Friday, May 18, 2012

You're Forgiven

Yesterday something interesting happened with our puppy, Lloyd.

While I was juggling loads of laundry, two baking projects, and getting my wonderful hubby out the door with a grocery list, Lloyd found himself alone in the kitchen with a 1/2 cup peanut butter on the counter top.

When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, something was a little different... the 1/2 cup had not been moved or knocked over, but it was a little less-full than it had been just minutes earlier.  In addition, there were some faint, but very conspicuous peanut butter prints on the side of the counter top.

When I realized what had happened with the peanut butter, I laughed on the inside, and used my lengthen-the-"O" voice toward the puppy, "Lloooooyd.  What did you do?"

Lloyd took off running out of the kitchen, out of the dog door and into the yard.

I should probably specify that we do not beat our dog.  He has received the occasional swat when an immediate reprimand is warranted, but when Chris or I come into a situation where we will be reprimanding him after-the-fact, we hardly touch him.  Lloyd was not running from me because he feared physical violence, he fled because he knew he had misbehaved.

Have you ever seen a dog when he knows he's done wrong?  Dogs literally hang their heads and when Lloyd does it, it is one of the cutest, most heart-wrenching things I've ever seen.

The last time Lloyd got in trouble and was verbally reprimanded, he ran outside and wiggled his way under our fence.  Chris saw him crossing the street and had to run to go get him.  Lloyd really takes it hard when he knows we're disappointed with something he's done.

We have since reinforced our fence, so I knew Lloyd would be okay in the yard.  I watched Lloyd in the yard and he basically punished himself.  He was not playing, he was hanging his head.

After 20 or so minutes, I started to see Lloyd's shadow right outside his dog door.  I went ahead and poured some water into his bowl... I thought when he heard that, he would come running inside, but he stayed outside, just on the other side of the dog door.

Once pouring him water didn't bring him inside, I went ahead and lifted the dog door so we were looking at each other.  With still the guiltiest, sorriest look on his face, Lloyd slowly came through the dog door.  In a really gentle voice, I called him into the kitchen.  My plan was to very gently point to the scene of the peanut butter caper and tell Lloyd that he knew better than that.  Lloyd would not come near the kitchen.

As soon as I called him that way, he turned right around and went back outside.  He sat just outside the door so that I could see him and he could see me through the window, and hung his head.

I then went outside, patted him on the head and said, "Lloyd, Sweetie, you're forgiven."

With those words -- not when I patted him on the head, but after I said the words, "You're forgiven," his ears perked up, he started prancing around, and licking my fingers.

Call me crazy, but he understood forgiveness.

I believe animals have innate understanding of many things.

Psalm 150:6 says
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

I think that verse says so much.  Our animals praise the Lord.  I have always claimed that verse for them.

But I've got to admit, how much greater did my wonder of God grow when my puppy responded with abundant joy to the words, "You're forgiven."

I did a post on Magic Words a few days ago.
Well, I'd like to add to the top of the list of magic words,

Have a very blessed Friday.

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