my life as a dog


Create in me a clean heart, O God.
 Renew a
loyal spirit within me.

Do not banish me from your presence,
 and don’t take your Holy Spirit
from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
 and make me
willing to obey you.

P S A L M  5 1 : 1 0 - 1 2


i'm a dog person. and a cat person. and a pony person. ok, i just love animals in general. but i must admit, dogs have truly stolen my heart.  i've consistently had a canine companion in my life for 22 consecutive years.  and even earlier, as a child, we always had a dog (or cats, rats, or rabbits).  our current doggie-children are 2 chocolate labs, Kai (8 yrs) and Sydney (2 yrs).   i have a love/hate relationship with them. ok, no. i don't ever hate them. but there are definitely moments when they drive me insane! and i want to kick them.  i don't. because they are too quick and clever and they can escape my reach when if i were to ever try.  i'm kidding of course, but they most definitely have a few issues.  
one issue they have, which is very normal for dogs, is their pack-mentality.  i guess we all possess this to some degree, that need to be included and accepted as part of a pack.  they MUST be with us, their pack, at ALL TIMES! i don't care if i walk from the kitchen table to the trash can and go right back to the table, usually one of them must accompany me.  up the stairs. down the stairs.  to the bathroom, for pete's sake. seriously. it's weird. and yet so sweet, too.  dogs are loyal that way. they just love you.
another issue they have is selective hearing.  there are moments when i'm sure they understand every word i say, sometimes before i even utter the word.  
do you see the look on this dogs face??? she is clearly guilty and knows exactly what i'm yelling telling her at this moment.
 other times, i'm absolutely positive they do not understand english.  for example, the dogs must accompany me to the barn to feed the horses everyday.  pack-mentality.  one of our horses, Buddy, requires special senior feed as he is getting advanced in years and has trouble keeping weight on. well, the dogs LOVE this feed.  and Buddy is so nice, he's happy to share.  however, my dogs DO NOT need to put on extra weight!  you see my dilemma?  so, i throw out hay first and then give Buddy his food so the dogs have less time to harass Buddy and steal his food.  when it's time to head back to the house, i say..."Kai, Syd...COME!" Sydney {almost always} responds immediately.  i think because she's lived here and been around the horses since she was a little puppy. Kai, on the other hand, we brought here from CA and is a little more set in his ways.  we taught Sydney from the get-go to come when called. Kai, well, i think some gaps remain in his training.  there have been countless times i've had to REALLY work at not losing my temper with him, as i call and call and call.  when he doesn't respond, it drives me insane!  i know he knows, because when i finally walk towards him with a VERY angry look on my face he puts his tail between his legs and his ears down like..." i know! i'm coming!! it's just that this horse feed is SO good i just couldn't stop eating it!!! and Buddy doesn't care anyway...." that's what i imagine he's saying anyway.  
my point in all this is that recently, as i have had daily interactions with my dogs, i have imagined myself in their position...and God in mine.  i'm completely aware of my tendency toward delayed obedience.  i don't desire to disobey. and yet, as my spirit is willing...my flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)  i wonder, sometimes, at Gods mercy and grace.  is he as irritated with me as i am with my dogs? silly, in a sense, i realize. and yet, i see myself in them...ridiculous as that sounds!  it makes me think... what keeps me from immediate obedience? why take advantage of the kindness and patience of my savior?   i don't like that about me. Psalm 51 is written on my heart. i want it to be said of me... a clean heart, a loyal spirit, a willingness to obey.