immediately named her
Pain-in-the Ass which I sanitized to the initials. This week, Pita lived up to
her name.

Pita, like many dogs, goes into flight mode at the first
crack of thunder or burst of fireworks. Explosive noises have motivated her to
squeeze her 60 pound body through the slats of our vinyl fence. George
stabilized the fence slats with wire; she worked them loose. He fastened
lattice in front of the fence slats; Pita climbed the lattice and vaulted the
fence. George put chicken wire in front of the lattice; she tore it off with
her teeth.

Sunday morning Pita was missing and the lattice was chewed
off the fence making a passage large enough for her to slip through. Aided by
our daughter and son-in-law, we searched the neighborhood and drove along nearby
highways looking for our pet—or her body. We posted flyers with her picture and
sent out a neighborhood alert about Pita through Relief Society email. We
anguished at the thought of Pita being injured with no one to help her. Would
we ever know what happened to her?

Monday morning George and Aroo visited the animal shelter.
While they were gone, a woman called to say she had our dog. I drove over and
found Pita sitting happily on the lawn with three adoring children. She allowed
me to pet her, but showed no enthusiasm for my presence and had to be dragged
to the car. She exhibited no interest in being home, but was willing to eat
the ground beef I warmed for her. She kept eyeballing the road leading up to the
cool place where she’d found kids to play with. Some gratitude!

I wasn’t consoled that Pita treated George with the same
disdain she’d shown to me. Clearly, she means more to us than we do to her. Or
maybe not. Maybe she’s just having a midlife crisis. In dog years, she is
middle-aged—probably realizing that life is passing her by and there’s a whole
world beyond our backyard and neighborhood walks which she has yet to

Probably, I should be more concerned with my reaction than with
hers. Is my relationship with Pita one of love or ego?


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