Thursday, May 22, 2014

In the Dog House (Part 1)

For the past couple of weeks, here on the BMW blog, we have been critter crazy. We have dazzled you with the slimy. We have shocked you with the insanely creepy. There were scales, pinchers, claws, stingers, tentacles, antenna, fangs, colonies, and more. It was a Critter Crisis.

But today, it's Critter Comfort...

Let me introduce you to Chief and MoMo, best friends from birth. They even shared the same cage at the pet shop.

They are our pets, but here on the field they are way more than just pets. In the States, we had pets. Chief and MoMo... they are something special. We realize how much we depend on them. We need them. I once heard someone complain about missionaries "wasting money" on pets on the field. I don't think you can fully understand unless I tell you the whole story.

Why Have Pets on the Field?

When we left the States, our children left "home" behind. They left behind pets, friends, family, a house, a neighborhood, a life. It wasn't easy for them. In all honesty, it wasn't easy for us either. When we arrived here, we knew we had to do everything we could to help the children think of our new country as "home." One of our first investments was two little balls of fur with legs. The children needed something to love. They needed a sentimental attachment in their new home. They had said so many goodbyes, and they needed to feel the joy of hellos. In their hearts, we were creating the sense of "home." The kids fell in love immediately.

We knew these new additions would be more than just snuggle buddies for the children. We bought them with many purposes in mind. One of these purposes... pest control! Early on, we began training them to be hunters. They have done quite well. Rats, geckos, and even snakes have been chased away or killed by these two crazy dogs.

There have been a few setbacks, though. MoMo is highly fascinated with ants and caterpillars. She likes to pounce on them and paw at them, barking with all her might. (She is a terror in her own mind!) Then she likes to chew on them, spit them out, play with them, and eventually eat them. She chased a toad and tried to catch it, but it was too big for her little mouth. It wasn't too big for Chief's mouth, unfortunately. He took it away from her. The next day, we discovered it was poisonous. Chief had diarrhea all night. Every inch of our patios had to be cleaned.

One night, MoMo barked for hours. We couldn't sleep! We thought for sure she had cornered a rat or a cat in a tree. The next morning, Jason went outside to see what had her so upset. Her exciting catch of the night? She had protected us from... a vicious, rabid, dangerous, man-eating birthday balloon. Oh well. No one is perfect.

As frustrating as clean up from the toad incident was and not getting any sleep because of the balloon was, they quickly made up for it. One day when we came home from church, we found our gate wide open and the lock busted. Someone had attempted to break into our home. They left the gate open, hoping the dogs would leave so they could enter unimpeded. The dogs have been trained to never leave our property. We found them sitting beside their kennels waiting patiently for us. The burglar must have been very frustrated when the dogs wouldn't leave. Our home was safe and sound.

I must admit, when I am having language struggles, when I am dealing with culture stress, or when I am missing my family in the States, there is something comforting and special about the unconditional affection of a dog. And MoMo has more affection (and tongue) than she knows what to do with! They have licked us when we cried, played with us when we laughed, hugged us when we were frustrated, and greeted us with excitement every time we came home. After a tough day driving on these roads, that means the world to us.

There was one aspect of having these dogs we didn't plan on.

To Be Continued...

by Charity, Southern Asia

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