The most touching gift I received for Mother’s Day this year was the pair of them thrusting their favorite books into my hands with shining, expectant eyes. The son’s book was Shiloh – by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.
“Read this one – we loved the book in our class. I really think you will like this one, even though we don’t have a dog.” said the son.
The book is a poignant read about a dog being possibly abused by its owner, and finding a safe haven with the little boy. The book beautifully addresses the shades of grey in personality, the degrees of right and wrong, poverty, property, and so much more.
I loved the book, and thought about how un-intrusively the dog seemed to be accepted into the family.
I’d seen it first-hand. A friend of mine had no time for dogs. Yet, when a dog entered her life, I saw a volte-face in her attitude. There was no doubting the symptoms. She had became a dog-lover. She recognized breeds, she spoke of how some dogs shed more hair than others – but most of all, the love in her voice was unmistakable, and I teased her for it.
Anyway, the week-end reads were done and it was time for the week to begin. The children were all woken up for their school, and in their respective screens when I popped in to say hello before my day began.
“Uhhhnnn! Go Away! Too early!”
“Shh! Amma. I am in a class, and our teacher is yelling at us for not doing our work on time. “
“Can you give me a second please?” Continues sounding important and says, “Am in a meeting – can I talk to you later?”
No points for guessing who said what in the statements above.
“Sheesh! You can’t be in bed for class! Sit up child and change into some nice clothes before class please!”
“I just want to check if you put cream. Fine!”
Everyone was busy staring into their respective screens – a tiny rectangular tile in a meeting screen registering your presence. We do live in strange times and life isn’t always comprehensible. I muddled on along these lines, and stepped out into the street, to find our neighbor’s dog out for a stroll. Now, I don’t know how you feel when someone looks at you like you are the best thing that has ever happened to them. That’s how this little pup makes you feel.
The light in his eyes reflect, “How honored I am to know this person! If only they could give me a belly rub. Oh heavens above, please let me get a belly rub, and my life’s purpose shall be done!”
I turned around to see if there was someone else this poor pup was looking for, but no. It was me alright. Here was this marvelous soul, out for a belly rub with a neighbor, and all I did was – well, nothing really. I imagined meeting new people like this – nobody lies down on the porch looking for a belly rub – thank goodness, but here was this little pup thinking this is how life’s introductions have to be made.
So, I gave the little thing a belly rub and felt a lovely laugh build up in my being and let it out. Both of us laughed on that beautiful morning with the blue, blue skies above and a few clouds on the horizon, and all seemed right with the world.
“If Jesus ever comes back to earth again, I’m thinking, he’ll come as a dog, because there isn’t anything as humble or patient or loving or loyal as the dog I have in my arms right now.”
― Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh
I remember seeing a sign somewhere “Be the person your dog thinks you to be!” And it seemed just right.