“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 ESV)
It was a cold, Winter’s day. Even with clear skies and the sun shining down the temperature hadn’t gotten above 10 degrees all day long. I listened to the heater kick on and zipped up my sweater. I had finished with all my work and now just wanted to relax and read in my nice, warm bed. I fluffed up a pillow behind my head, turned the television to the music from the 70’s channel and opened up my book. I smiled, laid back, and got ready to take it easy. I should have known better.
“SWEETIE, NO!”, my son yelled from the living room. Suddenly in flew a four-legged bundle of brown fur. She jumped on my bed, burrowed behind my pillow and stuck her head on my shoulder. “Sweetie, what have you done now?”, I asked. She didn’t answer just looked at me guiltily with her ears down, her eyes squinted, and her lower teeth sticking out. I laughed when a I saw her this way and petted her head to let her know I forgave her. Already that day she had barfed up bits of her chew bone, tore up the corner of my quilt, and peed in the floor when I was putting on my coat to walk her. I kept petting her while her body relaxed and her resting guilt face slowly turned into a happy pant. Then she licked my cheek and nibbled my ear with her under-bite. I laughed again and said, “Sweetie, I love you but you are one ornery puppy.”
I sometimes wonder what my life would be like without dogs in it. My house sure would be cleaner, the furniture wouldn’t be chewed on, the floors wouldn’t be scratched, and dog hair wouldn’t be all over my clothes. But I would also have a lot less laughter, a lot less love, and a lot less joy in my life. I think I would take a dog’s love and a dirty house any day of the week.
Of all the blessings and gifts God gives us in this life, I will always put dogs right at the top of the list. They are our best friends and greatest teachers of love, even the ornery ones.
Joseph J. Mazzella