Funnily enough 3 out of 4 children came home from school after the first day back with the exact same homework. Makes one wonder why a high-school spanish teacher is copying a first grade teacher's lesson plan. Let's hope it doesn't continue all year.
The homework assignment was to fill a small paper sack with things that describe you to be shared with the class. A crayon if you like to draw. A baseball trophy to show you like to play ball, etc. All three kids wanted to put a photo of our family dog Abby inside. Abby is a big part of their lives and though they argue about who's turn it is to walk her, they clearly love her. To think I almost didn't cave and get a dog for them 5 years ago.
When I was a kid there was a commercial sponsored by the LDS church where a small girl comes home from a birthday party and tries to tell each of her family members about what happened. Each person would brush her off. The teen aged sister was busy getting glammed up for a date, Mom was on the phone, Dad at the TV, etc... Then the girl (who strangely looked just like a future best friend of mine CJ) goes and tells the family sheep dog all about the party. The narrator then says "Take the time to listen to your children, before they go to the dogs." It was almost as heartbreaking as the commercial where Susy comes home with a good report card and is told harshly to put her bike away because she is so forgetful.
Although I like to think I am a bit more attentive then those portrayed in the commercials, I still see the value of having a dog to turn to. For us the dog has been someone the kids go to when they are lonesome or sad. Sometimes no one understands quite as well as the dog. She is a great listener. She doesn't judge. She'll be blue with you or play with you. She's the best dog! Growing up I had a dog but by the time I came he was old and un-playful. Not that interested in us. And there was an ever present contention in the home over Pierre. Dad didn't like him, but he came along as a package deal when he married my mom and took on her children and their dog. He never complained about the children, but he sure hated the dog. That's why I am sensitive to my husband's criticism of Abby. She can't help that she sheds any more than I can help that my hair is thinning (whoops- don't think about it, don't think about it, done thinking). So she eats her poop once in a while! Dogs do that sort of thing. You just gotta put that out of your mind and wash your hands a lot. She follows me around all day as my companion and protector. She is so smart! She was awfully hard to train because of this, but I am glad she's the way she is. I am so glad that I gave in to my 7 year old's deepest desire of 2004 and got us a puppy. He had every stuffed dog we could buy him before we got the real deal. He had the funniest names for them. Let's see there was Strong Spike, Bear Dog Ol' Sharkie, Heffron the Dog (named after a first grade teacher in Iowa), Power Scratch, and a bunch more. He'd wake up from nightmares that he would never own a dog. So I caved for fear he'd need therapy.... I would highly recommend getting a dog if you can swing it. Lots of work, but even more pay off.