Things my dogs have taught me
It is probably no coincidence that “Man’s best friend” doesn’t talk. Once we start to communicate with words, the best we can hope for is to accurately convey what we’re thinking. We have all had the experience of watching a situation fall apart because of poor communication despite good intentions on both sides of the issue. However, that doesn’t ever seem to happen with my dogs. We love each other and there is never any doubt what each of us is thinking. So how can we duplicate such success with humans and still use words?
First of all, my dogs are completely honest. They do not appear to be one thing while they are thinking another. I treat them with love so they are always expecting good things to happen and they rejoice every time they see me. Their love is unconditional and while all dogs know how to be sad or angry, they don’t know how to condemn. My dogs have taught me that being “best friends” is easy once we remove the challenges of our flawed human communications.
My dogs aren’t perfect, but even in those imperfections I’ve learned more about myself. Once I took them with me when I went to get gas and wash the car. After I filled up, I pulled over to the automated car wash and got in the queue. It was the kind where you to stay in the vehicle as it is forced through an ominous tunnel of brushes and liquids that viciously attack your car. Until then, I would not have described a car wash that way, but I now appreciate how scary any situation can be if we don’t fully understand it. During my few minutes of simultaneous laughter and regret, my dogs suffered what must have seemed like an eternity and were greatly relieved to have come out of it uninjured. I might add that they couldn’t care less that the car was clean.
It occurred to me later that we humans often go through life like that. How many events in life scare us as much as the car wash terrified my dogs? And how many times do those scary situations end up with us better off than where we started? I learned that it is better to have faith in the One who watches over us even when I don’t understand everything that is happening to me. It is all a matter of perspective regarding what in our lives is truly threatening compared to things that are “all bark and no bite.”
So my dogs have taught me many things from unconditional love to maintaining an enthusiastic attitude about everything and discerning what’s valuable in our lives. There is some real truth to the old joke about proving that “dog is man’s best friend.” All you have to do is lock your dog in the trunk of a car and do the same to a person you might consider your best friend, and then observe which of them is happier to see you when you let them out. The dog is so sure that you meant them no harm that all is forgotten and forgiven the instant the scary situation is over. May we all have that much faith in God as we encounter the seemingly scary events we don’t fully understand in our own lives. If God is with us, who but ourselves can be against us?