Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lessons from a Bipolar Dog

In a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, a half Yorkshire Terrier and half Jack Russell Terrier lives in a home she constantly tries to conquer. Trixie, named thus because Psychopath did not fit on the doggie record, wants to be the big dog. Paul, the owner of the home and my brother-in-law, refuses to allow Trixie’s domination. After spending over a week with my sister, her husband and two kids, I have come to love Trixie, despite her obvious mental deficiencies and constant desire for control.
Six months ago, my sister and her family decided to adopt a dog. A friend told her about Trixie, a sweet dog with some problems, that was headed for death, unless adopted. Little did Karen know, Trixie’s history included some sort of abuse involving abandonment or separation.
Trixie’s number one problem is with doors. Suppose you go to a door and decide to walk through it. Trixie shows up on your heels. Being a friendly human, you ask the dog if she, too, would like to go through the door, whether it leads outside or to another room. Trixie’s eyes say yes. However, she won’t go. No budging. So you go through and shut the door behind you. Trixie now goes insane. I mean, insane. Yelping and barking and screeching. The psychopath, bi-polar, schizophrenic sides of this sweet dog appear.
And apparently Trixie has gotten much better, under the guidance, consistent discipline and love of the Pratts. Whatever family could not handle her anymore has lost out on a wonderful little dog. The Pratts are the richer for this sweet thing, inconvenient as her sometime behavior might be.
So what have I received from this dispensary of doggie disorders? Well, three lessons have I learned:
  1. Everyone Freaks Out Once in a While!
Sometimes it is a door closing and sometimes it is a door opening. How many times has God provided opportunities for me and instead of going through them or walking away, I sit, paralyzed in fear, which leads to freaking out born of indecision. Doors can be scary. But with the guidance, consistent discipline and love of the Father, I am finding that doors to adventure are not to be avoided and they are not to be catalysts for chaos. They are simply opportunities to experience life. And if the door leads to something not so great, just wait a while. Another door will open. God has a way with this. Didn’t Jesus say, “I am the Door.” Hmmm…
  1. Everyone Needs to Play!
Trixie is fast. When I watch her run, she actually bounds and leaps. She is a speed dog. But it’s cold in Ohio and she can’t stay out all the time in the cold, so indoors she often makes her wishes known. She wants to play. One of her favorite toys is a rope perfect for tug of war. She will pick it up and bring it to whomever she deems worthy of a play date and drop it at their feet. Then with eyes that don’t hint at insanity, she pleads. (Think of Puss N Boots’ eyes in the Shrek movies.) As I’ve watched and yes, sometimes been chosen, to play with this dog, I’ve realized how important play is to all of us. I’m in Ohio to be with my sister who is fighting through cancer. But this has not been a depressing time. She is in a battle and she is winning. And though she gets tired a lot, she wants to PLAY! Karen invites others, those she deems worthy, to share in her Joy with her. My sister’s laugh is loud and boisterous like my dad’s. What a kick to hear it OFTEN during my time. What a delight to sit with her in a movie theater and feel the joy emanating from my womb-mate? How cool to play Words with Friends with her and keep up! The girl knows how to play, even during a battle.
  1. Everyone Can Offer Comfort, Even a Psychopathic Dog
Trixie is not just a playful psycho. She is also a comforter. Karen told me that after her surgery and now, Trixie sits with her and they take naps. No schizophrenia in sight. Just a dog loving her master and offering a little bundle of fur to comfort. We can all comfort each other, in difficult and not so difficult times. And Trixie doesn’t speak. She just sits with Karen. The best kind of comfort – her presence. God does that kind of comforting often. He sits with us. His presence is supernatural and cozy and warm and wonderful. I’m learning that like Trixie and God, I don’t have to talk and talk to comfort. I don’t have to do much at all. But I have to be. Our presence for those around us who need us, is a vital comfort.
I miss my own dogs Scooby and Thor and I pray they never read this. I’d never hear the end of it. But meeting and getting to know Trixie has been an added blessing on this trip. Dogs are such incredible gifts.
Until, of course, a door opens.


Deb Wilden said...

I love this Blog and can really relate to this dog and you. I am so glad the Lord uses anything and anyone to get out attention and then direct it to His wonderful Love and ways. I pray for more laughter in these times of great trial and for that cute doggie to be such a blessing every single day and a comfort to your Sis and to you and to all in the house hold. may the Lord Shine upon all of you during this time and thank you Lord for using this cute funny dog to bring your Love and character during this time. Love Deb

Deb Wilden said...

Hope you get and liked my comment! Love Deb

Robbie Iobst said...

Thank you Deb. You are such a sweet friend and faithful prayer warrior. And with that sweet old Delilah, you know how dogs can be ministers of love and lessons. :)

Jeannee said...

YES what you wrote about a dog giving the Godly gift of presence! I definitely saw that w/ my CoCo & Johnny next door (part of a longer story, but I won't go there right now).