Last week, I shared with you all the things Carmen and I had already learned from our new puppy in just one week.
Two weeks later, “Skipper” is still teaching us lessons that we as Christians should always keep in mind.
To help in the housetraining of our dog, Carmen bought a dog crate for us to keep him in during times when we can’t look after him.
And from advice we have gathered, it is also helpful to keep a dog on a crate schedule. This suggests you let him be out of it for a couple hours and then place him back in it for a couple hours.
Sometimes Skipper is tired and sleepy so he doesn’t mind being placed in the crate. He walks in on his own and drifts away.
Other times, he is not a fan at all of being placed in the crate’s confines. He will bark and whimper, pleading to be released.
And as we have been trying to housetrain Skipper, we are still trying to teach him to go to the bathroom outside.
Since doing this, he has learned that he loves being outside. He can run around, play and chase the bugs flying around.
Usually when I am ready to bring Skipper back inside, he is not ready to go back in at all.
He has discovered it is much easier to dig holes in Carmen’s landscaping than it is to dig holes in our hardwood floors.
This means that sometimes I have to chase him down to catch him and bring him back inside.
As I am carrying him, the whimpering and pleading to be released begins again.
I can’t help but feel bad when I do something to make the little guy upset.
I always feel guilty for locking him up in his crate when he doesn’t want to be in there. And I feel guilty for taking him away from playtime outside in our yard.
I don’t want the dog to grow up thinking I am the big bully that doesn’t let him have any fun.
But the good part about Skipper — and most dogs in general — is he remembers the good things I do for him, too.
He remembers that I will let him go outside when he needs to.
He remembers I feed him when he gets hungry.
He remembers I play with him when he wants to run around.
He remembers I give him treats when he deserves them.
And he remembers that even though I lock him in the crate, I also let him out of it.
So even though I have to do things that might make him upset, he is quick to forgive because he remembers all the good things I do for him as well.
What a lesson we could learn from this as God’s children!
How often do we kick a friend or loved one to the curb for one trespass they might make against us?
Someone could have spent their entire lifetime being nice to you and doing nice things for you. Then they slip up and make one mistake and all of a sudden they are your worst enemy.
Matthew 6:14-15 says “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
In this world, it so important we keep this lesson in mind that Skipper has reminded me.
Our family, friends and neighbors are going to make mistakes.
We are going to make mistakes, too.
So we have to be ready to forgive and forget these trespasses, and remember all the blessings that God and our loved ones have given to us.
Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit his blog at hallthingsconsidered.blogspot.com