Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dog is God spelled backwards

A little over a week ago we adopted a dog, Megara, from the animal shelter during one of their adopt-a-pet weekends. My children have been asking me for years for a dog. Up until then I had always given them some very practical, fatherly, reason for not getting a dog. In reality, I was traumatized at age 11, when my pet dog, Nikki, ate lawn fertilizer and died. I found her lying on the sidewalk paralyzed. I picked her up and ran screaming and crying to my house. Neither of my parents were home, just me and my sisters. My oldest sister, Stacey, called a neighbor and we rushed her to a vet. It was too late. Nikki died. I was absolutely grief-stricken. I remember, at age 11, thinking how can I love a damn dog that much? I suppose I wanted to spare my children any such trauma.

Well, we have had Meg for a little over a week. She is a German Shepherd/Golden retriever mix. She is demure, sweet, quiet, obedient and a lovely creature. By adopting her, we rescued her from certain death. When we got her she had been in the shelter 3 months. All the shelter workers and volunteers loved her because of her sweetness. But time was drawing neigh for this lovely creature. So, I suppose my reason for relenting was to spare my children the trauma of knowing the dog would die if we did not bring her home. Does that make me a sucker? It doesn’t, just a Dad.

She was born and raised (she is 3 or 4 years-old) on a farm in Central Utah. She was neglected and starved. She was also abused, most likely by a man. She is scared of me, but she is warming up. Yesterday afternoon, for example, after we lay on the back lawn together, I brought her back in the house. After a little while I called her to me. She just stood, looking at me, looking like she wanted to come to me but wasn't quite sure she can yet trust me. It occurred to me that that is often how I am with God. God calls me to him, but I hold back, scared. I count the cost of going to God instead of just trusting him. I should be more like God, both with my dog and my children. That means being loving and patient and never, never giving up or letting them go. For anyone who's been a parent, or a child for that matter, that is easier said/written than done. "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love" (1 Jn 4,7b-8).

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