Friday, September 28, 2012

Standing at the Door and Knocking..and Knocking...

We've had a lot of rain here the last two days.  As in, almost three inches on Wednesday.  As a result, the dehumidifier in the kennel has been working pretty hard to keep the air clean and comfortable for the dogs.

However, it could not keep the back door of the kennel from swelling to the point where I can no longer open it.  This is a big problem when you have many dogs needing to go out.  And they don't want to wait:
Waiting is so difficult.  None of us wants to put off what we believe we want, need, is inevitably ours.  Unlike the dogs, who really NEED to go out, most of what we perceive we need we could do without.

Is it so difficult to believe that we can't have everything?

Yes.  Yes it is.

What are you waiting for, possibly that you don't really "need?"  What have you not received that  you thought you needed, only to realize you would have been worse off if you'd obtained it?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Facing (or Ignoring) Your Fears

Recently a popular author asked "what are you afraid of?"

Despite the dangling participle, it's a fair enough question.  Many people harbor fears, from spiders and clowns to intimacy and abandonment.  Some fears are momentary, like the millipede racing across the carpet, and some persist for years (like abandonment).

Recognizing what are fears are and how they effect our lives is important.  Becoming fixated on them could paralyze us further.

Here's Dooley.  Dooley is pretty terrified of thunder storms.  This is not an uncommon fear, and after some severe storms this past Spring, lots of local dogs developed them (and people too!).

Dog behaviorists recommend putting a dog with this problem in a room where they can not hear thunder or see lightning.  They also recommend that a dog's fear is not reinforced by constantly petting the dog and giving it lots of soothing talk. 

What works then?  There's a little something called a "thundershirt" that is effective in calming a dog's anxiety.  It's a snug fitting shirt that basically lets the dog feel a light embrace.  In short, it gives them security.

Turning to God when we are anxious allows us to remember He is our protector.  He keeps us in the palm of His hand forever.  We may not be able to escape our fears, but He is with us through fearful circumstances.  He's sort of a spiritual thunder shirt.  Yet, isn't it good to remember we are held by the Mighty Creator?  Cast all your cares on him today.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Room to Stretch

Meet Tony the (tiger) cat.
Isn't he adorable?  And despite declaring that previous feline kennel guest B.C. stood for "best cat", I'd say that Tony is a contender in the same category.  What a sweetie he was.

Tony is rather a big cat, so I let him out frequently to stretch.  While the dogs were outside, he got to explore everywhere, including the dog food bags.  He seems fond of this one.

Everyone needs a good stretch now and then.  The dogs need to get out, the cats do too.  Even people have a need to get their blood flowing with a good stretch and walk about.

It's a little too easy to get focused on one area of our lives, even our spiritual beliefs, and forget about the rest.  I know I often forget the "big picture" when I'm stuck in one area.

Today, stretch all your muscles - mind, body, and spirit!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Never Too Old to Play

Yesterday Foster got a toy out of the "toy box" and brought it to me.
This was huge.

He hasn't wanted to play like that for many months.  With the cooler weather, he's been more lively in general.  But to bring me a toy....signs of life I thought he'd lost in his old, blind and mostly-deaf age.

It made me so happy.  Even Tilly thought it was great.  She ran upstairs and got her favorite squeeky toy and brought it down to get in on the action.

Have you ever met a follower of Christ who is constantly wringing their hands over their own sinfulness?  While it's good to recognize, regret, and repent of our sin, we should never forget our restoration through Christ.  That is a cause to rejoice and live free, knowing there is no condemnation through Jesus.

We can live above our circumstances, and indulge in playing and enjoying life instead of carrying the heavy burden of sin.  That is a sign of life - renewed spiritual life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Damaged Goods

This is Kody.  This post is not about him.  The dog it is about wasn't up for his picture being taken.
Actually, he wasn't up for much of anything.

Said Dog came with a rap sheet that was too long for the short amount of time the dog was with the owner - 6 weeks.  In that time, the dog had bitten the owner multiple times (fortunately, it was a small dog).  The owner suspected the dog had been abused by a woman, as it was fine with men.

It has been years since I've been bitten by any dogs in the kennel.  I accepted the challenge of this dog, realizing that I'm either due to get bit (see above about small dog) or that my skills have improved so much that I won't.  We also discussed that it would be better if we kept the dog on a leash while at the kennel.

The first day and a half with Said Dog were just fine.  He went out and came back in with no problems.  He ate food, he took treats. 

After a dog had a small accident, I got the sponge mop.  The Sponge Monster!

Said Dog came UNGLUED.  He ran to the edge of his kennel run and barked and growled.  He wasn't the same after that.  Each time I approached him, in exactly the same manner as before, he growled and once even lunged at me.

It made me sad because obviously someone had really done a number on this little dog.

The sad truth is that not every dog can be rehabilitated.  While this dog isn't hopeless, the owner has her work cut out for her.  It will be a long road, and it may not end happily.

There are sick people in our society. We all know it.  It is sad.  From our point of view, we can not rehabilitate them all.  In so many cases, we can only shrug in confusion and hopelessness.

Where do we turn for help?  We can't understand everything and the why's and how's of this world can ovewhelm.  While I do believe we were given curious minds and should ask questions, sometime we don't have answers.  I'm thankful I can go to God, shrug, ask "why?" and even if I don't receive an answer, I can trust.  It is that time when I must step out in faith and trust God to redeem all pain and know where the hope is for every hopeless case.

