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  • Writer's pictureBecky Proctor

Dogs, cats and trust

I let the dog “drive” this morning.

Not the car, but the walk through the neighborhood.

With her in charge the one-mile “loop” took about twice as long than if I were walking alone. There were lots of interesting scents for her to sniff and a couple early rising neighbors for me to greet.

Dixie is her name. She’s a 15-pound fourteen year old Jack Russell terrier. Her younger, insane days of squirrel chasing on the farm are behind her.

She’s a friendly little girl. Likes people. Tolerates morning kisses from Wally, the Havanese water dog, who has a crush on her. Adores Buddy, the dachshund/Corgi mix. (When they meet, they always seem overjoyed to find another dog their same size.)

Dixie grew up in a house with 3 adult male cats. The old adage of “fighting like cats and dogs” did not apply. As a matter of fact, she would often lie on a sunny windowsill, shoulder to shoulder, with one or the other of our cats, all of whom weighed as much or more than she. (After all, once the mouse in the house problem was eliminated, there’s not much physical exercise for house cats, right?)

She may be small and friendly, but she is also smart. So this morning when we encountered Bailey, the Maine Coon cat, lying in the neighbor’s driveway, I wondered what would happen.

First of all, if you’re not familiar with Maine Coon cats, they are one of the largest of domestic cats, weighing upwards of 25 pounds, but they are gentle and good natured.

Bailey is an early morning rambler. Often when I go out to get the paper, I see him in his driveway or as a huge puddle of ginger colored fur in the grass under our carrot wood tree.

This morning Dixie was sniffing all around, about four feet away, ignoring Bailey. Bailey, on the other hand, was flattened out against the concrete. His pupils were contracted and focused like a laser beam, anticipating trouble.

Dixie was nonchalant. Unconcerned. As she ambled to within two feet of Bailey, she gave him a quick glance (see photo), then casually continued on her way.

Bailey didn’t move.

I didn’t realize until I let it go that I had been holding my breath.

Close call? Maybe. Maybe not.

Perhaps we should just have given Bailey a wide berth, but I trusted that Dixie wouldn’t get too close and that Bailey wouldn’t attack.

Trust is an interesting concept.

When someone says, “Trust me,” you can pretty well figure that you can’t.

Financial institutions often have the word “trust” in their names – you can “trust us” with your money. Let’s hope so.

A spouse who has been cheated on may say he or she can never “trust” the other person not to do it again, thus negating any chance of restoring the marriage and family.

“In God We Trust,” is the tag line on my license plate. I chose it as a statement of my faith. But does anyone really see it that way, or do people just see it as a throwaway line?

Trusting God is the basis of my faith. It is a deeply visceral, spiritual relationship. I search for words to describe it and come up empty each time.

Here’s what I can tell you -- as I reflect on last week and the week before and the week before that, I can see the fruits of my trust in God. When I act upon an overwhelming nudge to move out of my comfort zone, I see the ripple effect on others and my heart overflows with gratitude toward The Source of that inspiration.

When I've felt bereft and hopeless, ancient words assure me that I am never alone.

When I bask in the warmth of good times with family, watch my husband kiss my hand and break bread with friends, I see His provisions.

When my girlfriend and I laugh until we cry over the silliest of things, I see His humor.

When I watch the tiniest of lizards scurry across the concrete like minuscule dinosaurs, I see His intricate design.

I trust Him. He knows me. He knows what I need. He knows where I am weak. He knows how to move me to do great things, not as the world sees great, but from a heavenly perspective.

My own words feel clumsy this morning, so I will hang my hat on Proverbs 3:5-6, which I will paraphrase: Trust in the Lord and follow Him and He will straighten out the curves in your road of life.

Continue with me, my friend, to look for God’s messages all around us, in everyone you encounter and even from furry little creatures that share our homes or cross our paths.

Bailey gives Dixie the stink eye.

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