As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
I observe my dogs . . . a lot. I’m a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom; so when I’m not taxiing the kids around, I’m at home (with the kids and the dogs). The other day I got to thinking about all the life lessons that I learn from observing my dogs; and I thought it might be fun to occasionally share them.
For this lesson, I need to share a bit of the backstory of how these dogs joined our family . . .
When we said “good-bye” to our beloved Pug, Lizzie, it took awhile before any of us were ready to start thinking about adding a dog to our family again. When we finally did, I got the bright idea that we should consider a non-shedding dog this time around. Ashley went on a hunt for one, and found a little Shih Tzu/Maltese mix on Craigslist. We set out with my Mom one Saturday morning, drove and hour and a half away to get him; the lady who had him owned a dog grooming place, so it seemed like a reputable enough situation. Upon bringing him home and living with him for awhile, though, we found that things were not as they had been represented. Frodo peed all over my rugs (which we had to roll up and store away for awhile), leading us to believe that he had been paper trained or puppy pad trained. And he was literally scared of everything – every move we made (including breathing), every little noise, every person who crossed his path, etc. – leading us to believe that he had spent the first year+ of his life in a crate. He had no social skills whatsoever, and has been a very hard sale when it comes to building and establishing a relationship.
I love Frodo, but I have to be honest – I wanted a dog that would cuddle! It became exceedingly clear how much I missed having a Snuggly Pug in the house. And, I had hopes that maybe bringing another dog into the house would help Frodo come out of his shell a bit. So, much to Brian’s chagrin, I began longing for – and searching for – a Pug. My mom actually asked the vet about Pug puppies and they told her about a local lady who raises and rescues Pugs. I connected with her, and we ended up with Gabe.
Frodo just turned 3 and Gabe is 10 months now. And, my hopes of Gabe helping Frodo have come true. Frodo is definitely a much friendlier and demonstrative dog now. Part of it may be due to jealousy (if he wouldn’t show us some affection, Gabe would get all the attention); but it seems to work well. They seem to enjoy each other’s company most of the time; and the rest of the time, it’s a normal sibling rivalry.
So, I guess you could say that they have taught each other some great things:
By observing Gabe, Frodo has learned that it’s ok to love your people and that you don’t have to be afraid of every little thing that moves or makes noise. He now jumps up on our laps and acts (mostly) comfortable. He’s still got a ways to go; but even others have noticed the changes in him. He’s also learned that Gabe will ring the bell when he needs to go potty (and I think Frodo depends on him to do so).
By observing Frodo, Gabe has learned to be (semi) patient when it comes to feeding time. He’s learned how to go up and down stairs and jump up on the bed.
But, there are some bad things that they’ve learned from each other:
Frodo has learned to chew the rungs of our dining room chairs. (I think Gabe, in his puppiness, did this a time or two. He doesn’t do it anymore, but) Frodo is literally ruining my chairs to the point that I’m going to need to dish out money to have them repaired.
And Gabe has learned to lift his leg when he pees. This might seem like a typical boy dog thing to do, but Gabe didn’t do it ’til he started watching Frodo. Sometimes it’s quite humorous – like when he hops into overachiever mode and lifts BOTH legs and does a doggie handstand – but mostly it’s just annoying because he ends up peeing all over his front legs. Gabe also watches exactly where Frodo does his business, then has to go in the exact same spot! Peer pressure at its finest!
Observing these behaviors got me to thinking . . .
We humans tend to follow the crowd too. Or we’ll pick a particular friend or peer or famous personality that we think has it all together and we learn behaviors from them. This isn’t always detrimental. For example, my best friend Sue and I were together (and talking) so much that, before too long, we ended up sounding exactly like one another (to the point that our own close family members couldn’t even tell us apart on the phone).
Often, I don’t even think we realize what we are doing. I see this in my children when they say something and I ask, “Where did you hear that?” and they honestly have no clue. We don’t even realize that we’re picking up behaviors that might not be beneficial to us.
Just this simple observance of my dogs reminded me that we need to be very careful that we’re following God, and not men. It doesn’t matter if that “man” is your pastor, your best friend, someone you respect, a tv personality, or anyone.
I did a quick search to see what God has to say about this in the Bible:
“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” ~Exodus 23:2a NIV
“Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” ~Matthew 15:14 ESV
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” ~Galatians 1:6-9 ESV
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” ~Proverbs 14:12 ESV
“I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” ~Jeremiah 10:23 ESV
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” ~II Thessalonians 3:6 ESV
I love how God can use something like our pets to teach us life lessons. Have you learned anything interesting from yours lately?