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The Road Less Traveled (3).jpg

June 1,  2023


Well it finally happened. We have another dog.

Melissa has been talking about it for some time now. We lost our longtime companion, Chloe, about three months ago. And after a proper period of mourning, Melissa started dropping hints about another dog. I was not enthusiastic. We have two other dogs. Sadie is a 10-year old miniature pinscher mix, and Toby is a 4-year-old Lab mix. And I thought two was plenty. In fact, before Chloe died, we regularly joked that three dogs were about one too many.

At the same time, however, I knew Melissa always wanted a little dog, a cuddly little thing that would sit in her lap and cuddle for hours on end. So for the past several weeks she has been looking at Petfinder online and surfing rescue sites. She showed me the pictures of dozens of dogs, and I just smiled and nodded. I really didn’t want another dog.

Well, I caved on Monday. Actually I didn’t cave so much as I set the events into motion. We were sitting at the kitchen table together, and I was scrolling through Facebook. I came across a post that a colleague of mine shared. It was for a rescue organization in Southlake. And the dog featured in the post looked like a miniature version of Toby. Without a word I held out my phone so Melissa could see the picture. And the look on her face said it all. That’s the one!

Within a matter of hours our application had been approved, and we were headed to Southlake to meet the little guy. An hour later we were headed back home with Murphy cuddled in her lap.

Murphy is a 3-month-old “Chi-weenie,” a mix of Chihuahua and dachshund. My guess is that he will top out at around 15 pounds. He is super sweet and exactly the dog that Melissa wanted. 

And so I now have exactly what I didn’t want – another dog.

But it’s OK. Really. Because in 31 years of marriage, I have learned something about compromise. And what I have learned has nothing to do with “happy wife, happy life.” What I’ve learned is that unexpected blessings are almost always found amid compromise.

About four and a half years ago, we had a similar conversation. I was in a meeting at church one morning, and Melissa texted me pictures of several Lab puppies. I texted her back that they were very cute. She responded that they had been found by a neighbor, and she was trying to find homes for them. I responded that, as cute as they were, she would not have any trouble finding them homes. Then she asked me which one I liked.

I knew I was in trouble.

So I texted her back and pointed out that we already had two dogs. I pointed out that we both work long hours, and the kids were busy with school, and so on. And, not for nothing, I really didn’t want another dog. She responded that they needed a home, and we had a home. And they needed love. And we had love.


Well, long story short, by the end of the day we were meeting with the woman in the parking lot of our vet’s office. Melissa made me pick which one we would take. I chose the black one with the white chest and white toes. And after getting him checked out at the vet, Toby came home with us.

The funny thing is that Melissa wanted him; I really did not. But guess whose dog he became? Yep. 100 percent my dog. I seldom take a step at home that Toby is not right by my side. When I go upstairs in the morning to take a shower, he follows me and waits on the bed until I am finished. As I write this, he is crashed on the couch four feet away. And I guarantee, no matter how sound he is sleeping, when I get up and leave the room, he will be right behind me.

I have had a lot of pets in my nearly 56 years, but never one like Toby. I have had dogs and cats, hamsters and even a rabbit once. But I have never had a pet as loveable and devoted as Toby. To say I love the dog is an understatement.

And I never would have experienced that love if I had my own way. Because I didn’t want him. Not even a little bit.

That’s the funny thing about compromise, about putting the desires of another ahead of your own. It’s the same lesson we learn when we serve others, whether on a mission trip or at the Mobile Food Pantry. When you deliberately seek to bless another, the one who is ultimately blessed is you.

See you Sunday.

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