Friday, April 30, 2010

Settling in

(Photo: the toy is 15" long, just Spike's size)

Spike spent his first day at our place. He's settling in well. His interactions with the house and its inhabitants remind me of how people react when circumstances change. His adaptation is instinctive, and I've learned a few things:

Spike didn't choose us. His neglectful owner abandoned him. He was taken to a shelter, not knowing where he would land. We chose him and were vetted to become his permanent placement. Knowing little about him, we decided to bring him home. He knows nothing of the backdrop of his rescue, nor is it relevant to his contentment. So we too are often unaware of God's provisions and others' care for us.

Spike walks around the perimeter of each room, observing and exploring. He keeps checking to see what his people do. A bit of activity, then a pause to absorb the consequences.  We let him roam or establish boundaries with a firm "No."

His habits are being challenged and changed, so he must keep watching for our expectations. When he runs ahead on our walks, W or I may suddenly turn and go the other way. His collar tightens. He gets no warning, just feels the consequence. After two walks yesterday, he's walking beside us, no pulling, no lagging, glancing our way every few yards.

He's eager to please, so he's easy to train. Spike is not allowed to leave a room without permission: we have to watch for marking until he's fully trained to our house. (Thankfully, he was neutered by the shelter.) He'll walk to the door of my office, put one foot over the sill, and stop on "No." Then he runs back to be petted and told, "Good dog."

It's easy to learn the rules when they are consistent. Spike's in a completely new environment, but his willingness to learn helps him negotiate the unknowns. If we'd imposed our house-rules on his old situation, he might have been confused. When expectations are clear at home or work, people thrive. However, when rules change mid-way through a job or situation for us, it can be disconcerting. We may find ourselves unable to please because we don't understand the shifting parameters. Too many changes or inconsistency may discourage us or make us fearful. A slap or a stroke, which will it be today?

He doesn't get everything he wants but he gets enough. Spike would like me to play with him all day long. He'd run through the house doing who knows what, or spend a great deal of time standing on his hind legs in front of the aviary, watching the birds flutter up at his approach. He has to fit himself into our schedules and our goals. It won't take long before he'll have settled in completely.

Oh, that we would be quick to accept God's ways for us, mindful of his ways and grateful for his provisions. Sometimes changes and moves are God's way of showing his love for us. If we're like Spike, going with the flow and accepting his good will, he brings us into safety, care, and new opportunities.

Read more:
*If they are bound in chains and caught up in a web of trouble, he shows them the reason. He shows them their sins of pride. He gets their attention and commands that they turn from evil. . . But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity. Job 36:8–10, 15

*But now, this is what the LORD sayshe who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43: 1-3 NLT

*Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 NIV


  1. Cute dog. Good analogies. Thank you so much for the picture!

  2. I really love hearing how Spike and you are getting on! Glad to know things are going well and both of you are adjusting nicely. It's great that he is eager to please and settling in. I also enjoy the analogies and would like to hear more of his progress! Genny