Friday, June 5, 2009


Doug and I like pets. Total we've had 3 firebelly toads, 1 pacman frog, 1 chameleon, 1 betta fish, 2 leopard geckos, 1 bearded dragon, 3 cats and 2 dogs.

While we love each and every one of our pets, the dogs ("our girls" as we call them) have become like children for us. They are spoiled. We got Callie from a pet store in town and Bella was given to us because as a puppy she was a biter and was biting the one-year-old daughter of her previous owners.

Lately I've been watching pretty much every episode of The Dog Whisperer. Our dogs are not BAD but they're not always good either. Bella likes to run... out the door... into the street... and make us chase her. She also likes to chew... everything. Her favorite pasttime lately has been to get "the cool stuff off the table" (ex. my orchid). We've even come to believe that she is pushing the chair out from the table to use it as a step.

Callie is a barker. She barks at the neighbor's dogs, the vacuum cleaner, a trash can that has been blown over. She also wants to stay outside all the time... in the rain. When we call her to come inside she likes to hang out at the very back of the yard and wait for us to resort to getting out treats to get her to come inside.

So I've been watching Cesar Millan and I've been listening. I've been trying to implement his practices into my life. Exercise, discipline and affection, in that order. I've been getting up every morning almost every morning at 4:30am to walk the dogs and taking them for another walk in the afternoon. I'm practicing my "Tsst" and the perfect touch. I'm noticing my energy (whether I'm being calm assertive or just frustrated). And I'm seeing a difference. It's not going to happen overnight. But when we are on walks and I ask the dogs to sit because a car is coming they do it. (Well, most of the time anyway.) Last night while Doug and I were laying on the bed reading our Bible reading Bella went into her kennel and laid down instead of jumping up on the bed.

I can make them better dogs if I provide them what they need. And the amazing thing I've come to realize through all of this is that God ALWAYS provides us with what we need. He never neglects to walk us for one hour of extra sleep. He never stops throwing us the ball and letting us bring it back, no matter how tired His arms are. He provides us with all of the exercise in faith that we need.

In the Old Testament there is a lot of talk about discipline too. There's a lot of sections about the punishment the Israelites will receive if they break God's laws. I happen to believe in a merciful God so some of this reading is hard for me to swallow. But I think the main thing is that God does discipline us, but not quite in the way the Old Testament talks about. I think God's discipline is more like Cesar's. Cesar doesn't hit the dogs, he doesn't yell at the dogs. But he does provide rules, boundaries and limitations for the dogs and corrects them when they overstep. He "Tsst's" them or touches them to remind them of the rules. And I think that's how God works. He set up rules in the Bible. The Ten Commandments is an obvious one but if you look closely pretty much the whole Bible sets up rules, boundaries and limitations for us to follow in life. And when we start to overstep he reminds us. And helps us refocus and behave.

And always there and present is the affection he bestows on us by way of His blessings. Our family, our friends, our pets, our homes, our jobs, and so much more.

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