When my lovely wife started emailing pictures of dogs to me, I said, “Oh no! I don’t want another dog.” We had been dog less for a while, and frankly being without that responsibility was spoiling. But eventually I gave in (no surprise there), and we got a Maltese Poodle–not “a” Maltese Poodle, but “the” Maltese Poodle.
To make a long story short, we rescued Mistry from a breeder 5 years ago. She was only 3 weeks old when we got her, and, as you can probably imagine, she needed some serious TLC. But she quickly got healthy, found her place in our family, and, in the process, even became a type of teacher. So…I thought it would be helpful to share some things that I’ve learned from our dog. Here are 5 things that I’ve learned from Misty Poo Cooperstein (yes, that’s her full name).
- it’s good to have a place
For Misty, it’s a bed and blanket that my wife bought her. If there’s a storm, if it’s time to go to sleep, or if we just say, “Go home, Misty,” this is where she goes. This is her safe place, her place of comfort.
- enjoy play time
Misty loves to play. For some reason, in the evenings (usually around 8-9pm), Misty gets this wind of excitement and starts grabbing toys and challenging us to get them from her while she “tries” to seem tough. She flat loves playing, especially with her sisters (that would be our daughters). Life is hard enough without play time. If you’re not adding some play time to your calendar, get to it. You won’t regret it.
- if you need or want something, just ask for it
Whenever I do premarital counseling, one of the first issues that I address are expectations (if you need counseling, let me know!). How often do you and I want something, maybe even need something, but fail to say so simply because we’re too prideful to ask? I’m honestly surprised by the insecurity that we sometimes exhibit when it comes to what we want but fail to ask for. Even Jesus addressed this: “Ask, and it will be given to you,” he said (Matthew 7:7). What could be simpler than that?
- love and welcome
Misty has the uncanny ability of making me feel like she hasn’t seen me in 6 months, even if I just left the house 15 minutes ago! When I get home, she’ll come sliding across the tile like a race car. How often do we walk into someone’s company without even sharing a hello, much less an excited welcome like Misty’s? Let’s become more welcoming and excited with each other.
- most things can be fixed with touching
Finally, it’s amazing what physical contact can fix. If she’s misbehaved, or even if we take something out on her in frustration, she never rejects the offer of physical contact–and usually she initiates it. Get that! She’s just a dog, and she’s better at reestablishing relationships that most human beings that I know. When we become frustrated or angry with someone in our life, the first thing that we deny them is physical touch. Maybe that’s a mistake. Gentle, physical touches like a hug or a hand on the shoulder have the tendency of breaking down barriers. We all could use a little more of that.