Many children’s books are filled with talking animals or stories about animals. Animals are a big part of our lives. Astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross says some animals are “soulish”, meaning they are capable of interacting with people on more of an emotional/relational level. That explains why you can cuddle up with your cat, but not so much a cougar! In some of the books of the Bible that were left out of our version – those “forbidden” books – before Adam and Eve got kicked out of the garden, the animals could actually talk! Interesting! Maybe our books with talking animals aren’t so far fetched!
Many of the stories we tell are based on beloved family pets. In this month’s blogs, I want to tell you about the dogs Bill and I have shared our life with. Lots of stories here! We’ll begin with Sherman ...
Sherman was a saint bernard/german shepherd mix. Beautiful markings and honey coloring like the bernard, and short haired like the shepherd. Big dog. LOTS of energy!
If you know much about the civil war and a certain General William T. Sherman and what he did in Atlanta ... well, you can probably guess why our pup bore his name. If you don’t know, go watch Gone With the Wind again.
We owned our first home in southeast Atlanta on Woodland Avenue from 1976-1985. A small 1800 sq. ft. bungalow sitting on a double wide lot. We were on a corner lot facing Woodland and had a dirt road beside us that you could scoot up to the next street over. With lots of space, pecan trees, a screened in front porch with rockers and a swing, and a big fenced in backyard. A perfect backyard for a dog.
For brevity’s sake, I’ll just highlight some of the more shining moments in Sherman’s life:
- At the time, Bill had a Datsun 240Z car. I drove a Datsun 310. Sherman loved these cars. So much in fact that he proceeded to remove all those annoying emblems on both cars. Who needs those anyway? The 310 also had lots of rubber on the bumpers and side moldings ... all chewed and gnawed until about shredded. When I see the T-Rex in Jurassic Park chomping the tires in the overturned jeep, I think about Sherman. Luckily, Sherman didn’t bite tires!
- We lived across the street from our Pastor and his teenage boys. The boys were great at taking time to feed and tend to the dog whenever we went away for a few days or a week. Once, someone left the gate open and Sherman escaped! They chased him down Woodland and were horrified to see a compact car run him over!! The driver got out, mad and fuming about the damage to his car. They jacked the car up to get it off the dog, and Sherman jumped up and ran back home, not seemingly hurt at all! We would’ve offered to repair the guy’s car, but nobody got his info! It must’ve really rattled Sherman however, because he never ran away again.
- I decided to take Sherman to obedience school. But we dropped out. Because on the way to class one evening, sitting in the 240Z at a red light on Lenox Road, I heard the sickening sound of leather being ripped oﬀ the back of my driver’s seat. It’s been 40 years, and I can still hear that sound.
- I mentioned the dirt road beside our house. Sherman loved to chase the cars from his side of the fence. The kids loved it, too. They’d sit at the bottom of the hill, rev their motors until he was going nuts, then take off up the road with him running full force until the back fence stopped him. This went on the entire time we had him. Fortunately, daylilies and english ivy can survive a nice thick, constant layer of dust.
- Sherman contracted heartworm and we had to bring him into the house for a few weeks. 1800 sq. ft., 2 adults and a small horse. So much fun. After he’d been in the house for about a week they started coming: complete strangers knocking on our front door: “Is your dog okay? We miss your dog! We haven’t seen him for a while and got concerned ...” Sherman was well known in the neighborhood.
- One evening we came home from work to ﬁnd our distraught elderly neighbor wringing her hands and wailing, “Oh! I’ve killed your dog! I’ve killed your dog! I’m so sorry! I’ve killed your dog!” Sherman looked okay to us, so she explained that she had brought over some table scraps to give him. She had the scraps laying on one of those plastic bags that frozen veggies come in, and threw the scraps with the bag over the fence. Sherman scarfed the scraps and then scarfed the bag, too! “Oh! I’ve killed your dog!” she wailed. Bill calmed her down. “Don’t worry ... it’ll all work out in the end!” And sure enough, a day or so later ...
- One day at my job, a co-worker was very upset. Seems someone parked beside her had backed out badly, side-swiping her car and causing significant damage. She inspected the other cars in the parking lot, saw those bumpers on my 310 and naturally assumed I was the guilty party. What could I tell her, but the truth:
“Honest! I didn’t hit your car! My dog chews on my bumpers!”
Sure, lady ...