I’ve noticed a change in her recently. Our relationship is much more intimate now. She used to acknowledge my presence, occasionally followed me out of curiosity more than love, occasionally sought my presence. Now she eagerly looks to me to see not where I am going, but where we are going. She patiently awaits my timing, eagerly follows my lead. When people see her, they notice her loyalty and they ask about our relationship. They comment about how much she loves me and ask what I do for her. To her, it isn’t about what I do for her, but who I am to her. She used to be lost, wandering from one person to the next, seeking love and satisfaction, but always drifting. Now her loyalty is evident. She’s willing to go to great lengths to follow me, even breaking boundaries she’s never broken before. Where I go, she goes, and though she often leaves to run ahead, she won’t go very far without checking in with me. She was recently wounded in her pursuit of me, but her loyalty hasn’t wavered. She makes sure she stays by my side, limping along, pained but glad to be by her master. Her faithfulness is noteworthy; her love is rewarded with much affirmation. She is mine.
She has stopped caring so much about me as the task. I can see that she is deeply involved with her tasks, so much so that she has lost sight of me. She has started going on without me, not really interested in following me, but comfortable in the work I have given her. Though she is still present physically, the difference is obvious; her faithfulness to me is waning. She is caught up in the tasks, and she no longer looks to me. She runs ahead without looking back, she stays behind without looking to see where I am. The sacrifice of the relationship saddens me. The work being done doesn’t even matter; it was the relationship I wanted.
My dog Chachi’s faithfulness to me mirrors my relationship with God. Sometimes I am so involved with the relationship that the tasks don’t seem to matter. Other times I am simply lost in the task without giving thought to the reason or relationship behind it.
We have a lot to learn from dogs.