Lessons From My Dog Andy

Photo by J. HuffmanWhite curly hair.  Fluffy spaniel ears.   The muscular build of a Jack Russell terrier.  And a fountain tail that spills all over his back.  This is Andy, our 6 1/2-year-old bichon frise.

A bichon frise, in plainer English, is what my husband Al calls ” a poodle on steroids.”   As you can see, his curly coat is the about only thing he has in common with his snooty French cousin.

Andy is my constant companion because he is in the truest sense of the word, a lapdog.  When I’m at work at my desk, he is at my feet.  When I’m reading in a chair, he is squeezed in beside me.  When in bed, he’s somewhere nestled against Al or me; even if it is hotter than blue blazes, that is where he must be.

A writer whose blog I follow, Cara Putnam, wrote about her dog’s influence on her a few weeks ago.  Also Scarlet Chasteen, wife of our retired pastor of 23 years Don Chasteen, shared a wonderful talk back in February entitled “What My Dog Has Taught Me About God.”  I’ve given this topic some real thought and thought I’d take a shot at it.

  • It’s good to stick close

At first I wasn’t too sure about a dog whose main idea of a good time was just to be next to me, but I’ve gotten used to it.

I have realized this is a valuable insight into how near I want to be to my loving Lord.  I should crave to be sheltered by His wing, inside His care, under His watchful eye.  Of course, the Lord is always that near to me.  The Bible says He never departs from me.  But how many times do I push away in my self-sufficiency, thinking I’ve got everything handled on my own?  I’m ashamed to say, too many.

The older I get and longer I am a child of God, the more I want to abide with Him, inside the warmth of His care, want Him to work through a surrendered me.  I get tired of seeing what I can do.  I want to become less, so He can become more.

  • It’s good to rest

Andy is a champion napper.  When I get up in the morning, his favorite place to be is snuggled in bed, next to whomever is sleeping the latest.  Whenever anyone in my house is fortunate enough to have a little down time and can steal time for a nap, he’s right there, begging to go too.  I don’t know what it is, but I think the little fellow has built-in radar to sense a person’s weariness.

Andy teaches me that I need to learn to rest better, to take advantage of those opportunities when the Lord says “Rest.”  Sometimes I get so busy in the day-to-day, I miss those chances to come away and just be.  Our bodies were not made to perform constantly without ensuing consequences.  I have to read the signals my body gives me and adjust my expectations accordingly.

  • It’s good to be content in little things

For Andy, dinnertime (at approximately 5:00 every evening, because he reminds me) is good.   He does a really good rendition of the “Snoopy happy dance.”

A red rubber ball with a squeaky tossed across the room is good.

A scratching all over, with accompanying belly rub by one of his humans, is good, too.

I am learning to be content in the little things God sends my way.  Although I will always have the joy of my salvation (thank you, G.C., for reminding me of this very truth recently), I also have contentment in blessings too numerous to count.  The blessing of my salvation and wonderful church family; of my earthly family; the basics of shelter/food/clothes; the  jobs God uses to help pay our bills; of an absolutely stunning day outside that He allows me to witness and enjoy.

Happiness is overrated and fleeting.  Contentment is the real deal and won’t change.  When I younger, I always looked forward to the next “big thing”—be it vacation, holiday, celebration, fun times.  Now that I’m older and wiser, those “big” things don’t hold a candle to the daily sprinklings of His pleasure He shows me.  He’s God.  And He’s Good, All The Time.

Would you pray with me?  Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the flesh-and-blood lessons You put into our lives to point us up to You.  If we look hard enough, we can see Your love and pleasure written all over them. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!  May be never be bashful to share Your wonders, the amazing insights You reveal.  We love You, LORD!  Only through Jesus Christ can we come to You, Amen.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn