Okay, I got a request for a story from Aimee. So, this is for you Aimee and anyone else out there who is trying to love a dog. Many of my friends have heard my endless complaining about my chocolate Lab Coco. She is really a sweet dog. And the only real problem with Coco, is....she is just that...a DOG. So, her being a dog, she can't help it right? And me being a Mom...I can't help that she had become my nemisis....Yup, my enemy! I live in a small house and with a large family plus a dog...(who I was sure made a goal every day to get in my way when I went from bedroom to bedroom, or follow me around the house, or look at me with manipulative eyes wanting to go on a walk...or do I need to mention the hair? Poop? Licks? (I hate that) and overall smell? (Even with a bath once a week, she is stinky to me... )) I guess I am not a pet person. So, that is where the story starts. And it ends with me loving Coco now...well, at least we have an understanding. I am mom and she is Dog...and I will continually practice Charity on her and she will keep doing what she is doing cuz...she is a dog. So how did this "mighty change of heart" occur? Well, this summer when I returned from Idaho, I had been stewing over the fact that Coco drove me crazy and that I was going to have a new baby and that there was no room in the "inn". Coco had been living in my mom's backyard and the day after I returned from Idaho, my mom calls upset explaining that Coco had chewed up her nice garden hose and dug holes all over her yard. That was it! She was out of there! (and not here!) So, I talked to Doug about our "problem" and we agreed that Coco can't stay. (Well, Doug agreed that I couldn't handle her anymore and was sick of the "dog-drama".) I thought it was a great idea to take her to the pet shelter so she could be adopted by a great little family...you know the 2.5 kids kind? Poor Doug rushed out the house and drove Coco 45 minutes away to the Pet and Animal Shelter. I have to admit I did feel a pang of guilt as he rushed out the door to do the dirty deed, but it was nothing to the bolt of guilt I felt in my chest as I explained to my kids what I...(I mean "we" (right?))..felt was best for Coco. You should have heard the "weeping and wailing and nashing" of teeth!!! I felt like I was in one of those cable TLC real life dramas! I comforted and explained..etc. It was the longest two hours of my life. So, two hours later, Doug gets home...grief stricken. I felt like I had just made Dougy-boy give away "Old Yellar, Benji and Lassie"! So, the family is all crying and hugging in a circle. (I am not invited) I feel like the biggest CRAP mom ever! At that point...I knew what I had to do. I had to save the Dog from myself! I called the shelter and told them I would be there in 45 minutes or less to pick up the Dog. The lady at the shelter said, "I don't think you can.". I asked,"What?" She said, "we have never had someone pick up their dog one hour after they have been dropped off". And I said, "Well, get ready for the first time then!" I hung up, grabbed the keys. Doug stopped me and made me swear..more than even a pinky swear, that I would love and cherish Coco till death do we part. I swore in my tears that I would love this Dog and all that jazz. Running to the Van and driving over the speed-limit I prayed that Coco's life would be spared cuz I just could not handle the anquish in my families faces! I finally arrived with tears in my eyes, asking for Coco. I met a wonderful guy who works there as a hobby to help unwanted animals...and he got a big kick at my family drama about Coco. So, there was Coco, hyper as ever...and here I was LOVING the dog. I pet her, let her lick my face and all of that. So, after 75 dollars (yup, had to pay to get her out. She even got some shots) and going straight to PetCo for some leashes, toys, dog training classes..and almost 200 dollars later...she came home to the sad family and made them happy again. So for about a month after that Coco felt like a queen cuz I really felt honest love for her. We bonded at pet training classes and she got better dog food. Today..she is a better dog. I don't know if she really changed, but my attitude sure had. I also learned that you can honestly LOVE that which you HATE as long as you save, serve and sacrifice for them. I will use that lesson many times with my husband! Hah! Thanks Coco. (So, her being five years old...she only has about 8 more years tops right? Ooops! ) ---Ana.