Monday, April 07, 2014

Reflections on Porkchop

A little before 7 am, Porkchop decided that I should get up. Evidently he didn't realize that the alarm was intentionally not set this morning. Now, after an hour of snuggle watching the news and a cup of coffee for me, he is fast asleep on the back of "our" chair and I am wide awake and wondering. Reflecting and wondering about almost everything -- as always.
I was sleeping!

It has been 11 months since my brother Matt died and I brought Porkchop home. It was just a temporary thing until my niece Alicia moved and she could take him. Porkchop has truly been a family dog since he was a puppy. Making his way into my sister Dion's home when he was very, very small. My sister ultimately gave the dog to our brother, Matt, who needed a companion and was a dog lover. Dion had another small dog and two cats at the time I am grateful Matt had Porkchop during his last 18 months. Just prior to Matt's death, our mother and her dog "Lady" moved into my sisters home and Lady is very jealous of Porkchop which prevented his return to his "Mamma."

When I discovered my brother's body, and turned around in the skiving room, Porkchop jumped up into my arms. He had been alone in the house and I am sure was confused because Matt wouldn't move.

I had been thinking about getting a pet for some time. I was owned  by a cat for 20 years that had come to me via my sister and the twins but that is another story. After the cat I took time to grieve and to be without the responsibility of a pet to care for. I told myself that my hours were too irregular for a dog and I spent too much time away from home to give a dog the love and care required. A friend introduced me to a breed of giant dogs called Leonberger and arranged for me to meet some around the same time that Matt passed. That meeting never happened.

Little did I know that opening my home and heart to this 10.4 pounds of lap dog (I had called all small dogs yip dogs and NEVER wanted one) would have such a profound affect on my life. His dependence on me to feed, take outside, pet and play with is humbling and life enhancing. If I work in my home office for more than an hour or so, he comes in and either wants on my lap or insists that I pay attention to him by jumping, barking and playing. Porkchop makes me play and not take most things quite so seriously. God knew what I hadn't realized, that I needed to get my mind off of me.

I never realized that dogs and children could teach me so much about being a pastor. My first job as a minister at Renaissance Unity was as Youth Minister. From those years and again from being Poppa to a Miniature Pinscher ,  I have learned and relearned several important things:

  • Meet others at their level, towering over people or animals is intimidating.
  • Be considerate of the potty time needs of others. Sometimes I must put the needs of others first or deal with the messy consequences.
  • Opening the heart is good for the soul.
  • Not everyone cares what I have to say and that is okay.
  • Being stronger does not make me better or right.
  • Life is more fun when I am connected to other beings.
  • God is everywhere present, equally in Its fullness.

Some say that dog is God spelled backwards. I have come to see that this dog points the way to God several times everyday.

Loving the journey!

(c) 2014 Richard L. Beattie, all rights are reserved