Recently my extraordinarily active (and almost-brilliant) dog, Barnabus, chewed a giant hole in my husband’s blanket. Yes, my husband has a blanket. It’s not a security blanket, but it’s a perfect weight. Every night he pulls it over himself before he goes to sleep. It works.
Barney loves blankets. He has some sort of blanket fetish. He nurses them like a baby, chews on them nervously like a chew toy, and occasionally he tries to make a blanket his woman—digging with his paws as he attempts to push it into a good-size heap; then he attempts to mount it.
Yes. He’s a dog. He has chewed multiple holes in a long list of blankets, quilts, sheets, and coverlets of all shapes and sizes.
When Raymond discovered the fifteen-inch hole in the center of his deliciously soft blanket, he held it up and glared at Barney through it.
“What is this? O my goodness, Barney, what is this? How could you? This is Papa’s blanket!” His tone was not kind. It was accusatory and angry. Disappointed even.
“No, Barney, no,” he spoke plaintively. “You can’t chew holes in Papa’s blanket. See what you’ve done?” He, lifted, once again, the evidence of Barney’s sin—this gaping hole in the middle of this beautiful midnight blue coverlet. Barney got the message and slunk off—ears back and his curled tail tucked beneath his body. With his head down, he looked back over his right shoulder and glanced at his master and his mess as he crept from the room. He skulked to the living room and into his shame hole—a place between a table and chair in our living room. It’s somewhat hidden from everyone else. In a little while, after a recovery nap, he came out. He seemed fine.
When Raymond was ready for bed, he got out his blanket, and pulled the holey coverlet up and over himself—the hole leaving bare a part of his back. Barney eyed the blanket and the hole he’d made and hopped off the bed. I watched as he slid from the room, glancing over his shoulder at Raymond as he left to hide in his shame hole, once again. When I went to bed, I found him still huddled there.
“It’s okay. Come here, Buddy,” I said as I reached out to caress his head and scratch behind his ears. I urged him to come, and he did, but he didn’t sleep curled up beside Raymond—his usual position—he snuggled with me instead.
The next night the same thing happened. The blanket came out, and Barney left the room. Only this time, he went to the spare bedroom to sleep.
He rejoined us sometime during the night—but once again—he stayed away from Raymond and the offensive reminder of his sin.
The next day I told Raymond what I’d observed. “Oh, my poor puppy,” he oozed, as he glanced at his beloved pet. It wasn’t long before he got out a needle and thread and began to sew up the hole.
You’ve got to understand something about my husband’s relationship with his dog. He LOVES this animal. He takes him everywhere he can, buys him cheeseburgers, plays with him while he works in the yard, shares ALL his food, and even lets this 75 pound animal sit in his lap. It hurt his soul to think Barney felt shame, and that this thoughtless and impulsive act had literally created a hole between them.
After he repaired the giant gap, he held the blanket up for Barney to see. “Look Barney, I fixed it. See. No hole.”
That evening, when Raymond headed to bed, got out the blanket, and pulled it over himself, Barney drew near and curled up beside his master. The hole was gone—so was the shame. Relationship was restored.
The blanket has a long ugly scar now. I don’t think Barney notices it. I think he sees a seamless blanket because Raymond said there was no hole. It’s repaired, and beautiful, and whole once again. It’s as if he’d never sinned. He’s free to snuggle at will.
* The events that took place are true. I don’t know what Barney felt and thought, but I do know what he did.