Monday, January 29, 2018

The Least of These

Almost exactly six months ago, I wrote about the lesson that can be learned from dog poo.

And although it is incredibly humbling every time you have to pick up dog poo (or anyone's poo), I learned a new level of humbling last night and this morning.



You see, this past Saturday, Jane got her spay stitches out (no cone, go Jane, dignity!), and she also received medication for a tapeworm (not so dignified), and she got her rabies shot as well. She seemed fine on Saturday, but then all hell broke loose on Sunday.

As the day went on, Jane's poo got waterier and waterier (oh yeah, if you are easily grossed out, stop here) until, around 11 last night when we were settling in for bed, I looked over and Jane was going to the bathroom on my bedroom floor. While she has had accidents in the past (she's only lived here for about a month), she's never been that brazen about it. All I could do was just watch as a wave (that's the only way I can think to describe it) of poo came pouring fourth.

I wish I could tell you I was kind. I wish I could tell you I was understanding. But I am ashamed to admit that my first reaction was to raise my voice at her. She immediately hid under the bed because she knew she had messed up.

But had she? Had she really?

The thing is, no she hadn't. Her tummy was upset, and she couldn't help it. I don't know about you, but I can think of some times in the past when my tummy hurt and holding it was pretty much not an option.

I felt so bad, but God gave me the opportunity to redeem myself this morning when, upon waking up and going to Jane's crate to get her for her morning walk, I saw that she had gone to the bathroom in her crate. Not nearly as watery as the night before, thank God, but she has never gone in her crate before.

This time, I told Jane it was okay, it wasn't her fault, and I was sorry her tummy was so upset. I took her for a walk, then got out the paper towels and Lysol to clean her crate before getting ready for school. I called the vet and after my afterschool class today I went down and got her a medication the doctor thinks will help. (The doctor said that it could be her worms medication, the rabies shot, or the combination that is making her feel unwell. It could have just been too much for her.)

As I was driving to the vet to get her medications, it occurred to me that Jesus said, "... whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me."

I've heard this verse a million times, and I always associated it with how we should treat the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the imprisoned, etc. But then I thought -- Jane is one of God's little creatures, and, although she has more defenses than some animals (like Baby Snicks), she is still a little, helpless dog who was also created by God. She can't tell me when her stomach hurts, when she has to go to the bathroom, etc. She relies on me to meet her every need. And I can either raise my voice and get upset about things that don't really matter, or I can give her the best I have to offer, just like I would if she were Jesus's dog.

I've talked before about how I've learned that God doesn't see your ability as much as your availability. And here I am, available, and I have paper towels and Lysol, you know? The dog currently asleep on my lap, preventing the ease with which I can type this, lived in the shelter, on the street, and only God knows where else and also only God knows what has happened to her. I learned today that it takes a lot to get a dog off the street and into a family.



I understand that Jane is not a person, she is a dog, but I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I have served Jane well, as best I can. As Mother Teresa said, “We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

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