Saturday, June 04, 2005

Is It Fate? Is It Kismet?

I am pretty dog crazy.

I am that person who can't walk through a tony neighborhood on the way to brunch without squealing at all the doggies, and petting them (the Boy In the Bands can tell you that first hand).

I am the person who gets intense heart squeezes and maternal longings when she sees a puppy. If I could have had puppies, I would have been a mother dozens of times over (no "son of a bitch" jokes, please).

I am the person who doesn't have a dog because she takes the responsibility so seriously that she wants to be a really good Human to a dog, and that means coming home at a reasonable hour, taking the dog for walks even on crummy days, wiping mud off their paws, and scooping poop whenever there is poop to be scooped.

Sister of PeaceBang, who has a dog named Gordon (aka Dordon, Dords, Dr. Smoothenstein, Romeo), is a Dog Person par excellence. Gordon, in response, is slavishly devoted to her. One time they came to visit me at my old church and I walked outside to see SOPB and Gordon standing on a little hill in the parking lot, looking for all the world like Artemis and her Hound. They are such a team that when SOPB is in a romantic relationship, Gordon moons around in a stupor of achey-breaky- heartedness for weeks, wondering what he could have possibly done to persuade his lady love to replace him. He could model for the cover of a Harlequin romance with his limpid, lovelorn eyes.

Gordon, btw, is an extremely handsome orange-colored smooth guy with kind of classic pointer looks. I don't know what breed of dog he is. When asked, I reply that he is the Orange, Smooth Kind of Dog. He sleeps not just on the bed but under the covers with his head on the pillow. Not every night, but I've seen it more than once. He's done it with me. Also, he sleeps in. As long as S.O.P.B lingers in bed, Gordon stays with her. He has amazing bladder control. We love that in a dog.

(this might be a good time to mention that Brother of PeaceBang and his wife have an even more slavishly devoted and emotionally needy dog than Gordon, if such a thing is possible. Papito will actually stand on his hind legs for half an hour at a time so that he can lay his entire upper body in your lap. If you pet him, he will endure the discomfort for that long. He will also climb on your prone body on a couch and drape his entire lanky self over you, stem to stern. If he had opposable thumbs he would bring you a single rose. You've never seen anyone so lovelorn in your whole life).

Anyway, SOPB volunteers at an animal shelter and periodically sends PeaceBang photos of doggies up for adoption with little pleas for serious consideration. "This guy is so tandsome," she will say. Or "This girl is a little floppy ear haid! Don't you want her?"

I always get pangs of doggie yearning but so far have withstood the temptation to adopt anyone. The last time I went to adopt a dog, I came home with Ermengarde. Who is just now sitting on the desk and having a bath. She has no idea that she might soon have to share the house with a canine item. :::Cue "Jaws" music for Ermengarde.:::

So anyway, the Sis called today to tell me about Pastor, an 8-year old collie who is very depressed because his family had to give him up. He has little sweet raisin eyes. He has a long snout (I prefer square headed doggies with soft flat ears but what can you do).
As I finish up my third year with this church and am just as enchanted as ever, and they seem to love and accept me as their minister and neighbor, I think, maybe Pastor needs to come live with me. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have to get out and walk the dog every day, and scoop poops and brush out ticks and pay lots of vet bills (because, you know, he's old!).

And of course his name just totally got to me.
This is him. He's really lovely, isn't he?



Anonymous The Empirical Friend said...

As a doggie-dad of four Cardigan Welsh Corgis, I have to say I LOVE herding dogs.

Pastor is so unbelievably beautiful somebody had to have been either deathly allergic or terminal to give him up! Just look at the character in that face! That body language!

Sorry, I'm no help. Beware that you will become utterly hopeless if you succumb -- but won't regret a day of it.

One more thing: Go in with your eyes wide open and make sure you can live with a dog smarter than most humans. Herding dogs have it all over us. It's one of their best kept secrets (I overhead mine discussing this late one night).

Collies have the sweetest dispositions too.

Oh yes, and you may have noticed they have hair. Lots of it. You can play Beauty-Shop-Barbie-Head all over again except this time you'll be loved for your ministrations. Also, collies blow their coats at least once a year. Enough fur to stuff pillows or spin collie yarn.

(Hey, you can trust me - I saved your smeller from Zicam and you love me!)

Blogger PeaceBang said...

I DO love you for saving my sniffer!
Thanks for the good words about the noble collie. I agree that Pastor is just gorgeousness itself, and I did read this afternoon about the furr fest that happens once or twice a year. I'll have to pay my cleaning gals more when that happens, and buy another vacuum cleaner and start using it.

