Friday, August 26, 2011

Puppy lessons,part 3: a loyal friend

“…in everything give thanks…” -1 Thess. 5:18

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Maisy, our 7-month-old yellow lab puppy. My last few blogs about her reflected an immature, out of control crazy dog! Of course, that’s how all puppies are- impulsive and wild. But as time has passed, Maisy has settled down. Honestly, I’ve been so focused on her messes that I’ve missed some of her victories. It’s so easy to do with a dog and certainly as easy with our kids.

Victory #1: she’s learned to “deposit” in yard. This is huge. I was cleaning up multiple puddles and poop in the garage every morning and with the weather getting hot, well…it was gross. But suddenly, without any warning, she apparently decided she didn't like the smell either, and now the garage floor is squeaky clean. Teens too, without warning, seemingly get “tired of the smell,” and often just decide to behave with more responsibility. Even with all the research and techniques, kids often just get better. Even the professionals aren't sure why. It’s a reminder to us as parents to keep training and teaching our kids because often, time is on our side.

Victory #2: she’s learned to “sit” upon command. With the use of a choke collar, it took a few strolls around the driveway, a few yanks on the chain and voilà, she had it down. The great thing about sitting is her spirit after she sits. It’s less about sitting and more about her attitude. When she sits, she has a noticeable submissive spirit. She knows that when she sits, she’s pleasing her master. Teens too, regardless of how they appear, desire to please parents. Sure, there’s the defiant sin nature that wants what it wants now. By the way, if you doubt the existence of sin nature, pull up a chair in your church nursery this Sunday and watch the babies. They’re sweet all right, but they also are…needy. But when teens are obedient, they dispel the rebellion and feel their own sense of accomplishment and peace.

Victory #3: she’s learned to go to her bed when a car is pulling into the garage. She learned this lesson the hard way. When she was a small puppy, our rule was to never pull in or out of the garage without someone holding her. We’d heard about too many dogs that were accidentally run over by their masters. Sad. But she began to sit to one side as we pulled in, so we left her on her own. One day, as Jeanie was pulling in, Maisy got too close to the car and she got bumped. Ever since, she runs to her bed when the garage door is going up or down. She learned the lesson the hard way, but she learned the lesson. Often, kids are left to learn their lessons the hard way. We can only hold them so long before they’re left to figure it out on their own. We can only hope they don't get too bruised.

Victory #4: she’s become a friend. Don't get me wrong: I’ve always liked Maisy. But as a crazy pup, my goal in being with her was to avoid chaos. Lately, after I walk her through a few “obedience laps” on the driveway, we sit together and she let’s me just rub her belly. No squirming, no biting, just being a friend. Now don't get me wrong, she can still be a kamikaze pilot flying through the yard, but she’s a loyal friend. Don't miss the friendship with your kids. Teens can appear that they only want to be with their peers, but deep inside, they cherish the time going to get ice cream or just sitting on the deck talking. Don't let the roll of the eyes fool you. They cherish the time with you.

Don't miss the bright spots with your animals or your kids. Don't be too busy to recognize the victories.

It brings peace, satisfaction, contentment and maybe a good ole belly rub!

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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