I am a big fan of Family Systems Theory. A frame of understanding human relationships as a massive system with predictable patterns. My study in this field has been eye opening, helping me personally and in ministry.
I think it also explains my dog.
Somehow, without much advanced planning I managed to adopt a dog that is frighteningly similar to my daughter. Parker was 10 months hold when we met. The kid and I drove to the human society with the goal of “just looking” and checking into some options. We took a couple of dogs into the play-n-greet area to get a sense of their personality, but the dogs were terribly afraid and skittish, making me afraid that they would be too touchy around a child.
We were about to leave when a volunteer said there is one more we just had to meet. We took Parker, a big-eyed, black and white border collie to the play area. Instantly he was crawling into Micaela’s lap, chasing balls and persistently offering kisses. It took less than one minute to decide this was the guy for us.
We adopted Parker on a Friday, the entire weekend was devoted to getting him settled and teaching him to do his business outside. On Sunday night, two nights later, we were broken into. Parker had been in a crate in my room, my sweet girl slept in her room just down the hall. Somewhere around 3AM a man cut open a screen to our porch, lifted a window (that was barely open, but visible from the street if you were really looking for it) and climbed into our house. He opened the door from the porch to the living room, walked through the living room, dining room (about 3 feet from my daughter’s door) and into the kitchen. He found my purse hanging on a door knob and left the same way he entered. Leaving the door to the porch wide open, the screen cut and ravaged and the window fully opened.
Parker didn’t make a sound, I heard nothing.
6 AM I rose to let the dog out, walked from the back hallway and into the living room. I glanced over at the porch and saw the door ajar. Immediately, I thought there was a raccoon in my house (because this was a more plausible answer to the door being open than a human), but then I saw the window. The world went spinning for a second while I wondered if there was another person still in my house. I ran back to my room, grabbed my phone and called 911.
After hanging up with the dispatcher I had to take 5 very heavy steps into my daughters room, the door, only partially closed blocked my sight of her. I had to find out if she was still in her bed, unharmed, but I was terrified. Like ripping off a band-aid I flung open the door, turned on the lights and saw her beautiful form on a heap of stuffed animals.
I followed the dispatchers instructions to open the front door and wait there. I took a moment to attached Parker to his long line in our large side yard. It wasn’t until I had walked across the driveway that I realized, that’s where my car had been and now it was gone.
Within thirty minutes my driveway was full of men who kept politely lifting their feet while my new puppy and his leash wove all around their feet. I sat on the drive way holding my computer so we could see purchases on my credit cards mounting up.
We stayed in the house for the next ten nights, I slept about 2-4 hours each night, holding some sort of vigil to help us all feel safe. My daughter and our dog (now liberated from the crate) slept in my bed, it was a crowded, yet secured sleep. 8 days later the police found my car, no damage done, no prints to be lifted, no arrest to be made. So we closed the book, it was a crime of convenience, it wouldn’t happen again.
But this asshole still had my wallet, address, identification, all my keys and my peace of mind.
Two months later, he stole my car again. I had just let the dog out, then put my daughter to bed, walked back into the kitchen and saw that the driveway was again empty. While the police were checking the house they discovered other signs of tampering that had happened a few weeks prior. This time, I could not bring myself to stay in the house, we stayed with family for the next two weeks.
Two weeks later the police found my car, no damage done, no prints to be lifted, no arrest to be made.
We seriously considering moving, but I love our house which has enough room to hold my baby grand piano, gives us our beautiful porch-room and big yard. We adore this neighborhood and we have neighbors that actually know my name and watch out for us. So I decided to make my house less convenient for unwanted visitors and I traded in my wandering car. Motion alarms, motion lights, window locks and door alarms now decorate our darling house. I sleep alright, Parker sleeps on my feet. About every third night my daughter needs to sleep in my bed and I don’t really fight it. If she’s right next to me, I know she is safe.
I won’t be getting back my old wallet or keys, but slowly I am regaining peace of mind. And we’re all getting better at using our respective bathrooms alone!