The other night I took my puppy Annie to church choir practice. We have a small informal group and these were the same people who threw me a puppy shower when we adopted two-month-old Chico and Annie in April. Now six months, Annie had just been spayed and we needed to keep her from roughhousing with her brother. Those two play hard, gnashing their teeth and tossing each other on the ground. Too much for a girl with stitches in her belly. Chico had spent the day at Dogport daycare, but they close at six and I needed to keep them apart, so Annie got to go for a ride.
She’s not the first dog or cat to visit the chapel, but I was glad to see Father Brian heading off on a walk toward the beach as I arrived. I doubt he would approve.
We practice in the chapel. I introduced Annie to Jesus, hanging on the big crucifix and let her make the rounds of all the women gathered in a semi-circle to sing. Before we started singing, I put her through her paces: sit, stay, down, come. Then Mary Lee, our director arrived. When she played the first chord on the piano, the dog stared in astonishment at all this sound coming out. I sat in a chair at first, then slipped to the floor to get closer to my dog. She seemed to like our singing. I laughed so hard I almost cried when Annie started singing, too. Punctuating our practice with “sit” “down” and “shh,” I sang my solos holding my music in one hand, petting the dog with the other.
Eventually I took her out to the car, but it was only the next day I realized how much I was acting like a typical new mom. I didn’t have to bring Annie into the chapel, but I wanted to show her off. Wasn’t she smart? Wasn’t she beautiful? Wasn’t she big? I had left my guitar at home so I could hold onto Annie. Annie, Annie, Annie. The whole practice revolved around my puppy. Is that not the same thing as a woman with her human child?