Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dog is God Spelled Backwards*

Is that spelling a coincidence? I don’t think so.

I’m looking at my old dog sleeping on the couch next to my computer table. Sadie’s face and paws are white with age. She has fatty lumps under her skin, and unattractive moles around her eyes. The teeth she has left are stained and her breath is bad. She is deaf as a post, and that makes her skittish, so she barks a lot. But her voice is damaged, and her bark sounds more like a soft, hoarse woof. When she gets up, her back legs are stiff and she sometimes falls. Her digestive system is, shall we say, delicate.

I think back over fourteen years of her companionship. She has been my constant buddy, even going to work with me many days, where she would sleep under my desk by my feet or wait patiently by my office door for me to take her for a walk in the park next to my building. At night she sleeps with me. She starts the night at the foot of the bed, but during the night she gets cold, so she leans over me like Snoopy and pokes me with her paw until I lift up the covers and she scoots under, curling up behind my knees where I’m sure she will suffocate, but she never does.

I think back to her puppy days, when my children were people puppies. My daughter would dress her up and put her in the doll stroller. Sadie would look at me with mournful eyes as I laughed and took photos. James would dance with her. She was happiest when we were all at home. She always had a person to lean up against, confirming the description of her breed as Velcro dogs.

I’ve not always been as good to her as she has been to me. There have been days too cold or rainy for my liking, so the leash remained on top of the refrigerator. There have been times when the ball dropped by my feet repeatedly has just as repeatedly been ignored. There have been times when I impatiently hurried her along when smells too wonderful to believe beckoned from the foliage.

And yet she has never turned her back on me. She has never been cranky or irritable. She has never ignored my overtures of affection. She overlooks my shortcomings and dismisses my imperfections. She is always glad to see me and is always sad to see me go. As many times as I have failed her, she has forgiven me, without hesitation and without asking for an apology. She never brings up my past transgressions.

Her forgiveness is as pure and generous as a child’s. Without judgment or complaint. She reflects back to me a vision of myself as lovable and loved.

What could I possibly have done to deserve such grace? Nothing.

Oh Lord, help me see myself the way my dog sees me. –Unknown

*This only works in English.

related posts: A Child Will Lead Them; For Today, Newly Bright; Canine Theology

Please note that I will be away from my computer for a long weekend, so I hope you will excuse any delay in publishing your valued comments.

73 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful post, and a great reminder of the wonderful companionship our sweet canine friends provide. I think we tend to be hard on ourselves when we start to count the ways we've fallen short with our pets, but the truth is, I'll bet Sadie's never seen it that way.

    Hope you have a wonderful long weekend. Wish I was going with you! :)

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    1. Chrissy, I know. It's so humbling to realize that she loves me just the way I am. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to your dog......"I want to be the person....my dog thinks I am."

    hugs

    Jo

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    1. Jo, I like your line even better. Not only do I want to see myself the way my dog sees me, I want to be that person. Wonderful. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. What a sweet expression of your love and appreciation for your dog! I'm coming to appreciate more and more how animals are true spirits too! You express this well.

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    1. Sandra, Yes, they are. If there is a heaven, and if we get to see our loved ones when we get there, then Sam (the canine love of my life) and Sadie are the first true spirits I want to see there. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. It is no coincidence. Last time we took my golden retriever, Lylah, to the vet, my wife started to complain about some of Lylah's habits. After hearing her out, the vet began to talk to me like a therapist. I interrupted him and said, "Don't waste your breath, Doc. I am not getting rid of her. We've been married a long time."

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    1. JJ, I hear that! Thanks for your comment.

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  5. thanks for stopping by today I love this post and I dont think that it is a coincidence that dog is God spelled backwards.. they are they most loving animal you could have I have a boxer that I love so much and I know he loves me with unconditional love...

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    1. Pam, Isn't it wonderful to experience such perfect love directed our way? Thanks for your comment.

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  6. I used to think "dog people" were a little strange. Now, I get it. My golden retriever, Lucy, is a fury bundle of pure love. I so related to this post. Thanks for sharing. By the way, what breed is your velcro dog?

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    1. Kim, We are a little strange, but we don't care! Sadie is a Vizsla. They are bird dogs, but the only thing she has ever pointed at is squirrels. Thanks for commenting.

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  7. I'm crying....as I think about my Abby Girl...I'll be right back I'm gonna go take her for her "much loved" walk....and give her a wonderful treat....thank you for nudging my reminder button....she too is a most precious gift from God to enhance my life with joy ....

