While she is not shown on any of our family tree diagrams I’d like to tell you about our dog and what she teaches me. There are a few things you need to know about Darby before I can explain what I learn from her. First, she has no schedule and if she does have an appointment at the groomer or vet’s office, we made it for her; she has no control over her circumstances and most of the time she gets to do what she does best:
She may have no control over her daily schedule but she has an incredible internal clock and you can almost set your watch by it. She gets up when I do, normally around 4:00 am and lets me know when it’s time to eat at 4:30. Obviously she can’t talk and rarely barks but she can communicate pretty well. She hops up and down on her front paws and turns around in circles and jumps; a move that Robin and I have termed “the chicken dance” because she first started doing it in anticipation of a little piece of boiled chicken as a treat or reward. She also goes to a specific spot on the floor near the refrigerator and sits down waiting for the little piece of chicken. At 8:30 pm she’s ready to go outside one more time, get her chicken and go to bed. She will usually wait for one of us to go upstairs with her but when that happens, she jumps in the bed as you see above.
One morning we got downstairs and she immediately started the chicken dance. Since we talk to her all the time I admonished her saying it’s too early to eat and you haven’t done anything for a piece of chicken; but she persisted. I checked her bowls, and she had no water. I filled up her water bowl; she drank then went to the couch to wait patiently for her morning food. As I fed her and gave her water I thought “she really can’t do anything without Robin and me”. If she is sick she doesn’t understand why we are withholding food and we can’t explain it to her. She doesn’t know why she is taken to the vet for shots and medicine and we can’t explain it to her. She depends on us for food, water, affection, companionship, and a nice comfortable environment. She might survive for a few miserable days without us (or someone else) taking care of her, but it wouldn’t be long.
We rescued Darby from a “foster home” in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida around ten years ago and the vet estimated her to be around two when we got her. We didn’t know what had happened to her up to the point in time that she came to live with us and she had a few quirks that we had to learn. For example, she was terrified of aluminum foil and when we tore off a piece she would normally exit the area in a hurry. She doesn’t like to be held tightly or squeezed; she doesn’t like big dogs or kids for that matter. And that has been an issue with the grandkids now so we usually have to put her in another room if they are here. But she is in pretty good shape for her age and has been a great little dog for us; we’ve had a lot of laughs at her expense.
The moment I realized that she depended on us for everything was immediately followed by
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jn 15: 3
That’s what Darby has taught me; I can’t do anything without God just like she can’t do anything without us. We often don’t understand why things happen and we don’t normally get explanations. We just have to trust our Caretaker to provide what we need and what is best for us. It’s a lesson that I inherently knew, but Darby clarified it for me in a way I’ve never seen before.
This will be the last post in this series of LIVIN’ AND LEARNIN’ since I’ve told you about the main sources shaping me into who I am. It’s been fun for me to look back at some fond memories and look ahead to future great times.