Run to God with your pain and hopelessness.  It is the place to be honest.  In return, you may not get answers, but you'll get God's presence.  There's nothing better than that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

They'll Be Right Back

Bella and Cosmo came back for a visit.
The first couple of times they were here, Bella thought the whole deal was a bit sketch.  But she even wagged her tail at me this time.  We've made some progress!

Being in unknown and difficult circumstances makes us uneasy.  Knowing an end will result in reuniting with the ones we love makes it all tolerable.  Maybe even enjoyable.

Believing that Jesus redeems pain, and makes all things new, I bear the separation from those I've lost much better.  If the Joy of the Lord is our Strength, we can even enjoy it.  When every challenge comes along, I can remember it is only for a season and all our tears will be washed away.  That makes every day not just bearable, but fantastic.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Contain Yourself

Some owners seem distressed about leaving their dogs at a kennel because they are in a cage.  After caring for dogs for nearly fifteen years, the negative connotation the word "cage" has is purely from a human perspective. 
Not all, but most dogs feel safe in a cage.  We may perceive a dog on the end of a rope by a dog house as being in a better situation, but from the dog's point of view, they are more vulnerable.  In other words, a cage is a safer environment.
Some people feel that religion is all about the rules, that faith in God is a burden.  However, the 'rules' are a gift - following them is the equivalent of not playing in traffic.  It is a better way to live. 

While it's impossible to keep all the rules perfectly, striving for them and appreciating that they can save our physical and spiritual life is important.  When we do fail, and we all fail, there is forgiveness in Jesus.  Now that's true freedom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Get Off Your Horse

There's a story about Teddy Rosevelt encountering a family down on their luck.  He went to a street merchant, wanting to buy provisions for them.  The merchant refused.  Rosevelt, bewildered that his money was rejected, asked why.
"Because, Sir, you must come down from your horse if you wish to help."


It's easier to write a check than get our hands dirty with the messy lives of people who are in tough circumstances.

Jesus not only "came down off his horse," but left the comfort and power of Heaven to come down to poverty, pain and powerlessness of being a human.  Though he still had the divine power, he chose to live humbly, reaching anyone from his low position. 

No one wants to appear weak.  I know I don't.  Yet if we wish to show what God's love is all about, that every person is worthy of His love, then getting off our high horse may be the way to do it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tilly Goes to the Beach

The local park sponsored a dog beach day last Saturday.  Knowing it would be awful for Foster, I gave him a rawhide and snuck out the door with Tilly.
When we got there, she ran aournd and sniffed everything.  Fortunately, the other dogs were polite and none of them did any "aggressive sniffing" because she really hates that (can you blame her?).  She played with a tennis ball but did NOT like the sand.  She tried playing a little with the other dogs, but just couldn't seem to figure it out.  She found the people very interesting.

Here I thought this was going to be special outing for her and she pretty much was "meh, beach, water, dogs - just like home."  After an hour of waiting for her to embrace her beach experience, I gave up and went home, where Foster was done with his rawhide.

Sometimes we take the "special" for granted.  If we see something every day, we take it for granted.

This is true for relationships too.  It's especially true with God. We forget the every day kindnesses, gifts, peace, and safety He gives us.  We walk around thinking we deserve it, and that if our fragile world cracks, it's a crisis and God hates us. 

Today, stop and appreciate something you've often overlooked.  Value it as a gift. 

What will you thank God for today?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Up All Night

Guess who was out all night?
Captain, along with his feline pals Carbon and Frank, and his nemesis, Dooley, would not come in and were out past curfew last night.  To no one's surprise, they are sleeping the day away now.

At one point, I heard a yowling and fight, which got Tilly all revved up too.  Since I'm not sleeping great anyway, it was a long night.

Have you noticed how most evil is done at night?  There's something about the light of day that keeps us in check.

Walking in God's light is a good place to be.  When it gets dark, our thoughts can become muddled.  Have you ever felt overwhelmed or worried for hours in the middle of the night?  Then, when you are up in the morning, those worries are not nearly as great?

Cling to the Truth and Wisdom of God.  It's not always easy or glamorous, but it's a more sane way to live.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Unfortunately, I don't always get a good picture of every dog that comes to the kennel.  When that happens, I sub the picture with another dog - usually Tilly.
This was taken when she decided to "sit" on my lap.  That didn't work out so well.

Recently a little dog stayed at the kennel, and he was scared of me.  He'd get close but then dart away from me, barking the entire time.  He was small, so it was hard to maneuver him back into the kennel.  Getting a slip leash over him was a challenge. However, as soon as it was on him and snug around his neck, the dog instantly calmed.

There's something to be said for security, to know someone is leading you.  The important thing to examine is if what  you are "tied to" leads you to good and righteous places that are for your well being.  Or, are you restrained and tethered to what may ultimately sink you.

Today, follow God.  The Lord's ways are good.  All the time. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

We All Need Rescued

That's Franklin, my cat-who-thinks-he's-a-dog. 

Frank was the inspiration for a character in my debut fiction novel, Miranda's Bottom.

In the book, the cat's name is Nathan Alan Willoughby who used to live in a dumpster but was rescued.  Although a minor character, the cat reminds us how Miranda needs rescued too.  And so do you.  And so do I.

This Labor Day, I hope you'll check out the book.  You can even read the first three chapters for free!

Thank you for letting me do a little shameless self promotion!