Thursday, September 4, 2014

Puppy Love

We have a new friend at our house.

Meet Mr. Charlie. 

We got Charlie back in July, so this picture is actually a couple of months old.  Charlie is a Mini Australian Shepherd.  Let it be known that I wanted a calm, peaceful dog.  In fact, I wasn’t totally certain that I wanted a dog at all.  But my husband, Will, desperately wanted a large, frightening beast of a dog, so Charlie was our compromise.  He has not come without his share of trials.

Charlie loves to make a mess.  His skill in this area is shocking.  This little dog can take a roll of toilet paper, a red plastic cup, a pen, a piece of typing paper, really any destructible object, and use said object to destroy a room in literal seconds.  It would be impressive if I didn’t have to clean up the mess. 

Charlie can be very rowdy at times.  My home used to be a place of calm and peace, but now it is full-time loud.  He runs, he jumps, he chases cats, his energy knows no limits.  If only I had a small percentage of his energy.  I took him running with me the other day, and at the end of the run one of us felt woozy and the other was ready for more.  I will leave it to your imagination to guess which of us was feeling what. 

Charlie forgets the Rules of Good Behavior at times.  He wants to be good, I know it.  He does a great job of listening sometimes, especially if the listening involves him getting a treat.  But at other times his puppy nature gets the best of him and he just has to be bad.  His fellow pet peers are suspicious of him. 

Charlie rejects my love sometimes.  I try to hold him and he tries to bite my ear.  I try to rest on the couch beside him and he tries to chew my hair.  Charlie is my first inside dog and he is only 3 months old, so I think it’s safe to say that we both have a lot to learn. 

The thing is, despite Charlie's behavior problems, I have come to love him.  He is so sweet, so smart, and he wants to follow me everywhere I go.  He is great at learning tricks and makes the cutest faces.  He is always in a great mood and loves to have fun.  No matter how much of a mess he makes, no matter how much he does not listen, no matter how many times he bites my ear, I cannot stop loving this dog.

The other night Charlie was still and quiet for an entire 30 seconds, and I was reflecting on how surprised I am that I have developed unconditional love for a dog that I wasn't sure I even wanted.   Then I had the ultimate cheesy-but-true thought: I am so thankful that God still loves me even when I make a big mess and do not listen.  I am so glad that His love is unconditional.  Because I, like my friend Charlie, am great at messing things up at times.  I'm so thankful that I can be certain God loves me despite this.  This is, of course, not a new idea for many of us, but for some it may be.  Even for those of us who grew up in church, it's easy to forget at times.  But it is one of the most important things that we can know and be reminded of, even if a silly puppy is the reminder.

And as for me and Charlie? I think we are well on our way to being best friends forever. 

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