Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Joy of a Dog

Have I told you lately how much I love having a dog in my life?

I had no idea it would be this much fun or multi-faceted.

Sure, I anticipated that she'd be glad to see me when I got home, and that the studies about lowered blood pressure would probably prove true.

But there's a million other super-cool reasons why I love caring for a dog.

She shows me the WORLD with our daily adventures.

My eyes haven't spent this much time enjoying the simple contours of the grass and ground since I was a kid playing on that level.

Because of Macy, I get to watch the sun rise almost every day.

Because of Macy, I’m getting regular exercise. I run with her as often as I can. The fresh air invigorates me, the quiet clears my head, and when you’re there to watch the day begin, it’s as if anything could be possible today.

Because of Macy, I've discovered some very beautiful places that are just a short walk from my back door. These pictures are of the serene pasture that adjoins my property. We went exploring it today!

Hilarious things happen when we go on our daily walks. An odd thing will startle my girl, or the silliest thing will excite her.

Lawn ornaments are approached with cautious curiosity, and on our walk this morning, she encountered nothing less than a fake deer! (Can you see the deer in the last photo of this blog?)

When Macy stares endlessly up at a tree who's just had a squirrel dash up its trunk, I behold the tree just as long. I had not pondered the beauty of trees with quite the same length of time as I do now.

Trees are absolutely gorgeous creatures, and they have majesty. I knew it before, but I know it even more intimately now.

This pondering, this quiet waiting, this gentle examination of my surroundings...has caused me to find peace in places that I did not have it before, such as the check-out line at the grocery store.

I do not mind waiting now because any pause is like a little mint candy of refreshment. It will only last temporarily, so it ought to be enjoyed.

There's this indescribable joy that only dog owners know. I see it in the twinkle of the eyes of other “dog people” who tell me that unless you’ve owned a dog, you just don’t know.

Dogs are sloppy eaters, and when you watch your love eat a dog biscuit with ferocious joy, spreading a million crumbs all over the place, you cannot help but fall more deeply in love with her in this moment than you were with her in the previous one.

And I’ll say it, since none of you other dog owners will: There is something special about cleaning up a dog’s poop. It is disgusting and smells awful, but when I clean up after her, I am giving her dignity. I am also humbling myself in this world. And humble actions give me dignity because it pleases God.

I would imagine that parents of a little baby experience something similar to this, yet it is a far more greater joy. They are doing the dirtiest job ever—without complaint—for the dignity of the little person they love.

Whether they’re changing diapers, dabbing up spittle, or cleaning up throw-up, they would never show that baby that it is displeasing to them.

Parents clean up and wash with a joyful smile on their face, and--before long--they have convinced themselves that it is a privilege. And indeed it IS!

I find myself driving home, eager to see my dog’s reaction to my arrival. I find myself wanting to stay home some nights, simply because I want to talk to my dog, hug my dog, and walk even farther with my dog.

I can’t get enough of this golden retriever. She is everything I could have hoped for—and then tons more!

Thank you, God, for her presence in my life! May she be enjoyed by me for as long as You will it!