Lesson from a Big Dumb Dog

I have never been a dog person. We have had dogs that I have loved, and I didn't necessarily have anything *against* dogs (except Shelties...I abhor Shelties! :-D), but I was always really more of a cat person.

*Now* if I had my way, I would be a "no-pet" person. Again, not because I have anything against pets per se...in fact, I always thought I would have a houseful...but because at this point in our lives, I'm not up to pets. If we were in a different house, with a different income, with different life circumstances, and my health were different...I would love pets. As it is...not so much.

However, we now have two dogs. Darcy, our dauchhaund/beagle mix, was our own doing. Billy and I both completely lost our senses at the same time and agreed to a puppy. Sandy, on the other hand, was ever-so-graciously passed on to us by my inlaws. She's a 13 year old, seriously overweight beagle, that the kids all gave my FIL (with his blessing) for Father's Day one year. When our niece was born last year, my inlaws decided that with two little ones to help care for, Sandy needed a new home. Ours.

Sandy and I tolerate each other at best. She knows, I'm sure, that I'm not thrilled about her being here, and I know that I am definitely her least favorite of the 6 humans in this house. She's not a bad dog, but she annoys me in all manner of ways. Barking during dinner, sleeping too close to my chair, deciding to take her Sunday stroll in the backyard when I am the only one home and need her to come in so I can leave for church on Sunday evening.

Tonight Sandy was really, REALLY annoying me. She had had a bath, and was in the dining room (where I was sitting trying to read/relax) shuffling around bumping into chairs trying to get comfortable. Did I mention she was making LOTS of noise?? Then she got into my trash, looking for a bedtime snack, I suppose. THEN I walked in the kitchen and discovered that she had pulled dirty towels out of the laundry basket and made herself a bed in them. Ugh!

At that point I decided it was time for Sandy and I to have a little chat.

"Dog, you and I are about to have it out. I have HAD IT. I know you are big, but I am bigger, and I am GOING TO WIN."

May I stop here for a second and insert that Billy is at this point around the corner snickering at me. He thinks the relationship between Sandy and I is hysterical...especially when she is obvious in her disdain for me. I am not so amused...

Anyway, the next words in my tirade were these:

"You know, the ONLY reason I put up with you, the ONLY reason you are even still HERE, is because of what you mean to that little girl in there. If it weren't for her, you would be OUT of here faster than..."

And then I stopped.

I suddenly realized that Sandy and I are kind of in the same boat.

You see, when Sandy came to live with us, she became "the dog" of one particular daughter. This daughter had gone through some very rough days, and Sandy almost became like a "therapy dog" for her. She *loves* that dog. She LOVES that dog. She's very protective of her, and Billy and I are already worrying about how she will handle it when the end comes.

Sandy is completely worthless on her own merit. She doesn't fetch, she doesn't contribute anything to the welfare of the family. She eats (a lot), she sleeps (and snores, really loudly), and she wanders around in the yard (and barks, loudly, at every human or animal that comes into her field of vision.)

But Sandy has one great value. My daughter loves her. A lot. And because she means a lot to my daughter, she means a lot to me. I show her grace (LOTS of grace) because of what she means to my little girl.

I am worthless. The Bible says that all of our good works are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). It also says that God cannot look upon sin (Isa. 59:2), and that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23).

But...when God looks at me, because of His gift of salvation through Jesus, He doesn't see my sin. He sees the love of His precious Son, poured out in His blood. He sees us as spotless and clean (Col. 1:22) Because I am "in Christ", I am not condemned to Hell.

I needed that reminder tonight.

Maybe Sandy isn't so worthless after all.

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