Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Scent of Puppy-Breath

Proverbs 19:11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

This week our family was blessed to get a new GoldenDoodle puppy named Barnabas which means “Son of Encouragement.” Yes we had ours on order long before President-elect Obama thought of getting one. We like to think we're "trend-setters" now. It has been a long time since we've had a puppy in the home, but it doesn't take long to be reminded why. It's like having a toddler and infant all rolled up into one cute fuzzy energetic package.

This precious little toot is in constant expeditionary mode, seeking that which he can destroy or "mark" as his very own territory. But of course he does so in a very gangly-but-cute gait-then-squat sort of way. Only puppies and babies can bring the “Oh, isn’t that cute?” observation to excretory exclamation. When he’s older it won’t be so cute. “Wait! That’s my rug!” Visions of Toby come to mind.

Some of our friends came over to see him the day after we picked him up. We sat him in 4 year old Jack's lap only to witness young lad Barnabas excitedly “bladder baptize” poor Jackson. I'm pretty sure Jack doesn't share the same high opinion of Mr. Barnabas as we do now.

So we have to be ever mindful of such things as electrical cords, shoes, and even our steps as puppy is ever-present beneath our feet.
What a wonderful picture of how we should be in our pursuit of the Father. (Suffer the little children unto me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Luke 18:16)

One phenomenon that I have yet to grasp though is this notion that “puppy breath” is a pleasing experience. My wife, one of my daughters, and one of my sisters all proudly proclaim the virtues of puppy-breath. I don’t get it. It has the aroma of dog food and feces, and for good reason!

I am currently working the 2:30 pm-to-somewhere in-the-middle-of-the-night-shift. When I get home, Barnabas and I do the dark-thirty test-of-the-wills dance in the backyard to ensure his crate training is up to date. Most nights, he’s pretty compliant, but some nights it can be a real challenge.

Our current ritual is that the rest of the family take care of his needs in the morning and then most days they put him in bed with me when they leave. So guess who gets to experience the puppy breath blessing up close and personal? Ed Zachary. Mois. I still don’t get it totally, but there is an odor of innocence about it.

When Barnabas crawls up on my pillow and snuggles up next to me, I am again reminded of the need to protect the innocent, watch out for the na├»ve, reach out to the fragile, and be patient with each “mistake” they make. God brings me puppies periodically to continue MY crate training.

When I feel “boxed-in” and I want to howl and whine and be all about me, I can rest assured it is for my benefit. The waiting, then anxiety, the restlessness is washed away when I realize “playtime” is (He) is coming. I can also exhale in His face with the understanding He loves me and embraces my temporary halitosis.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

So who among you all likes puppy breath?

1 comment: said...

Puppy breath is not pleasant. How often do we take stock of our own breath, and determine not to be real with our friends? My breath is often much worse than puppy breath. How many people know that, not intellectualy, but in their hearts? The other day someone said that I am not like Matthew, I have problems. Have I gotten that good with the Lavoris? Am I so polished? Have I really hidden my breath that well?

Thanks Tim, you did my devotional this morning.