My experience with my son’s American bulldog has been an on-again, off-again kind of relationship.
Although I’ve occasionally helped to take care of Buddy while my son and his wife were out of town, and even though I’ve never raised my hand or voice at the big boy, every once in a while he acts like I’m a total stranger. Watches me as if I’m not to be trusted.
Maybe if I didn’t know that dogs have a reputation for being a good judge of character, I wouldn’t take his suspicions so personally :-)…
The other day it happened again. Tried to coax him to me, but he would have nothing of it, until I got down on the floor, lower than him.
It worked. Immediately he came over to me and let me scratch his neck—to the point of not wanting me to quit.
Yeh, I know that is exactly what you’re not supposed to do with a pet. Have heard enough about dog training to know that you have to let them know who’s in charge. But I’m not the owner and don’t think it’s my place to try and act like the “alpha male” at my son’s place.
So instead, I’ve decided to let Buddy remind me something about people.
Seems to me that “Buddy” illustrates insecurities and fears that dog us as people. Haven’t we all seen how easy it is to scare one another especially when it comes to comparing notes on things we feel deeply and strongly about–like “religion” and politics.
Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul goes to such lengths to encourage followers of Christ not to be overbearing, or to come on too strong—especially when talking to those who don’t believe as we do.
For instance, in Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he writes, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth (2Tim 2:24-25).
What Paul here asks of us—is what we see first in the One who—more than anyone else who has ever lived—got low enough to let us know that the Eternal God can be trusted with our lives (Philip 2:1-11).
Yeh, guess Buddy has gotten me to think about one of the most important principles of Christ, and relationships.
Or at least that’s the way I’m seeing it. Would be interested in your thoughts or questions about earning the trust of those who have their suspicions and fears about the spiritual company we keep.
PS Son thought it might be good to show a brighter side of Buddy. So here’s a happier bulldog :-)