Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Dog of my Heart
It concerns a dog.
When I was a child, we owned dogs. I remember Shep and Salt and Pepper and a brown mutt that is nameless in my memory. I don’t remember having any of those pets for a long time. But then there was Vida Blue, a little dog that became a part of our family. I remember him fondly, but not deeply. When I left for college, Vida Blue was still there and when Mama told me they had to put him down, I felt sad but very momentarily. It was just a dog, right?
Almost four years ago, Noah and I went to the Dumb Friends League and adopted a puggle. My friend Lan had told me that puggles were great with children. They presented two to us and one of them was little, quiet and almost scared. The other one was a pretty hefty dog who jumped all over Noah licking him. The big one was in constant motion. The little one seemed sweet. Reserved. I allowed Noah to choose, but I recommended the little one.
He chose the big one, Scooby.
For the first year, I regarded Scooby as a colon-blowing, chewing, howling menace. I tolerated him. When Scooby and I were alone, he would follow me around, often putting his head on my foot when I wrote. I'd often shake him off.
And God began to change my heart. I had no idea I possessed the capacity for such a fierce love of a dog. I used to make fun of dog people, behind their backs of course, and mock them for giving so much of themselves to four-legged pooping machines.
But now, four years later, I look at Scooby as part of our family. A precious addition to my life. My heart has grown two sizes like the Grinch. I love that Scooby cuddles with me on the couch. I love that he loves to sit on John’s lap at night. I love that even though I have a twelve-year-old that at times, terrorizes him, Scooby never bites Noah. Just loves him.
Last night, when I discovered that a former student had died, I cried. And Scooby was there beside me. This morning I woke up feeling horrible and I didn’t want to take my walk. Scooby was there, nudging me with his eyes. It could’ve been that he just needed to go to the bathroom, but he looked insistent. And as we took a forty-five minute walk around this giant open space near my home, I cried and poured out my heart to Jesus. And Scooby went with me. My faithful companion. The dog of my heart.
Thank God for our hearts. According to Proverbs 4:23, springs of life flow out of our hearts. And God uses them to teach us that we have more love to give than we know.
Even to a dog.