Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Our dear friend Jamie was here visiting a few weeks ago and commented that Margie, our dog, needed more blog time. She's right!

The story of Margie is yet another example of how everything works out and how there's often a plan that we don't quite realize until we can step back and view it with perspective.

In January 2007, our sweet Scottie dog Emma died. Steve and I were Emma's humans for almost as long as we had been married. She was a wee puppy with large satellite ears when she joined us in our tiny Lubbock duplex in September 1994. We rescued another Scottie, Mac, to be her companion two years later. They moved with us to the Dallas area in 1997 and tolerated the addition of Cooper to our family in 2001.

Sweet Mac died when Cooper was a toddler. The Damm house was a sad house for quite a while. Emma recovered and carried on without him. She was super laid back by the time Katie was born.

When Emma passed away, the four of us were heart broken. We missed rubbing her pink belly and scratching her between the ears. We missed her sounds, her fuzziness, her presence.

After a few weeks with no dog in the house, we began to consider another. Cooper, who was 5 and in kindergarten, was particularly distraught without Emma. We didn't want to "replace" her right away, as that didn't seem to honor what she meant to us. But it was clear that all of us wanted to find another furry baby.

I found a Scottie rescue group in Mesquite and began corresponding with the director. He was prickly. He didn't seem all that interested in placing a dog in a home with two young children. I persisted and he eventually relented, allowing us to visit his house to meet some available Scotties.

On our scheduled Saturday in late February 2007, Steve woke up feeling strange. He was worn out, recovering from a high fever earlier in the week. When he tried to drink coffee that morning, he couldn't. It dribbled out of the side of his mouth. By noon, the right side of his face was droopy. By mid-afternoon, when we were driving to Mesquite in a Lubbock-style sandstorm, the right side of his face was paralyzed.

Still, we visited with some dogs, including a spry Scottie named Katie Margaret. She was by far our favorite, and the four of us left knowing that we wanted to take her home -- if the rescue group approved our application.

Katie Margaret, in need of a home

But first we had to get to the emergency room to find out what was wrong with Steve's face. The diagnosis was Bell's palsy. He couldn't close his right eye completely or drink well or speak normally for about a month. And then most of the issues resolved, although I could always detect a tiny droopiness that never seemed to recover.

By the time the palsy seemed to be gone, the Scottie rescue group approved us -- after multiple e-mails, phone calls and a house visit. These folks are thorough! We adopted Katie Margaret and promptly started calling her Margie. (We couldn't have Katie the girl and Katie the dog.)

Margie and Katie, 2007

Margie can be wild. She thinks an open door is an invitation to run free. Those first few months, we chased her all over the neighborhood. She still plots to escape through the front door -- we're just sneakier about how we open and close the door. She runs laps around the house. She barks incessantly at the wild rabbits that live in our bushes and hang out on our front porch.

Cooper, Margie and Steve, this afternoon

She's gentle with Cooper and Katie and loves walks and playing in the back yard. She's also extra protective of Steve. After his biopsy in January, Margie would lie next to him and lick his head, as if trying to heal the wounds. She seeks him out no matter where he is in the house -- upstairs on the exercise bike, resting on the green chair in the family room, napping in the bedroom. She says goodnight by wrapping her body around his and licking him as much as he'll allow.

Her timing is just one example of the intricate relationships and connections that piece our story together. I've written before that I suspect Steve's tumor may have started back in February 2007, caused by a virus that first manifested with a high fever and Bell's palsy. I'm fascinated that his palsy symptoms began the same day we met Margie, who has become such a comfort to our family -- especially to Steve.


Anonymous said...

All I can think to say is "Awwwwwwww!" Much love to you all

The Stahls

DogBlogger said...

Countless gifts from God have arrived covered in fur and bouncing around on four paws. So glad y'all have one of those gifts.

Anonymous said...

animals are God's reminder of His unconditional love.. they give us so much love and all they ask in return is a simple pet on the head, a bowl of food and some water. How easy is that!? Naturally my 3 are my children.. my family used to ask when we'd have "two-legged" children... we were finally blessed with one of those too, but the puppies are her brothers and older sister!
I'm so glad Margie brings that comfort to Steve.. Scoobie is THE ONLY one (in the physical realm) that brings me that much comfort and I praise God for him every day!

Natalie Willis said...

Isn't it amazing? The way unconditional love and infinite amounts of comfort can be wrapped up in a cute, furry little body.

Sending you guys oraayers every single day!