Must Love Dogs

A little dog wagged her tail
and she walked bravely
straight from Texas into my crooked little heart
Though she was tiny
she was mighty
as a catalyst for my growth

when I first met Lola
I did not like dogs
and to be honest I did not particularly like her
She was loud and obnoxious
and excessively needy
I loved my partner
and Miss Lola came as a package deal

Ultimately, I was a cat person
cats are a little more Emersonian to be sure
which is to say; they are self reliant
They really do not need you
save for a feeding now and then
they might want you
but without you they’d probably be fine

My cats existed solely for my good pleasure
I had trained them to cater to my whims
I fed them daily; no fancy foods
And they sat on my lap and purred
stroking my ego all the while
reminding me that I’m a good caretaker
And it didn’t cost me more than showing up

In a career that is hard
in a ministry that is hard
they had appointed roles
My pets have always played their part
They have ministered to the minister

It’s comforting to be a caretaker
of creatures that ask so little
In a profession where people ask too much
where absent strong boundaries
people would take all of you
low key pets that needed low key care
That’s the way I had always wanted it

But my little Lola girl was different
She broke my rigid mold
She broke wide my recalcitrant heart
She had the audacity to need me
She needed me for feeding
She needed me for play
She needed me for bathroom breaks
She needed me constantly
She let me know this too

She depended on me like no little creature ever had before
And my sweet little dog, she refused to apologize
because she knew she was worth every ounce of care

As a woman who had shut the door on having children
to focus on partners, personal growth, and career
Lola encroached upon some off limits places
And tugged at them with her little puppy paws
She looked up at me with big brown eyes
And she gambled that I could reach deeper
and become so much more selfless than I was

The truth is she held all the cards
with her little wet nose,
she gently nudged my shoulder
and she masterfully called my bluff

She laid her chihuahua head against my heart
which began to open up and flower
though Lola was tiny but mighty
like Silverstein’s fabled Giving Tree
she stretched my imagination tall
about who I am and who I can be

In this game of hearts 
It was not a question who would win
she would;
Chihuahuas are notoriously stubborn
I thought she needed me
but truthfully I needed her

With sloppy dog kisses administered like medicine
Lola taught me something new
As part of love’s totality
I don’t just love cats 
one little chihuahua taught me
that I must love dogs now too 

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