Thursday, September 27, 2012


I learned another lesson from my dog today.

I was - or, rather, we were - practicing the "wait" before eating. I know many dogs live with unlimited access to the food bowl, and eat whenever they feel hungry, but I am strongly in the camp that says "dogs should learn that all good things come from their masters," and I don't give Reya a free buffet. She doesn't just find food in her bowl - I give it to her.

Or rather, I allow her to have it.

However you prefer to feed your dog, if you have ever once sat by a heaping food bowl with deep, hungry, eager, brown eyes riveted to yours - waiting for your command before eating....adoring won't soon forget the experience.

So there we were, sitting on the back deck, waiting. The lesson for this afternoon was to wait a long period of time - calmly - with the food sitting very close.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Reya was hungry. She couldn't wait to eat. But she knew I claimed the food, and I would not allow her to so much as touch the bowl. (She wasn't actually starving - I'm not cruel!) I didn't touch her, but my voice and body language made her keep her distance.

Even though she was obeying me - waiting - she wasn't really waiting inside. Inside her brain, she was jumping up and down, begging, crying, pleading to be able to devour the food. I wanted her to be calm - patient inside and outside.

When she finally quieted, and as I finally released her with an "okay!", she stepped forward to calmly enjoy her well-earned meal. I couldn't help thinking of God - the Ultimate Giver of all good gifts. How many times has He wanted to give me something good, but not been able to because I wasn't calm? How many times have I waited impatiently, and wondered why He wouldn't answer?

Reya waits because I tell her to. Somehow, in her doggy brain, she understands that I'm a higher power; I am the boss. But that knowledge wouldn't be enough, if she didn't trust me.

After all - what if the food vanished, after all that waiting? What if she starved to death because I made her wait? What if a big, hungry dog comes along and takes the food from me, before I can give it to her? What if? What if?

Lots of bad things could happen because she obeyed me. But she trusted me to keep them from happening.

Wow. She trusted me. That truly just dawned on me as I wrote it. She obeyed because she trusted.

I think my dog understands the spirit world better than I do, sometimes.

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