What Iv’e Learned From My Puppy

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A small, fluffy puppy was given to me by a friend who was moving with her family out of state, and couldn’t take her with them. I just couldn’t believe anyone could give her up. Fortunately for me they thought I would be someone they could trust her with. I didn’t know what to call her so I asked…”What’s her name?” The little girl said, ‘We call her ‘puppy, puppy.’ We renamed her ‘Tater’. I’d seen the puppy a few months before when the family came to visit. She was in the lap of the youngest daughter who had just received the adorable gift for her birthday. The girl was lovingly holding her precious cargo when the car pulled up to our door, and proudly lifted a tiny ball of fur toward the window for me to see. I instantly fell in love! I accepted the girl’s invitation to hold the puppy and decided to put her on the ground to see what she would do. As soon as her little feet hit the ground she noticed our Guinea hens quietly pecking at bugs in the flower beds. Before I knew what was happening, she was off and running. Panicked Guinea hens flew over our heads as ‘puppy- puppy’ continued the chase. The spunkiness of a dog no bigger than my hand amused me, so I let her have a ball until she wore herself out. Before the family left our place I told them ‘If for any reason you can’t keep this puppy…I’ll take her”. I never dreamed that my wish would come true. That was 13 years ago.

Tater’s been my guardian angel since the day she came to live with us; immediately making it her duty to watch out for me. She has followed my every step during the day and makes bed checks every night to see that I’m safely tucked in. I’ve come to affectionately call her my beautiful brown eyed girl. She seems to speak through them. I’m sure it’s love shining through. A year ago one of those beautiful brown eyes began to look a little cloudy. It is now completely white. The other one is beginning to show signs as well.

In spite of her failing sight Tater still considers herself responsible for my well being, and continues to fulfill her duty. Although she must now depend on her sense of smell to track me down, she won’t stop searching until she accomplishes her goal. It saddens me to watch her desperate attempts to locate me while banging into things, or running past me if I happen to be on her blind side. With heaviness of heart I’ve watched her sight slowly fade away. But, even in sad state of affairs such as this, a pearl of wisdom can be found.

What I’ve noticed during Tater’s decline in health is that her attitude has remained the same. Her constant joy is indescribable, and it is wonderfully contagious. Her physical limitations have not limited her ability to be who she has always been, nor has it kept her from showing love or from gratefully receiving it. She goes about the business of living as if nothing has changed—still as spunky and as happy as when she was a pup. She takes delight in living and enjoys every moment of her day. She senses that she is loved and rests peacefully in this assurance. She does not worry about going hungry or thirsty or having a roof over her head. She simply trusts. And is content…to be.

Why can’t we be more like Tater? Why do we allow circumstances to dictate our happiness? Why can’t we be content…to be? Why are we so easily dissatisfied? We say that we believe in God and trust that he will continue to supply our needs. But our minds won’t rest in this assurance. We waste our precious days worrying about everything under the sun, and most of the time our anxiety is unjustified. There are some very grim consequences to our emotional, physical and spiritual health when we continue living in doubt and fear. And, when our minds are occupied with trying to manipulate everything around us to meet our desires, we will not see the blessings that are already ours.

We are the only living being capable of being physically in one place and somewhere else in our heads. We create mental scenarios that take us to places we should not go, and these imaginings of ours have the power to affect us in negative ways. We will never have peace of mind when we choose to focus on the wrong things, get stuck in the past, and live in fear of our future. But our mind-sets are deeply etched and very hard to break. How can we begin to let things go and let God take control?

First, we’ve got to recognize which thoughts are bringing us down. Then when those thoughts come into our minds again we’ve got to choose not to dwell on them. We must train ourselves to immediately replace them with good, motivating and encouraging things instead. This will take dedicated practice.

These are lessons to be learned from Tater: To be content in all circumstances. To live with so much love and gratitude in our hearts that it shines through our eyes. To revel in being alive, enjoying every moment of our days. To trust that we are cherished, cared for and deeply loved by our caretaker.

If we compare the way Tater perceives her world, to the way most of us perceive ours–I would have to say that we are the ones who are blind.

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