Friday, December 08, 2006

Dog's Rule

Charlie With Pine Cone
Originally uploaded by luckyrob.

Rule Number One (almost) in the training of a new puppy is that they shouldn’t growl at you as they eat their food. To my great dismay my pup, Bennie, broke this rule. In fact he was downright hostile when protecting a rib-bone. The solution that I found online having Googled “growling over food bowl” was to divide his dinner up into four identical servings which I presented to him in identical bowls. I'd put one bowl down, let him eat, then pick it up and give him the next. What Bennie was to learn through this exercise was that whenever I took one delight away it was to give him yet another. In time, Bennie trusted me and my intentions enough that I could feed him in a single bowl. If I came near while he was eating he wasn’t worried. He didn’t growl. Now, he even trusts me enough to come on his own accord and curl up against my belly while he chews his precious rawhide delights.

Now, why do I bother to mention all this? Because sooner or later Life and the Powers That Be will snatch out from under each of us that which we hold to be most precious in our life. Sooner or later, we all will know loss.

Maybe we will be lucky and the loss will fall within the realm of "the natural order of things." We expect to lose our parents. We don’t expect to lose a child. We expect to lose our partners… if they are older or no longer deserving. But, how much more painful if we are betrayed by infidelity or disease. We expect to lose our physical prowess… but only as we slowly age. We feel betrayed by the accidental and uncalled for-be it aberrant gene or the drunk driver that crosses the median headon into us.

But, have we really been betrayed, tricked, or forgotten by "On High?"

I don’t think so. Or at least no more so than Bennie when I whisk the bowl out from under his nose, or pry his jaws apart to remove a plastic bottle cap he's found. I have a bigger picture in my mind than little Bennie does. And by and large (though I do have my slip-ups) I act in his best interests whenever I take away his latest, greatest love.

I have to have the faith that Life/God - That all pervading Intelligence that plays and displays Creation- is at least as caring as I am for my dog. And if God doesn’t choose to guide my development by dividing my dinner into equal portions placed on identical plates … well, maybe He’s giving me credit for having a bit more brain to work with than Bennie has been blessed with.

And maybe, He’s simply encouraging me to develop the simple love and trust a little dog can have.