I love that someone named him Pastor because he's shepherding doggie.

Wait... you have FOUR corgis? How hilarious is that? Should I start calling you "Queen Empirical Friend?"

Blogger jfield said...

I also share the joy of the "working breeds." My dog Andie is an Aussie-Border Collie mix.

Pastor is one beautiful dog. My partner had a collie as a kid and would love to have another.

Blogger fausto said...

This seems the perfect occasion to repost this, courtesy of Lairds' Chapel, a funky online worship resource for liberal Christians:


"Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" - Psalm 23:6

According to Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary, the Hebrew word which is here translated as "goodness and mercy" is usually translated elsewhere as "steadfast love." The Interpreter's Bible, a Commentary in 12 Volumes," states that this verse "suggests continued pilgrimage and shepherding."

"The past is a prophecy of the future: 'Only goodness and kindness will pursue me.' If he looks behind him, fearing lest enemies be upon him, he will see only these twin angels of God tracking him down." (IB, p. 130) "'Surely' in vs. 6 is a high religious word. Connect it with the Pauline phrase, 'I am persuaded' (Rom. 8:38). . . The writer has found that the guide leads wisely and leads well; wherefore he has confidence in the future. He is persuaded to stake his life on the goodness and mercy of the shepherd." (IB, p. 130)

"All the benefits enjoyed by a flock under skilled and loving management have been drawn in bold lines. Now all of this is summed up here by the Psalmist in one brave but simple statement: 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.'! . . .

"It is worth reiterating at this point that sheep can, under mismanagement, be the most destructive livestock . . . they can ruin and ravage land almost beyond remedy. But in bold contrast they can, on the other hand, be the most beneficial of all livestock. . . . Their manure is the best balanced of any produced by domestic stock. When scattered efficiently over the pastures it proves of enormous benefit to the soil. The sheep's habit of seeking the highest rise of ground on which to rest insures that the fertility from the rich low land is re-deposited on the less productive higher ground. No other livestock will consume as wide a variety of herbage.

"Sheep eat all sorts of weeds and other undesirable plants which might otherwise invade a field. In a few years a flock of well-managed sheep will clean up and restore a piece of ravaged land as no other creature can do. . . . In ancient literature sheep were referred to as 'those of the golden hooves' -- simply because they were regarded and esteemed so highly for their beneficial effect on the land. In my own experience as a sheep rancher I have, in just a few years, seen two derelict ranches restored to high productivity and usefulness. More than this, what appeared as depressing eyesores became beautiful, park-like properties of immense worth. . . . In other words, goodness and mercy had followed my flocks.

"They left behind them something worthwhile, productive, beautiful and beneficial to both themselves, others, and me." (Keller)

"Should we comment too that there is nowhere any mention of the shepherd's dogs? In our day they do a great deal of the shepherding of wandering sheep. Their skill is uncanny and has become proverbial; but only a countryman knows how high is their sense of honor.

"A sheep dog will finish a day exhausted almost to collapse, his feet wounded and sometimes bleeding, but not a single sheep will have been lost; all are enfolded.

"On that fact a poetic preacher of an older time fastened. He spoke in the vernacular, which added both force and tenderness to his words.

"'The Lord is my shepherd,' he cried, 'aye, and more than that, he has twa fine collie dogs, Goodness and Mercy. With him before and them behind, even poor sinners like you and me can hope to win home at last." (IB, p. 130)

The Rev'd J. Douglas MacMillan (1933-1991) remarking on this memorable sermon of the Kirk, said in his book on Psalm 23, "The Lord My Shepherd" (Bryntirion Press, Wales):

"What do I think of when I think of goodness and mercy? I think of the fellows taking the sheep home, walking down the road with their sticks. The sheep are coming behind them and behind the sheep are two dogs, and one is called Goodness and the other is called Mercy.

You watch them, sheep being what they are, when the shepherd's back is turned, they'll try and sneak off the road. You see a sheep on one side, and off it goes trying to get back to the pasture and the mountains. Without even the shepherd whistling, what happens?

Goodness runs out and circles the sheep and turns it back into the flock and into the path of God. Then, a little further along the road, another one will do the same, or two or three will do it and there you will see Mercy running out and turning the sheep back too.

Ah, they are two lovely dogs, Goodness and Mercy."

Blogger PeaceBang said...

"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for listening to episode 23 of 'Strained Dog Metaphors of the Psalms.' And a good night to you."

LOL!! You know, of course, that I'll end up preaching on this, although the idea of twin angels of God stalking me is a bit scary.


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