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Jan 29, 2009

When Love Bites

When Love Bites

The first week that One Fine Man and I were home from the hospital after his skiing accident in CO, our little Pekingese pup, Teddy, would not leave my husband’s side. Ted knew something was not as it should be with his master and he appointed himself as bodyguard.
Ted lay next to my husband’s injured leg, getting up only if One Fine Man got up. At first, Ted cocked his head at the crutches but after a thorough sniffing, he accepted their presence. He watched with quizzical interest as I changed the dressing on his master’s wound. Ted relinquished his happy-go-lucky “let’s go for another walk” mindset because it seemed now he had a real job. He lost interest in walks, toys, and everyone else UNLESS they got too close to One Fine Man’s left leg. For hours at a time, Ted lay next to OFM.

Every visitor was treated with suspicion. When our pastor and his wife came by the first evening we were home, Ted was on guard. He sat on the floor between our guests and his master. When our pastor moved forward to pray for One Fine Man, Ted was on alert, jumping to all fours and barking. Ted was “no respecter of [visitors]” and this behavior was repeated with each friend who dropped by.

Although Ted is not usually allowed on our bed, I made an exception and let him stay at One Fine Man’s side. One evening, it was getting late and I walked to the bedroom to get Ted for his nightly trip to the mailbox. There he lay at One Fine Man’s leg. As I went to scoop him off the bed, he bit me! Never had Ted bitten me before. I was shocked. And bleeding! As I rinsed my finger under the faucet, I felt my anger and confusion growing toward Ted. Why would he feel the need to protect One Fine Man from ME? Miffed, I banished Ted from the bed forever. No exceptions!

A couple of days later Ted “wrote” an apology to me. It was on a post-it note attached to the top of his paw. His ghost writer, Guitar Girl, delivered Ted to me, giggling over what a genius he was to have taken paw to paper. I didn’t at first accept Ted’s apology. Oh, I continued to feed him chicken and hamburger and put down fresh water. I washed his bowls, gave him a bath and took him for walks to the mailbox and beyond. But my heart was not in it because I was hurt.

Soon, however, Ted’s puppy dog eyes and wagging tail proved irresistible and I was back to loving Ted.

Since that incident I have considered how often I react like Ted and my “love bites.” Sometimes I protect my heart from the very ones I love the most. I would die for them. But some days it seems like too much work to be kind when I am dog-tired. Some days my love is snappish and short and I wonder do they feel the bared teeth in my service to them? I wash, cook, drive, assist, clean, listen, take up the slack…In my service to those I love, where is my heart? Does my love bite? So I take pen to paper and offer an apology. “I’m sorry I bit you. Please forgive me. I love you.”


  1. What a beautiful dog. Can't believe he bit you though.

  2. I think you are right to not let your pup back in the bed. That gives them domination confusion and raises them to "people" status, who are also allowed on furniture & bed. (learned this at obedience school for my pup).

    Having said that - your analogy is so good! I'm afraid I may bit on a regular basis. I don't mean too. I just get worked up over stuff. Sometimes I don't even bit the person I'm upset with - but the person I love the most because I know they'll forgive me & accept me anyway. Hmmmm.

    Thanks for your good words today - as usual.

  3. Oh my..that's sad.
    I don't think he meant
    He must sense that things are different with the injury.
    I hope you're finger is allright. :)

  4. Okay, you have once more moved me to tears...Did you just look at my heart and pray the very thing I've been begging God to change in me??? I so want those closest to me to feel the love, honor, gratefulness and pride I feel for being their wife and mother. But so often, I bite instead of kiss...

    I am absolutely loving getting a peek at your heart!! I would love, love, love to meet you someday... :) Do you live close to College Station, TX???

  5. Aw Ted is so cute. It's hard not to forgive their cute little faces. I'm always amazed at how loving and forgiving they are to us and quick to make it right. I've learned a few lessons from my Tobi too.

  6. Ted is a beautiful dog. I am laughing only because my dog has done the same thing before. What a valuable lesson you pulled from it though. Awesome!

  7. Perhaps Ted thought he was doing the only thing he could do to help in an unusual situation...his protection instincts kicked in and he reacted before he realized you were not the enemy. He probably would have bitten your husband if you were the injured party. I am not defending what he did but why he did...you know he loves you or he wouldn't let you live there in peace!!! Forgive the little guy, he really does love you.

    The same thing happened to me when my kids became teenagers, except we didn't have a dog...

    God Bless you!!

  8. sorry your dog bit you...they are funny little creatures! Sometimes very maddening! At least mine is!

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the encouragement.

  10. Melanie,

    I love the way the Lord speaks to us using our pets. I don't care what anyone else believes, I know my little dog Jake will be in heaven with me.

    Check this out.


  11. Melanie,

    It's Wendy Blight. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I LOVE your "I Attest" poem. And what is so beautiful is that you interrupted a busy, productive day to speak to God. How your words inspire me to stop during my day and acknowledge My Lord and Savior, not for what He has done for me but just for WHO HE IS...HE is the I AM. Thank you for blessing my day today.


  12. Hey Mel,
    Poor Ted! I am sorry about your finger. I am happy about your insight. I think we all bite sometimes but luckily we are in the process of becoming more like Christ. I pray that the more like HIM I become, the less I will want to bite. Hope OFM is doing good. I will call you later Saturday.

  13. What a great story. I find it fascinating that God wired dogs with such acute instinct. We had a little dog before kids, who loved our daughter when we had her, they were playmates. But when our son was born, he nipped at him and never did take a liking to him. We felt like it was because he was a boy and had invaded Buddy's territory. The girl was no threat(?) hard to say.

    there have been other circumstances hinting that our animals have an awareness of human gender differences.

    I can relate to doggie's protective nipping, and nipping at the wrong hand...or nipping too hard...sorry to say.