I don’t know why I have such high expectations for the animals that I choose to own. Maybe those expectations were formed because of reruns of great shows such as Flipper (though I never owned a dolphin), Lassie or Fury…. or maybe it was Lady, my cousin’s collie who was incredible well behaved… or Babe, my uncle’s dog that was showbiz intelligent…..or Benji. How could I forget Benji? Whatever the reason, with a little training, I knew it couldn’t possibly be that difficult for my very own dog to become something of legend… nothing short of a human on four paws.
So let’s see, first there was Gustavia. Gussy was a little white poodle who chased cars, chased cattle and rolled in manure… smart dog. Then later came Rascal. An adorable little dachshund that turned out to be an incredible bully in the amateur dog show circuit. Then there was Sam. Another poodle who, for all practical purposes, was a pretty good dog, but he did bark at himself in the mirror. (Wouldn’t it be funny if people acted surprised to see themselves in the mirror each time?) There were more pets down the line… Buddy 1, Buddy 2, Bandit… and some cats, hamsters, and even a skunk (Yes, you read that correctly) but none have met the superstar expectations that I have believed in for so long… that is, until recently… .
Now, our ever-lovable shih-tzu, Moses P. Diddy Hall (a.k.a. Moe) is a dog that when told to sit, he sits…. well, he might lie down…. or possibly he will continue to go about what he was doing. He is also a dog that wears a diaper… well, technically it is a “belly belt” but you get the idea. Moe also knows to get in his bed when told, he knows to “hit the rock”(our family’s ultra hip term for shaking paws), he knows to go to the car when the van door opens. He even hates hanging out at the dog park… he waits by the exit gate until we are ready to take him home. See, it is hard for me to decide if either Moe is very intellegent and just pretending to be a dog to get out the whole “work dog” group, or if he is just like all of my other dogs in the past…. just a regular ol’ dog. I have been leaning toward the regular ol’ dog thing for quite some time, that is, until one night not too long ago.
Moses P. Diddy Hall is not allowed to be on the couch. He has his bed. He has his spot near our feet. He is totally fine not to be on the couch, but on occasion there are those special times where we give in and give him some supervised couch time. Such as it was on that evening when I was certian that Moses P. Diddy Hall would be paying for my children’s college education. I was sitting on the couch and Moe was comfortably resting on my daughter who was on the couch next to me. Allison’s position was perfect as she laid on her back because if I turned my head slightly then Moe and I were face to face.
As Moe and I looked at each other, just as usual, I said something to him. I can’t even remember what it was but when I said it, something amazing happened. Moe began to talk back!…. and I’m not talking barking kind of talk… it was conversation kind of talk. Now, I might not have thought anything about it if I hadn’t seen the youtube clip of funny talking dogs but I knew Moe was trying to tell me something. I kept asking him, “What is it, Moe?” And he kept voicing something that was clearly a concoction of vocal movements that were trying to form words. To get him to continue his talking ability I started looking at him and saying things like, “Mama” (I never think of my dogs as kids so this was very awkward for me) and ” I love you.” Moe would look at me and try to repeat it.
I was so excited I could hardly believe it. I had a plan. He and I were going to work on this daily until he could speak in conversation. I started counting the dollars in my head. I called my husband, who was out of town (explanation of the couch time that Moe was getting), and told him the whole story. He didn’t share my enthusiasm.
The following day, Moses P. Diddy Hall and I went to work. I got down in his face and began talking to him. “Mama,” I said. Moe looked at me. “Mama,” I continued. Still Moe looked at me. I changed my pitch. I changed my tempo. Moe looked at me then cocked his head and looked away. It was time to change my game plan. I began the whole, ” I love you” verbiage. Moses P. Diddy Hall looked at me and walked away. I didn’t get it.
I began telling my story to anyone who would listen. My husband, my other daughters, but it was while I was telling a friend about my incredibly talented, Hollywood bound dog that would surely be whisked away to star in his own movie, when my hopes and dreams for him came to an abrupt halt. Allison felt it was time that she stepped in and prevented me from the inevitable… making a fool of myself. She quietly pulled me to the side and said, “Mom, I was blowing in his face.” It seems that the only reason Moe was “talking” was because he apparently doesn’t like to have someone blowing in his face. I was stunned. Moe is just a plain ol’ dog …. he is no different than any other dog that I have ever had. After the initial shock of the whole confession, I found it all quite funny. Fortunately, I was halted from looking like a fool and fortunately, I listened to what she had to say.
I wish faith was that simple. You know, something like….we may be a bit out of line, acting foolishly, forgetting to include God in our everyday life and then we are told we are being a bit foolish and we fall back into line…. that would be simple. I guess sometimes it might be that way, but there are those other times when we get so busy doing the right things in life that we may not realize we are doing them on our own…..depending on our human ability rather than trusting in God’s ability. In Galatians, Paul comes down pretty hard on the people. He even states that they are being deceived and they don’t even realize it because they are so caught up in living by the religious law that they have forgotten about what Christ did for them/us all. Still today, we may not be in Galatia, but we still tend to lean on our human ability, thoughts and decisions rather than allowing God to guide our way. I wonder what would happen if we all began to lean on the gift God gave us rather than wearing ourselves down and eventually looking foolish……
If Moses P. Diddy Hall really had the gift of gab, I’m sure he’d have the answer.
1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.