Monday, September 13, 2010

Recovery and Nature - Dogs

Dogs are simple creatures.  I look at my Golden Retriever and he wags his tail.  I walk through the door and he wags his tail and brings me one of his toys.  I go outside and he follows me.  I come inside and he follows me.  I go to bed and his does, too, on the floor next to my bed.  He depends on me for all of his basic needs -- to feed and groom him; to let him outside to you know what; and to love him.  Love?  A basic need?  You bet!

I grew up in an alcoholic home where my basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and an education were met and for that I thank God.  I started out better than many.  Love on the other hand was touch and go secondary to my parents' disease of alcoholism.  I think it sounds cliche to say that "they did the best they could with what they had."  But, it is true.

In my daily meditation reading this morning in the Al-Anon book, Hope for Today, the author talked about dogs and why they bark.  She or he suspects that a dog barks because because he is afraid.  My dog only barks when someone knocks on the door (unlike the neighbors dogs who seem to bark at the air! :)  Is he  fearful, being protective of our family, or both?

When I "bark" at others, it is usually because I am in fear or protecting someone I love.  I yelled at my daughter when she ran towards the street last night because I feared she may get hit by a car and I wanted to protect her.  I have been known to yell at my husband for leaving his dirty clothes on the floor for fear that I may have to do more work around the house and I want to protect my free time.  Now, the former example is responsible parenting while the latter is laziness. 

Although, I am not suggesting that all of us women should pick up after our significant others.  I believe there is a difference between not doing for others what they can do for themselves and just being selfish.  I yelled at him because my motive was selfish.  If my motive would have been to merely set a boundary, I would have discussed it in a way for which later I didn't have to make an amends to him. 

But, I digress.  You can see how my alcoholic thinking goes from simple to complicated in just one paragraph!  LOL.  Back to the dog...

IF I pay attention, my dog shows me how to be humbly devoted, dependent, loving, and forgiving.  He doesn't hold grudges nor complain about his life.  My most favorite quality about my dog is that he loves unconditionally.  Who ever said being in the dog house was a bad thing must not have had a program.  Being in the dog house teaches me humility and dependence on God.  If only I could consistently forgive and love others unconditionally and be as grateful and as devoted to God as my dog is to me...

But, under no uncertain terms, will I pee outside ever again (couldn't have said that if I was still drinking!  smiles ;)


  1. Good post. I too have selfish motives and yelling at my husband for clothes on the floor has been one of them. As I was reading this I was thinking of my own darling devoted dog. You are so right, they teach us so many things about patience, love and tolerance. I could also relate about thinking going from simple to complicated. It's like my mind runs on fast forward a lot until I hit pause, and then play."Keep it simple" is something I need to be reminded of a lot and your post did just that! Hope you are having a great day....

  2. Dogs are wonderful creatures. I watched the Nature show on the origin of the dog. Amazing how quickly they evolved to be what they are today.


Thank you for sharing!