Revelations from A Smilin’ Dog

15 09 2010

I just had a revelation while talking to Bonzer.

And just so everyone’s clear, Bonzer is my toy Australian shepherd puppy.

Fine. Call me crazy.

(Cat lovers, zip it. You have no room to judge. You guys are even weirder with your furry, hairball-gagging friends. At least my dogs fetch and sit on command, which is more than I can say for those of you who prefer aloof pets.)

I was sitting with Bonzer, watching him rolling around and playing on the floor. I called his name in my “happy” tone of voice (that same tone of voice which I use when I talk to babies, incidentally–they’re a lot like puppies, right?). He immediately trotted over and started furiously wagging his little stump of a tail with a smile on his face.

Yes, he smiles.

Chalk up another mark on the crazy board, I know.

Anyway, Bonzer just stood there, looking at me. Every time I said something to him, like, “Ohhhhh, you’re such a good pup, aren’t you buddy?”, he would wiggle his whole rear end in excitement.

Who knew that Bonzer could inspire me with such insight

I could’ve said, “Hey stupid, I’m going to throw you off the porch after I feed you your delicious dinner of dry kibble, ok?” in a sweet tone of voice, and he still would’ve responded with pleasure.

Something as simple as praising my dog totally made his day.

And I didn’t get tired of watching him wiggle his little tail and jump up in happiness once. I could praise him all night and still enjoy watching him dance around.

Isn’t it funny how we don’t really apply that same principle to humans?

Something as simple as complimenting someone else could totally make their day–it could make them wiggle their rear ends with excitement.

Ok. Maybe that’s not exactly the image I’m looking for?

Perhaps it’s because I work with pre-teens and teenagers who are often stuck in stages of self-doubt and low self-esteem, and I’m extra-sensitive to it–but I feel like sometimes I walk around and want to say something positive to every single person I see. Frankly, I think every single person does need to hear something good about themselves on a daily basis.

I guess I’ve just realized that we live in a world that just wants to tear us down. Everything around us–television, magazines, Internet ads, billboards–tells us that we’re not beautiful enough, strong enough, smart enough, fashionable enough, capable enough, or savvy enough.

And maybe being the hands and feet of Christ in this world means we try to counteract the demoralization of our culture and instead bring a little joy into the lives of those around us.

Maybe we need to try to make others wiggle their stumpy tails, so to speak.

Maybe one of the best ways we can truly impact the lives of those around us and share the love of Christ is to simply point out the things we love or admire about them. To speak those words of praise about the special traits that make them unique–and in doing so, give glory to the magnificently creative God who made them that way.


Look at the life lessons you can learn from a cheerful dog…it’s astounding.

You sure as heck wouldn’t get anything like this from a cat, would you now?




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