Posted by: ritagone | April 24, 2013

Dogs Are Us

Dogs looking out

We have a year old pup named Watson.  She’s a Havanese, a breed not too familiar with many people yet, small and compact, hypoallergenic, non-shedding, great with kids, friendly to all.  You’ve seen plenty of pictures of her and her half-brother Sherlock (get it? Sherlock and Watson!!) on Facebook if you’re friends with me there.  We love our dogs, we do.

Watson is the cutest, cuddliest black and white bundle of joy you’d ever want to meet.  (She’s the one on the right in the photograph here.)  She never stops licking.  If licking were a sign of loving you, this little dog would be over the top with emotion.  That little pink tongue is constantly trying to reach flesh, to let you know how much she cares about you.  Any part of you.  And any person, for that matter.  She is a non-discriminatory lover of people.  She loves everybody, and you can’t help but love her back when you see her enthusiasm for your person.  The expression on your face at times like this is sheer joy, laughter, smiles.  She makes me happy.

And then you come home one afternoon thinking she’s safely tucked away in her pen in the kitchen and realize that she has learned to push in key spots on the soft fabric of its walls and collapse the pen.  And escape.  And when she escapes, nothing is safe. Or sacred.  She’s a chewer and a destroyer of things.  Pens, toilet paper, magazines, reading glasses.  You name it, she has destroyed it.  As indiscriminating as her love is, so is her destruction.  She cuts a wide swath through any room whose doors are not closed to her.  Whatever her eye sees, it is vulnerable to her whims.  And teeth.

At those times, she’s just not that adorable, if you know what I mean.  When my expensive leather jacket fell into her clutches and wound up with a tear at the elbow of one sleeve, I didn’t think she was so cute.  In fact, coming hard on the heels of another rampage wherein she chewed up several pens and a box of breath mints and spread bottled water around the room while eating the plastic cap, I was wondering if perhaps we wouldn’t be better off with one dog, the one who doesn’t chew and destroy, and finding another home for Miss Watson.

And then it came to me: Watson’s dual, split personality is a lot like mine: I can be friendly, sociable, likeable, someone you’d like to spend a great deal of time with.  And then, in the blink of an eye, if I “escape” what usually controls or binds me, I can be malicious, vindictive, tearing things (people) to shreds, not happy if I don’t have my own way.  In short, not a very pleasant person to be around.  In fact, I’m sure Michael at these times has contemplated finding another home for me.

And then I realize that God loves me at my most malevolent, when I bark too much (as Watson is prone to do), or when I am not so much the cute puppy as the mangy mutt I unfortunately can so easily be.  He loves me whether I’m biting or licking, but of course He prefers me to be a licker – a lover – rather than a fighter and a biter.

I am so blessed.  I am so fortunate.  Like Watson, I am taken care of, looked after, loved beyond recognition, by a God who puts up with an awful lot from me.  But unlike Watson, I understand this, I know about God’s love and grace, and that makes me all the more appreciative.  Watson just mindlessly expects everything in her world to revolve around her, good or bad, destructive or happy.  She doesn’t have any sense of doing something wrong or doing something right.  She just IS.  I, on the other hand, know when I’ve blown it, and therefore I know the amazing grace of a God who says, “Come back into my arms anyway.”

If I had a tail like Watson’s, it would be wagging right about now.


  1. I’m with you, Rita. I behave badly at times and regret it so much later. Denny has much more patience than I. It’s so good to know that someone else is as in love with their dogs as we are. Cathy

  2. I am constantly learning from my cute dog Cassie! Thanks for sharing your own wonderful “what I learned about life, love and God from my puppy”

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