Saturday, July 22, 2006

Off leash

My dog is unique. He's smart, soft, friendly, and the perfect size. He's the best damn dog in the world, and I'm not quite sure how I got to be his lucky owner. That is, I know the mechanics (it was a package deal when I got married), but you know what I mean.

My dog is great with kids. He's tender and gentle all the time, and toddlers seem to have a special affinity for him. I think he has helped rehabilitate a lot of kids who were previously scared of dogs! When it comes to other animals though, he's a complete wuss. I've seen him startled by rabbits before and high tail it away before they can capture him in their evil clutches. Let's just say some of his instincts are a little mixed up. Anyway, this is all to say that his personality is sensitive and guileless. And every once in a while it reminds me of myself.

The relationship between me and my dog is a metaphor for my relationship with God. And now that I'm sans family for a while, I can't help but think I'm just like my dog off leash. He loves the opportunity to let loose. He'll sprint until he can't sprint any more. If I call him, he will come. Most of the time. But if he really wants to explore and he's feeling a bit oppressed, he'll take his time coming when he's called. If he's out of sight, he might not come at all. And when he's off leash and having a hey day, he might even roll in something smelly. I often wonder if there isn't a better way to help him understand that I call him to come when he is in danger. He doesn't realize how easily he could be hit by a car around here. He just thinks "come" means an end to his fun. An end to his freedom.

When he finally does come and he's covered in duck crap, I can be pretty pissed off. But I can't scold him because he did come after all. It would be a mixed message. I bathe him and help him get cleaned up again. And then when he's dry we'll snuggle in a frenzy of reciprocal affection. And I just try to remember to reinforce his obedience by rewarding him when he does come and letting him know that I love him regardless.


Samantha said...

Okay, I loved the metaphor. I think it has a place in a seminary lesson for next year. If it doesn't, I'll MAKE a place for it.


Samantha said...

Oh yeah--do you need me to give you credit when I present this to my class, or shall I leave it as an anonymous anecdote????

Beck said...

The question is - when I'm off the leash and run for a bit of romp in the world, do I hear the call to come back? Can I hear that voice calling me now?

-L- said...

Sam, you are too funny! You don't even know who I am, so are you just going to cite -L- or give them the URL for the blog? :) You can use it without reference and thanks for asking.

Beck, dogs have great hearing. My pooch just likes to pretend he can't hear. Or he gets distracted. But I'm pretty sure if he pays attention he can hear me well before my tone of voice changes to "if you make me call one more time you're going to regret it" when I'm suddenly coming through loud and clear.

Samantha said...

Actually, I was vacillating between -L- (good pen name, by the way) and Landon. After all, there's a famous children's author called "Avi", so I see no reason why you can't be -L- or Landon.

But now that you mention it, I have two SSA students in my class(one of each gender), so it might be a good idea to keep the url handy...should be an interesting year...

Gay LDS Actor said...

I, too, love the metaphor. Very apropos.

Remind me of a lesson my cat taught me once. My cat was trying to get out of my bedroom. The dorr was cracke just a bit, and my cat didn't think she could get out. But I knew that if she just pushed the door with her head, she would be able to exit the room.

She kept meowing at me, and I kept saying, "You can do it. You can open the door by yourself. Just use your head."

Finally she stopped meowing and attempted to push the door open with her head, and the door swung open, just as I knew it would, and she left.

What it taught me is that sometimes God does the same thing with us. We're faced with a seemingly impossible task to deal with and we plead with God to "open the door," so to speak, for us, and He sometimes says, "You can do it. You can open the door yourself."

And then we do, and learn something about ourselves we never would have learned if God had done the work for us.

Anyway, my story really doesn't have much to do with yours, but it reminded me of it, and I thought I'd like to share it because it's a life lesson that has stuck with me ever since.

Aren't animals great?