Lucy is my dog. I want to be more like Lucy.
My wife’s friend Marilyn stopped by with her friend Gayle. The visit was intended to be brief as they had been at the hospital nearby all day. Gayle’s husband has had a grueling battle with throat cancer for the past 18 months. Gayle had only ever been to our house once before. The pain and stress of her dying husband was visible all over her. Her husband had recently contracted pneumonia and had been moved to full hospice. He was now unable to speak or move. His body was in its final shutting down process. His end was imminent.
Gayle’s 8-year-old twins had said their final goodbyes to their dad just earlier that day. When my wife Georgia asked how she was feeling she said, “My heart is broken into a million little pieces. I am completely lost.” And she started to cry. It was then that my dog Lucy went up to Gayle and put her chin on her thigh. After a few minutes Gayle got on her knees to pet Lucy. Lucy licked her tears, and for the first time in many months, Gayle smiled. Gayle hugged Lucy and really started to let it out. For the next hour Gayle shared the love she has for her husband and the pure anguish she has been going through. All the while Lucy never took her head off her lap. She never stopped comforting her.
Out of all of us there it was only Lucy who was willing to offer her unguarded love and comfort. Lucy showed me how I could be if I were more open to expressing and giving of my love. That day, and really most every day, my dog Lucy taught me how to be a better human.
Dog is God backwards. When I observe my Lucy or other dogs I often think this must be what God is like. Maybe that is why they are here—as our teachers.
If only we could learn to be more like dogs. Dogs are:
- Color blind – Black, white, Asian, Indian, Texan or Lithuanian, dogs see them all the same, love them all the same.
- Rich or Poor – Dogs are completely nonjudgmental. The wind in their face out of a VW bug is just as exhilarating as out of a Mercedes. They don’t care if you have a palace or a card board box. They love you, not your possessions.
- Easily entertained – They don’t need exotic travel and fancy vacations. A dusty stick and a willing arm is bliss.
- Joy – They express joy, readily and openly. With the slightest bit of your attention they wag their tail wildly.
- Enjoy – They constantly practice the art of stopping to smell the flowers. The warm morning sun streaming in the French doors or cool grass and a slight breeze is heaven on earth.
- Vulnerability – They readily exposed their belly to offer you their trust.
- Forgiving – No matter what you did or didn’t do to them an hour ago, they readily forgive and don’t hold grudges.
- Patient – They will wait all day for you to come home. Even if you are late they aren’t mad; they are only thrilled to see you.
- Tough – If they bang their head, they shake it off and don’t pout.
- Persistent – My Lucy is a gracious but persistent sales “person.” When she wants a little something from your plate she will sit a few feet from you and just stare at you with her big brown eyes. If that doesn’t work, she will daintily come up and place her chin on your thigh (as seen in the picture) and leave it there until you relent. If she had insurance to sell you, trust me, you’d be leaving our house with your new policy.
- Welcoming – Imagine how we could make people feel if we expressed our excitement every time we saw someone as a dog does every time you come home or someone stops by to visit. Every time I come home from traveling, it is my dogs (besides my beautiful wife of course!) that I am most excited to see. Why? I think because I know they are going to be so excited to see me.
Let’s not miss this opportunity to learn from God’s teachers. What has your dog taught you? How do you want to be more like your dog? Tell us in the comment section below.
(I am sad to report that Gayle’s husband passed away at 2 a.m., this past Sunday morning.)