...the old year out, the new year in... and a happy New Year to you, too!
Over and throughout the Festive Season recently we seemed to be fitting every activity between two or three others to ensure that someone else was comfortable or happy, and regrettably, Christmas seemed to pass us by. In hindsight, the happiest member of the family seemed to have been our six month-old puppy, Mandy, who simply basked in the attention of family members and the seemingly endless stream of visitors alike.
Mandy is part Jack Russell (actually mainly Jack Russell) with the balance of her pedigree probably acquired from a passing traveller. True to the main breed, she has a mind of her own and is totally focussed on what she is observing, stalking, chasing or unearthing. Her most endearing feature is her very large ears, which she seems to use randomly at her own convenience. Like all other members of her species, she can sniff anything out in
seconds, and does. This ability was clearly displayed to all when festive-wrapped biltong was dumped, among many other gifts, on our lounge floor in front of the Christmas tree, and the visitors disappeared upstairs...
I’ve spent a while reflecting on the past few weeks and thinking about the year ahead. No, no resolutions – they tend not to last longer than the day they’re made. Having observed the canine attitude toward life and its problems, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that she can teach us a thing or two. Mandy never wakes up on the wrong side of the bed – if the couch is not barricaded at bedtime, she will be certain to wake up there. She never loses her beauty sleep; we are woken early in the morning, take her out for her ablutions, and she returns to continue her slumber with one of her humans. Thus she is ready to start the day alert and frisky, while we tend to take a little longer to rise and shine.
She is always joyful, firmly believing that God created nature, and gardens in particular, solely for dogs.
Giant caterpillars are barked at and teased as they attempt to cross the driveway, peaceful and friendly doves and wagtails have to flee from the pup in bullet-mode, complacent francolins squawk, run and finally take to the air just as she reaches them; she’s never caught one – the fun is in the stalking and the chase. Question: How much fun do we have every day?
She was a lot younger when she had her first encounter with a baboon which, having stolen fruit from the kitchen, climbed up onto the roof to eat it. She barked and growled (in unison) in indignation until the animal became irritated, descended and chased her down the driveway until she veered off along a path she knew and he didn’t, and raced back into the house. Ever since, if anyone climbs onto the roof for maintenance she tends to regard them as another baboon, and the canine scolding ensues!
We humans tend to lose things and spend time chasing our tails trying to find them – our little dog chases her tail purely for fun; after all, she is rather attached to it. She believes, too, that if anything is buried, dig it out... furiously. This way, she has learned that interesing ingredients can be unearthed for lunch: we have found earthworms carefully deposited on the brick steps to dry out in the sun: canine crunchy boerewors! Mini craters adorn the
lawn... Question: Do I dig for hidden treasures?
Frogs are an irritation during the day as they tend to jump into the water as she drinks from the pond, but when they leave the pond for the pathways and lawns at night, Mandy gently rounds them up and herds them back home. There is a certain order to her daily routine that I envy; a singleness of purpose: if the sun is shining, go out into the fresh air and enjoy everything that moves, explore every avenue life presents and make the most of what you find. Make friends with everyone you meet, and if they don’t wag their tails, find someone who will enjoy wagging their tail with you. Do not be afraid of potential friends much bigger than yourself, stand your ground beside your best Friend and He will protect you. Love unconditionally and reserve barking for protection.
Folk tend to love the lovable. Whatever this year brings, “The Lord’s love never ends, His mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, Your loyalty is great. I say to myself: ‘The Lord is mine, so I hope in Him.’” Lamentations 3: 22-24. He is in control...it will be a good year, come what