Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dog & God

It has occurred to me, months after Rocket’s arrival, that he was a gift from God. He was sent to transition me from my adolescent views about life (where I only dreamt of what would be) into an adult view in which I see the happiness in the now.

Today, I finished Marianne Willamson’s book A Return to Love. In her chapter about Heaven, she quotes another text, A Course in Miracles, stating: “Only infinite patience produces immediate results.”

This has never rang more true for me than with dog training. The moment my temper flared or impatience began oozing through my veins, all communication with Rocket dissipated. Clarity of hand signals, clarity of my intentions behind the hand signals (what was I trying to get him to do?), and clarity about our relationship would blur in my fits of furry. Why wasn’t this ‘working?’ Why won’t he listen? I’m doing it just the way the book said, why is he too stupid to do it? It’s been hours, days, months—why isn’t it easier? In hindsight, how could any of those thoughts have lead us into a better relationship or support clear communication? Even more elementary than that, how were those thoughts serving either of us in the moment? They were simply zapping all of our joy and wasting time for both of us.

But who could fault him for his incompliance? Rocket wouldn’t look at an angry, ill-communicating person--who could blame him? I mean, what human would want to give their attention to a self-serving, impatient person? I know I wouldn’t . How unfair of me to expect a dog to do something that I wouldn’t do. Rocket was sent for me to see the hypocrisy in my day to day thoughts and actions. I thought I brought him into my life to start working toward my dreams (which included a dog). It turns out that’s what he was, but for the first few months, I didn’t see him as that. I kept looking at him wondering when my dreams were going to begin. But Rocket was unflappable. He stayed beside me during the challenge of the transition. In fact, some moments he stayed so close he was either underfoot, behind me, in front of me, to my left, to my right, even above me at times—just like God is if we take a silent moment to see and feel and live this truth. I am now completely on board with the notion that it is no accident that “Dog” is simply “God” spelled backwards.

Unconditional love. Moment to moment happiness. Surrender and faith. All of these are elements of our relationship with God…and with our dogs. The love part has been the biggest eye opener for me. Marianne Williamson goes on to say in her book: “Love takes more than crystals and rainbows, it takes discipline and practice.” This kind of love—my love for a dog—has catapulted me from my ‘rainbows and sunshine and puppies’ idea about dreams into a new ‘day to day, moment to moment, true joy’ outlook on life and love. It’s a lot more work, but it includes a lot more gratitude and genuine love.

Thanks be to Rocket. Thanks be to God.