Both my dogs have rejected me. They are lousy, two-timing, ungrateful mutts who have little regard for the hand that feeds them, clothes them (well, buys their collars) and provides a roof over their furry little heads. They are dog adulterers, and the worst thing about it is they cheat right in front of me.
My friend Lori came to visit me this week. She is a doggie whisperer, a canine temptress, a hound harlot. Even as I type these words, she’s sitting across the room from me, holding CJ in her lap while he cuddles and snuggles and kisses her again and again.
Right. In. Front. Of. Me.
Seriously. He even slept with her last night. In my house.
Ginger is the same way. As soon as Lori stepped out of her car, Ginger claimed her. In fact, I have no doubt my fickle dog is outside roaming the countryside so she can show up at the door with some kind of rotting rodent or dead bone, which is totally the pooch presentation of roses and chocolate. And they’ll be for her.
What have I done to deserve this kind of ill-bred behavior? Am I not young enough? Pretty enough? Do my clothes not smell bacon-y enough? Am I buying the wrong brand of treats? I just don’t know. But the whole thing has really flea-and-ticked me off.
Except, I get it.
I like Lori too, which is the very reason I invited her here for the weekend. Both writers, our friendship goes back nearly a decade when we met at a writer’s conference. We immediately connected—with the same particular brand of awkwardness and anxiety, which we both wore quite well with our L’Oreal lipstick and bubblegum-pink nail polish. Our kids are similar in age and our self-deprecating humor is similar in sentiment.
So basically, my dogs are cheating on me with me.
And considering Lori has had a heck of a decade herself, I’m really not as put out as I pretend to be. Her son went through chemo twice. She broke her leg and her shoulder in two different incidents. Really, the list is too long to fit in the miniscule space my editor allows me. And in the face of it all, she smiles. She laughs. She looks for ways she can lift up the people around her.
Dang. Even I like her better than I like me.
Maybe my dogs aren’t really cheaters. They’re just awesome little fur-people who sense, in the deepest part of their psyches, that her battery needs recharging. They’re pouring compassion and kindness into her spirit the only way they know how, and she’s soaking it in.
I raised them well.
I wish I were as intuitive as my dogs. How many times have I shared space with a person who needs gentle consideration and offered nothing more than a nod before walking away? How often have I been so self-absorbed, I failed to offer basic human courtesy? I want to be the kind of grace-infusing person who brings healing to others, but I’m afraid I fall short.
Maybe I could start—instead of a humane society—a humanity society, where members seek to develop a hound-like intuition, sniffing out those who need a little extra mercy, a little extra affection, a little extra tenderness. What if we all joined and offered those things in the best way we could? We could be like hounds of heaven, ambassadors of love to everyone we meet. Just like my dogs.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,” Colossians 3:12.