A Lesson from Smudge the Dog

Last Sunday I came home from church and Smudge, our 15 ½ year old Jack Russell terrier, was SO glad to see me it was, well, ridiculous.  Dancing around, doing spins, leaping in the air, yipping like a puppy.

I was kind of pleased at first – I mean, who doesn’t want to get that kind of crazy-happy welcome?  (I am pretty awesome.)  But then she just wouldn’t calm down.  She IS a Jack Russell.  I wanted the mayhem to stop so I reprimanded her firmly.

Didn’t work.

Then, you know what I realized?  SHE DIDN’T HAVE ANY WATER.

She was glad to see me because she knew I was the answer to her problem: She was thirsty, I was the source of water, and that made her happy!  She trusted that now that I was home and she had my attention, she was going to get what she needed.

That didn’t initially occur to me because it wasn’t the kind of reaction I might have had if I were dependent on someone else to meet my basic needs.   I would have probably been all whiny and dramatic, maybe trying to elicit guilt or pity to get what I needed.

But not Smudge.

I started thinking about whether that would be a better approach for me as a human.  What if when I am confused or fearful, instead of praying about it in a whining, begging kind of way, I truly believed that prayer would reveal the answer to me and I got excited?  Seriously, that’s not my default response.

How humbling.

And yet, isn’t God the source of all that I need?  Maybe not always what I want in the moment, but truly what I need?  What if I really came to grips with that and with the fact that when I pray, I have God’s attention, and He is far more faithful to give me what’s best for me than I am to give Smudge what’s best for her?

I’m going to try that.  I’m going to pray and focus on the fact that God knows and wants what’s best for me and I’m going to choose to be excited for that.  I may not dance around and spin.  I certainly won’t yip like a puppy (how undignified), but I’m going to trust that He’s the Giver of all good gifts and He wants to give His best to me.

It worked for Smudge.  She got a full bowl of clean, cool water and lapped it up appreciatively.

How do you approach God – exuberant and expectant like Smudge, knowing you’re going to get what you need?  Or tentative and apologetic, like me?  Have you ever learned a lesson about God from your pet(s)?  Please share in the comments!

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

7 thoughts on “A Lesson from Smudge the Dog”

    1. Glad you think so, Dorie. Thanks for commenting! She certainly makes her needs perfectly clear – as soon as I filled that bowl with water she settled right down and slurped up about half of it then gave me a big “dribbly” smile. She’s a funny little old dog but I learn a lot from her (when I’m paying attention).

  1. I would definitely like to be more like my dog: dependant on my Master, always happy to be in His presence, seeking to please Him always, no agenda – the list goes on. And thankfully He doesn’t get impatient with our requests and reprimand us firmly when we ask for our needs to be met 🙂 We certainly do learn from these dogs!

Your feedback is welcome!