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    1. Rhonda, Good idea. I'll take Sadie for a walk, too! Thanks for commenting.

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  8. Such a beautifully written post! You reminded me of our Buddy who passed at the age of 13. It's been three years but we still remember like it was yesterday. I don't even like to think about Tucker getting old.

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    1. I know. It pains me to see Sadie so old. I'm going to be devastated when her time comes. Do you know the book Dog Heaven? It is geared for children, but I love it myself. So sweet. Thank you for commenting.

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  9. Dogs are wonderful companions and I miss my Cocker Spaniel so much. I'm sure your buddy brings joy!

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    1. Cynthia, Yes, she does. She is a great pal.

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  10. Such a sweet and beautiful tribute to your dog. It is humbling to know that an animal could be without complaint or judgement, faithful and forgiving.

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    1. I know. We can learn a lot from children and animals. Thanks for commenting.

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  11. My mother used to say you had to love someone who loved their dog.My mother was a dog lover and my daughter is impatiently awaiting the day when she'll be able to get a dog (i.e. when she's finished school and not in an apartment.
    I get it that a dog is a pure form of love. How better to describe God.
    Lori

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    1. Lori, Your mom was smart! I've always had a dog, except when I was living overseas. The first thing I did when I moved back to the US was get a dog! I understand your daughter's impatience. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. We are really blessed by the spirit of dogs and all animals. I can't imagine life without them and can't understand people who do not have pets - what a shame. It is funny that we both wrote about dogs this week.

    We have a terrier who likes to crawl under the covers and I also think she will suffocate sometimes. But no - she emerges from the pile of blankets like a warrior every morning. As though she had been on a wonderful adventure. She shakes her ears and is ready for breakfast.

    Nicole~

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    1. Nicole, I was so surprised when I went to your blog yesterday and saw that we were on the same topic. Funny about your terrier. How do they breathe under there?! Thanks for commenting.

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  13. Galen, beautiful! Did you ever see this youtube video? Oh, I can't put a link here go to youtube and search GoD and DoG by Wendy Francisco. It is so awesome.

    Love, Jodi

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    1. Jodi, Someone else sent me the link and I'm going to watch it as soon as I get back from my weekend getaway. I'm leaving in just a few minutes to spend a long weekend at my cabin in the mountains--no phone or internet there. So I will look forward to this when I get back on Sunday. Thanks for commenting.

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  14. Sadie sounds like such a sweetheart, Galen. I'm wondering what breed she is. Our Pablo is a boxer, crazy as hell but ever so lovable. I've had dogs my entire life and it's difficult to imagine life without one. Every time I lose one I promise I'll never get another but I can't resist them. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Corinne, Sadie is a Vizsla. They are hunting dogs, but the only thing she has ever hunted is a warm lap to curl up in. She weighs 45 pounds but she thinks she is a lap dog! Thanks for commenting, and thanks for sending me the link on FB. Jodi mentioned that in the comment above.

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    2. I know a boxer who thinks he's a lap dog too! So I can well imagine, Sadie. I didn't see Jodi's comment - love the video.

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    3. Corinne, What is it about big dogs that think they can fit into these tiny spaces next to us or on our laps?! I watched the video--so sweet!

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  15. Oh, Galen, this so touched my heart . . .
    My little Maggie passed away several years ago and I still miss her love and loyalty and forgiveness. You so aptly equated the unconditional love of the dog with God's love for us - I'm sure He created the dog to ever remind us of His forgiveness and grace.
    Blessings to you!

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    1. Martha, The dogs we have loved and lost have a special place in our hearts. God certainly knew what he (she?) was doing when he made dogs. Thanks for your comment.

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  16. Love the analogy of DOG - GOD -

    I truly believe that they are angels for sure - I have a dog in my life "Lilly" and she is my angel. She has guided me to people for a reason - a life touched through Lilly.

    Thanks for the insights on Sadie - she sounds like a beautiful creation,

    Nancy

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    1. Nancy, Aren't we lucky that the spelling thing works in English?! Sadie and I are headed up to the cabin now for some napping in front of the fire and some walks in the woods. Thanks for commenting.

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  17. Oh Galen you've gone and made me have to pause reading this with such an over load of tears, of joy as well as worry, your words flow like they are my own, as I have to aging as well, and it is the part of saying good=bye that one last final time, knowing that they won't bury their wet nose between knees or kiss my face, that makes our love so bittersweet.....

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    1. Karen, I know that time is coming with Sadie, and it breaks my heart. Thanks for your sweet comment.

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  18. Our dogs are finally our chance at pure unconventional love! Thank you God!

