I have learned so much from my dogs. Yeh I know...sounds funny huh? For all you dog lovers out there, you know what I mean. I wasn’t always as much of a dog person as I am today. My dogs are a joy to my heart. When my kids left the nest, we filled them with dogs! My wonderful husband is so accomodating and so supportive of my love for my dogs, and has become just as attached to them as I have.
Today I took them all on a walk in the beautiful sunshine. It is my prayer time and my alone time with God. I always ask God to teach me something each day....to find hidden treasures even in the midst of trials that come. (And there seem to have been many hurdles this year.) I guess that is why there have been many lessons. I treasure those lessons. But today it was a simple lesson. It was about friendship. It was about how I love my family, and my husband. And who would have thought I would have learned it from my dogs?
Our golden retriever, Gracie-Anne is her own adjective. If I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know. Her energy is endless. She’s a gift giver. She never comes empty handed....(or mouthed) She is a child at heart and quite frankly I don’t think she will ever grow up. Her excitement is genuine and to the core. (Or should I say over-excitement!) She has her quirks, like eating anything....and I mean ANYTHING in sight. How many trips to the vet have we taken with her? Too many to count. But her innocence and sweet heart make those trips worth it. She just gets so excited that she swallows the gifts she brings you! Now that’s excitement!
Then there’s my Holly, our lab. My sweet Holly who was trained to be a service dog, but bless her heart, her hips didn’t want to cooperate so she stayed with me. She is a service dog at heart. It is written in her face and expressed through her tail that can whip a hole in a wall at one swipe! And those of you who know Holly are knodding their heads. I have never met a sweeter soul than Holly. She is always there. No matter where I am....she is there. If I start to trip and fall, she is there in front of me bracing to catch my fall. If I drop something, she picks it up mid air and gives it back to me. As I struggled in my health this year.....Holly knew. It was written all over her face, and her closeness grew even closer. She has even licked tears from my face. Holly would die for me. In fact one day on our morning run, we were faced with 2 dogs who got loose and were on the attack....straight for us. They were pit bulls who were on their way to the pound and got loose. They were fighting dogs (which made me sad) I found out later, and had dug themselves out from the fenced area. Well you can imagine what I was feeling as I saw these 2 salivating dogs coming straight at us! I saw my life flash before my eyes....and I just froze. I knew I had no way out of this one. But Holly braced herself in front of me like a cement wall protecting me, no growling, no moving.....just protecting. I will never ever forget the look on her face. It was like she knew what was about to happen, but she had peace. She knew it would be ok. And in one of my previous blogs you will see what happened next. God protected....and Holly was my angel that day. It was a miracle. Holly is steadfast, unconditionally loving, and immovable in her love. In fact I would go as far to say she is one of the most passionate dogs I have ever seen.
And then there is Mavis. Oh Mavis. Mavis Pearl is our newest addition and she is bulldog to the core. I am watching her personality unfold daily and she is a hoot! But what bull dog isn’t? Mavis has a sense of humor that makes you laugh until you collapse. Just watching her walk is fun! Training Mavis is not like training a golden or a lab. She has learned so much already, but is not treat motivated. (Motivation is not her strength) She trains by affection! She’d much rather have a “YES! and a hug, than a treat. In fact the treat will stay on the floor and she will be looking up at me with that wrinkled smushed in face as if to say....”oh just say YES, and good girl please!!” Since she is too fat to snuggle, she gets as close to me as she can and vibrates. (her way of breathing) She is a stubborn girl at times, and loves to eat my shoes. My new high heeled shoes I bought for Easter are now flats with missing bows. Oh well, I can’t walk in heels anyway. She’s her own personality. She knows no personal boundaries and gets right in your face. Holly and Gracie don’t like her lack of personal space boundaries, and have called her on it often. She’s learning.
So as I walked this morning with the 3 of them, thinking about their individual traits, I thought to myself.....what kind of a friend am I? What traits do I have and share with others? What kind of a Mom and wife am I? Am I giver, a kid at heart? Do I love unconditionally and have passion? Am I stubborn and relentless? Am I steadfast and always there to show God’s love? Am I a protector and peacemaker? Do I have boundaries? It made me reflect on the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be. I have so far to go, but know God is constantly on this journey with me refining me. Just as a little puppy can be trained to become a service dog one day and change lives....God is constantly training and refining me and completeing what He has begun. Some days are not as fun as others, but the lessons learned are lifechanging. I want to become more like Him everyday. It’s a journey. A journey He will take straight to His heart. He will never leave or forsake me on this journey. He loves me when I fall, He loves me when I succeed. He loves me....period.
Isn’t that just the neatest thing ever? Yep, it was a great walk with my 3 buddies this morning. I learned a lot from them today....I am thankful. It’s going to be a great day!
Phillipians 1:6: For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.