Lately, I have said, in a high pitch motherly tone, the phrase, “Go potty, Gracie” much more than I thought could be possible. After 3 weeks with our new puppy and our all out efforts with housebreaking, I think I am actually more yard broken. We are constantly monitoring Gracie’s actions in an attempt to read her mind in order to get a running start (literally) on her next need to take ‘care of business’.
Last weekend, the weather was very wet and very windy. As I quickly grabbed up Gracie and headed out into the dark night with a flash light in one hand and a fat puppy in the other , Gracie looked at me like I was out of my mind. As I put her in her caged area, I found myself trying to encourage Gracie to pick up the potty pace as the wind howled in the tall pine trees above our heads. In the middle of all this chaos, I suddenly found myself with my own potty urge. Thinking it was dark, I was among the trees, it was raining, and I couldn’t leave Gracie outside by herself as I ran back into the house to use the civilized approach to these matters, I decided to keep it natural and use the fresh outdoors myself. In the middle of my ‘relief’, I suddenly could feel Gracie’s intense focus on me and my actions. As I looked at her, she looked shocked and disappointed and disgusted with me. It seemed as if she was saying, “You are a fake. You are not a god. You are no better than me.” I actually said out loud, “What? Yes, I have to do that stuff too.” It was clear, however, that our relationship would never be the same. Yes, Gracie, I am an animal too.
I am an animal too. Those words hit me as I said them. I picked up Gracie and returned to the warmth of the house, not as her god, but as another animal – but one with a sense of responsibility for the other animal brothers and sisters. And, the responsibility wasn’t just with Gracie, the golden doodle puppy either. At the same time, I have been spending a lot of time caring for the eight chicks as I make sure to handle them everyday so that they may become friendly hens. When I hold them gently in my hands, I feel something that is hard to explain, but I see it when my grandchildren also hold the chicks. A sense of calmness, kindness, and responsibility can be seen on the young human animal’s face.
Then there is the interaction within my family as we engage with these animals. Another bond is created, another strand in a loving relationship is developed, and another common moment is shared during these interactions. Case in point, this afternoon my oldest daughter came over with her two boys and we spent time putting together a new chicken coop. While being focused on creating a safe environment for the basically helpless chicks, we spent time laughing, talking, and just being around each other. Undoubtedly, we were creating family memories that will be discussed long from now.
(grandson playing the role of a chicken in the new coop)
The chickens, just like Gracie, seem to be able to teach me something very important. I am not a god, even though I act like one sometimes. With that understanding, for some unknown reason, I end up feeling closer to God, Spirit, Creator, Grandfather, Mother Nature, Energy, whatever inadequate name you want to use for that life force that is in all living things. You wouldn’t think that is how it would work, but for me it certainly does.
As I write this blog, a documentary on the Carpenter’s has been on the tv in our living room. I heard this wonderful old song, Bless the Beast and the Children, that I haven’t heard in years. It seemed so appropriate to this blog. Check it out.
Gotta run now. It is potty time. Won’t tell you for which animal.
Bless the beast and the children!