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  19. I would pray: Oh God let more PEOPLE be more like my dog LOL Beautiful tribute Galen :-)

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    1. Jean, That is so funny. I also like the version in an earlier comment--Let me be the person my dog thinks I am. But this is funnier! That would certainly make my life a lot easier!

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  20. I hope we get to meet Sadie in July. Your post brought a lump to my throat. Our new puppy, Bailey, is just beginning her journey but is already irreplaceable in our family. She has added the one major dimension missing in my retirement and I kick myself for waiting so long.

    Dogs (or any beloved pet) force us to stop being so focused on ourselves all the time and accept pure love and total dependence from another creature.

    Have a great weekend at the cabin. Betty and I are headed to Sedona on Monday for a few days of red rock gazing! But, we know Bailey will be waiting for us when we return.

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    1. Bob, I hope you will meet her, too! If this weekend at the cabin is any indication, you will. Being at the cabin brings out the puppy in her, even now. Bailey sounds like a real charmer--she is already deep in your heart!

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  21. Oh, Galen this is just lovely. We can learn from Sadie. Being always forgiving and not bring up our past mistakes. How beautiful this would be if us humans would treat each other in this manner. (Guess we could do away with attorney. lol)
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Hope you had a wonderful time in the cabin by the fire.
    Blessings to you and Sadie,
    Debbie

    p.s. I think God maybe trying to tells us something with the word dog.

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    1. Debbie, We did have a great time at the cabin. Having just written about Sadie before we left made me even more aware of how special she is, so we took extra long walks and napped together in her favorite recliner!

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  22. Wow, this was especially heartfelt for me. We lost our little Suesue about 6 weeks ago and I miss this sweet little dog. We do have Sammy who brighens our life everyday. He is my husbands biggest stress relief.
    Thanks for sharing your thought about pets.They are just like our children and very precious to us.

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    1. LeAnn, I'm so sorry about SueSue. I used to have a dog named Sam. He was the canine love of my life. I'm glad your Sammy is there to help comfort you.

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  23. That's so lovely, Galen. We have had a couple of dogs when I was a child, but later on, usually adopted the neighbors. I am thrilled to think of the wonderful times we've enjoyed with our "best friends" - and have always thought - how unselfish dogs are. It is humans who let all sorts of ego-related things come in the way of relationships. Dog is indeed God. Who else will love unconditionally?

    :-) Sweet post. Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

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    1. Vidya, We did have a great weekend, thanks. Glad you have good memories of your dog pals. Thanks for commenting.

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  24. Galen great to be here. I wish we humans could be as loving and forgiving as a dog. I have a beagle pup, Fudge. He reminds me so much of Sadie. I hope we both have a long life together, Fudge and I, like you and Sadie. I know I neglect him sometimes when I am busy and he wants to play but he is so adorable even when I scold him and tell him to leave me alone. We are truly blessed to have dogs in our lives. Yes, Dog is indeed God spelled backwards.
    Come and have a look at my Fudge in today's Friday moment. Have a lovely trip.

    http://www.rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/04/friday-moment.html#comment-form

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    1. Rimly, Thanks for following and commenting. Fudge is a great name! I'll come over and visit your blog in just a moment.

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  25. love this analogy, Galen, especially this part: "Her forgiveness is as pure and generous as a child’s. Without judgment or complaint. She reflects back to me a vision of myself as lovable and loved." God does love us so passionately, doesnt He? thank you so much for your kind comments at my blog--they minister. blessings.

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    1. Nacole, Sadie's love has been a very tangible manifestation in my life of God's pure and unconditional love. Thanks for your comment.

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  26. Hi, Galen! ~

    Very touching and sweet! Are you saying that God "...has fatty lumps under her skin, and unattractive moles around her eyes. The teeth she has left are stained and her breath is bad. She is deaf as a post..."???

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    1. DL, Ha--very funny! Well, maybe she does! But if she loves us all like Sadie does, then it's all good. Thanks for commenting.

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  27. Hi Galen,

    What a wonderful tribute to your dog Sadie. It is always sad when our dogs age. We remember them as puppies and it seems like it was yesterday. I remember a quote that I read that our dogs are just friends with fur. So glad you have had such wonderful time with Sadie.

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    1. Cathy, Maybe some people we know are friends without fur! Thanks for your comment.

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  28. I'm reading "Mystical Dogs" by Jean Houston. Your post coordinates well with this book. Nice post.

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    1. Myrna, Love that title! I will check out the book. Thanks for the tip.

