I should have known the pittie mix was in the dog house when Lamar quit making her breakfast.
Unlike the other pups, including the German Shepherd, Doodle’s routine involved having her own little plate of food to eat alongside her ‘daddy.’
One morning, I heard him tell her, “You don’t get any today, Doodle.”
I didn’t think anything of it at first; that little caramel colored dog is always doing something to get in trouble.
But her punishment went on for a while, which was odd and signaled something was terribly amiss.
Doodle is the pup who can get away with everything.
While Ava is a drama queen and Pumpkin is quite judgmental towards us all, Doodle is the one that came into our lives five years ago and somehow stole my husband’s heart from his favorite breed.
She has been spoiled because she is, as he calls her, his baby girl.
He has rocked her to sleep as a puppy in the middle of the night when she didn’t want to be alone.
She has eaten cycling gloves, socks, and a few remotes and he has declared she was just a sweet little baby girl and didn’t know any better.
For him to not have breakfast with her for several days running meant something was amiss.
“What did she do?” I asked him.
“You don’t want to know,” he said as he sat his coffee cup in the sink. “Trust me.”
I giggled to myself thinking of all the gross crimes the chunky little dog could have committed.
A few nights later, Cole went out on the porch to bring Doodle in and rushed into the other room to get his father.
“Again? No!” Lamar exclaimed as he headed outside.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Cole shook his head. “You don’t want to know.”
Why does everyone tell me that? Don’t they realize if something usually gets handled it’s the mama who takes care of it?
“Yes, I do. Tell me.”
Cole took a deep breath. “You are going to be very upset when I tell you. We decided not to tell you this because we didn’t want to upset you.”
That statement right there sent off my mama-alarms. Telling me you kept something from me because you didn’t want me to get upset is a sure-fire way for me to freak out and over-react when you do tell me.
I was trying to be calm though. It was Doodle and she seemed okay, so it probably had to do with her eating my furniture again.
“Tell me,” I repeated.
“Doodle killed a baby opossum,” he said.
How could she kill a precious little baby opossum?
I was crushed.
“Daddy is getting it now to bury it with the others.”
“How many has she killed?”
“Six,” Lamar said walking back in. “It’s the pit in her. I know good and well Ava wouldn’t do this and neither would Punky. But Doodle has killed a whole litter of opossums.”
I felt worse. I had named the mother opossum Penny; we loved seeing her offspring each spring.
“Is this why she hasn’t been allowed to have breakfast with you?” I asked.
“I love her, but it is hard to love on her knowing she is a killer.”
As he said that, the little assassin plopped her head in my lap and pawed at me to pet her.
“No, Doodle,” I said. “I can’t. I am so disappointed in you right now.”
A few nights later, I heard something on the back deck.
It was Fiona, the baby opossum that had almost came to me one morning.
She had pink little ears and a cute little black nose. She was adorable, and my goal was to hand feed her this year. She often would get in the corner of the deck and watch me feed my cats in the early hours of daylight.
“Fiona is still here!” I exclaimed, grabbing the bag of cat food to give her some kibble.
She hid as I filled the bowls, peering between the wood slats on the deck to watch me.
“I am so sorry for your littermates,” I told her. “Doodle doesn’t come out here, so you are safe here.”
But, the little opossum didn’t stay on the back deck and eventually got on the front porch.
I cried, angry, sorrowful cried. I loved that little marsupial.
I couldn’t look at Doodle for days. Weeks actually.
I wouldn’t even let her curl up by my feet at night, telling her it was a cuddle-free zone.
I was hurt beyond hurt with her.
How could she kill something that didn’t pose even the remotest threat to her?
“Have you loved on Doodle yet?” Mama asked me.
“No,” I said. I even refused to kiss the little spot on her head that she insisted I kiss each morning.
“Are you going to forgive her?”
I wasn’t sure. My heart was so saddened by her actions.
I was so disappointed in her. This is the dog that has head butted her own shadow once because she is so goofy. Why would she kill an innocent little animal and one I loved?
“She didn’t know any better,” Lamar said softly one evening as she climbed up in his lap and put her head on his shoulder. “She thought she was doing a good thing. She didn’t know we loved the opossums.”
I don’t think it would have mattered if she knew we loved them or not, and I said so.
“What does matter though, is that we love her and she’s ours,” Lamar said. “We may not like what she did, but we love her and that means we have to forgive her.”
Love and forgiveness do go hand in hand. Even, or maybe especially, when we don’t like the actions.