I admit, I'm prepared for the flack/making fun of me for writing this post (especially when it's my longest one yet! Ha!). I promised myself I'd never become one of "those" dog owners, but it's different when you actually have one, especially like the one we have. I know not everyone is an animal lover, and I wouldn't even put myself into that category. But I know for sure that Brandon and I have one special dog. I firmly believe that the Lord puts anything and anyone in your life right when you need it as a gentle reminder of His love and care. You may think I'm over-spiritualizing things, but I don't care. Rev is a straight. up. blessing. I can only IMAGINE what it's like to have a baby! I wanted to write this post more so to read in the future and possibly share with our kids about Mom & Dad's first dog.
The way we got him isn't the typical go-to-the-animal-shelter type story. In the fall of 2009, one of my best friends Megan Boudreaux called to tell me that she was visiting a friends' house when this beautiful black lab walked up. She asked the friends about the dog, and they told her he had been let out of a van to wander around the neighborhood. The friends took him in but couldn't keep him, so they offered him to Megan. After some thought, she decided to take him home to her apartment (even though it was against the apt. rules), which happened to be right across the street from where Brandon and I were living at the time. She named him Rev, after one of her favorite worship songs, "Revelation Song", and he has a little white spot on his neck that kinda looks like a priest. Megan soon found out that Rev needed to be treated for heart worms, which is probably the reason he was dropped off in the first place. She started the treatment, and meanwhile she got a job at Our Lady of the Lake. I remember one of the first times Brandon and I played with Rev. We brought my Dad over to Megan's apartment one Saturday before we headed down to an LSU game. He had a different demeanor than a typical "puppy" (no one was sure how old he was, so we guessed about a year). He was gentle and sweet, but also a little skiddish, and Megan mentioned that he cried and barked a lot when she left. We guessed it was some sort of separation anxiety because he had been bounced around so many times. We experienced his anxiety when we dog-sat Rev for a couple weeks in December while Megan was out of town. We came home one evening to this. Rev decided he wanted to celebrate Christmas early and opened up one of my presents and tore apart one of our throw pillows. We were angry, but still couldn't really blame him because he was scared to be by himself because he thought we'd never come back.
Fast forward a couple months. On our way back from making Smoky Mountain memories in Maggie Valley, NC with the family, Megan called and asked if she could give Rev to us. With her new job, she'd be traveling a lot and really felt bad leaving him, especially with his separation anxiety. Brandon was all for it, but I was still a little hesitant. We had been talking about getting a dog, but we weren't sure if we would be too busy, and I worried about the added expenses. After discussing it on our way home (we had 13 hours to mull it over!), we decided we couldn't pass up on a FREE, beautiful, full-bred black lab. We picked him up on January 1 (that's when we celebrate his birthday), and he officially became Rev Boudreaux Hays.
Over the next month or so, we slowly got into a routine with Rev. Thankfully, we never had to go through the whining, potty training, puppy days. However, he continued to make his mark around the house. Three sets of blinds later (see pic below), we realized that we needed to pull up the blinds every morning so he wouldn't try to get to us while we were at work.
Even now, he randomly chews things up while we're gone (anywhere from cardboard pizza boxes to my students' test papers). But if that's the worst thing we have to deal with, then I'm not complaining! Everyone who meets Rev falls in love with him. He is the snuggliest dog, which is a nice way of saying that he doesn't acknowledge your own personal space. I'll have to save another post for the things we love most about Rev because I doubt you even made it this far! :) But know this: Rev has been an amazing source of joy and all-around feeling of home and loyalty. The Lord's timing is impeccable, and I'm so very thankful that we had him particularly in those dark times during the first couple months of moving to Nashville. Megan, we could never thank you enough for giving Rev to us.