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  29. I just love this post, I am taking my ZIP to the kennel tonight because I am working a retreat East of the Mountains. I love how happy he is to see me on Monday Morning...

    Your words were lovely - thank you for sharing

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  30. Sometimes I question where God got His brain from. I think of things like: all of our body parts have just one purpose except our mouths. Our hands have one purpose, our legs one purpose or function yet our mouths are used to speak AND shove food down it. When you think about it, it's bizarre. We don't put food in our ears. Ears are used for hearing. We don't pour hot coffee into our eyes. Eyes are used only for seeing. God should have given us a specific orifice made especially for chowing down. That would have made going out to lunch or dinner with someone a lot more appealing. How do you carry on a conversation with someone stuffing spaghetti into their mouths. It's disgusting. Think about it!

    Which brings me to dogs. Why did God create such a fantastic animal, such as a dog and then only give the creature between 10 to 15 years of life on earth? Very unfair, wouldn't you agree? My last dog lived till she was 17. That ole girl, I knew for certain, did NOT want to die and leave me. She held on as long as she could. She loved life yet she was shortchanged. Why? Why can't dogs live as long as humans do? We have great medical strides in the animal kingdom. Do I need to have an elephant as a pet in order to be with the being for 90 years?
    I have a new dog right now. And each time I look at her I can't help thinking she and I may only have 10 to 12 years together. That is not fair! She deserves more than that.

    I can't figure God out. Can you?

    Excuse me while I go shovel a bowl of oatmeal down my writing fingers. Makes sense, right?

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    1. Cindy, Very true and entertaining comment. Some birds live many years as well. My canary's life expectancy is 18 years. A macaw can live as long as a human. Maybe God did that so that we would have the richness of several dogs in our lives. That's the best I can come up with. Thanks so much for commenting.

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  31. What a truly beautiful post - I have just found you. I too sit here with my 14 year old Jack Russell Lucy who's my constant muse and furry daughter. I see her age before my eyes and no-one prepares me for this. No one writes about the emotions that go with seeing our beloved dogs change. She has been and still is the one constant in my life these past 14 years, always by my side and accompanying me everywhere. My connection to this earth and to my spirit increases every time she's with me. That's God and That's Dog. Thank you so much.

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    1. Jules, What a beautiful tribute to Lucy. That's just how I feel about Sadie. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you will become a regular reader and commenter!

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    2. Thank you so much Galen, I have just seen your comment here. I just read your most recent post and I'm so very sorry : ( but I remembered I commented before a a couple of weeks before. I hope that you're ok - I love your blog and have followed so I can see your new posts. Take care : )

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  32. What a beautiful tribute to your sweetie. Life is so fine with them by our side. I'm sorry she has passed, but what a reassuring feeling she must have had as she did, to be held in your arms of love.

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    1. Teresa, I was glad I could be with her at the end, letting her know how much I loved her and how grateful I was for having her in my life. Thanks for your comment.

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  33. I don't know where I would be today with out the love and patience of the pug who now owns me. She annoys me sometimes, I never annoy her, she knows she shares me but also knows she is tops. it is amazing the love to received by a dog. this is a beautiful tribute and I am sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.

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    1. jan, My daughter loves pugs and will probably get one someday. Thanks for your comforting words.

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  34. I think that God put dogs on this earth to teach us the true meaning of 'unconditional' love. What a beautiful post. I hope that you two continue to spend quality time together. I know it's hard when they begin to age. One of our dogs has recently began to show signs of problems going up and down stairs...I believe his hind quarters are bothering him with arthritis and he is beginning to have a hard time seeing. It seems as though it was just yesterday that I was asked by an animal clinic to 'foster' him. Two females and one male pups were left up on a mountain and rescued. The females were taken immediately, but no one wanted the male. We 'fostered' and that was the end of that story LOL. He never left our farm again ☺ That was 8 years ago, but certainly doesn't seem that long of time. He has been our trusted companion since the moment he arrived. I hate to see him showing his age.

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    1. Mary, I know what you mean. I could see Sadie slowing down a lot the last couple of years. She had trouble with stairs, too. What a great story about your dog. Thanks for commenting.

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  35. I never had an experience of having a dog, and I was always scared of them, reading your blog and also the comments, I feel I am missing something in my life. Its a beautiful tribute, thanks for sharing !

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    1. Angela, People have different experiences with animals, and I think it also depends on culture. Certainly there are some dogs worth being afraid of! But I have always had dogs and they have enriched my life so much. I can't imagine not having them in my life. Maybe there will be a special dog in your life one day! Or some other special animal friend. Thanks for commenting.

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