If there weren't a slew of books on the market whose subject matter dealt in "what my dog has taught me" and "what I have learned from my dog" and "what animals could teach YOU" I just might be tempted to write a book myself about Miss Emmy Lou Depue.
Let me give you some examples of what Em has taught me. Periodically Em and I stay overnight at the Farm when I am serving as deacon to Barbara's priest at St. Luke's in Metuchen or if I am going to drive her to a retreat early (anything before noon) the following day. Emmy Lou enjoys a good drive in the car and now knows the lay of the land as far as the Farm is concerned.
The Farm is inhabited by Four creatures of the feline variety: What's-Her-Name, Gypsy, Ben and Kitten..oh, and several humans. Em does quite well around humans. Making these trips has also helped her establish an understanding
, if you will, with Ben and Kit when they are all indoors together. What's-Her-Name and Gypsy stay mostly outside and when inside keep a low profile on the third floor, so I haven't seen how those relationships are evolving.
Ben quacks much less frequently and Kit seems bewildered by Emmy's tail. I know this because she followed us up the stairs to the second floor yesterday, coming nearly close enough to give Emmy's tail a decent kitty swipe.
At about 4 in the morning, one of the cats was trying to pick the bedroom door open with the old 'paw under the door' trick. It didn't work, but Em, using her indoor manners did not growl or make any type of fuss.
This being said, all bets are off in the out of doors. In my EpiscoPup's mind, anything out of doors is fair game..as in something to be chased and/or caught. This goes for cats, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rabbits, skunk. This also goes for any food that is left on the ground unattended and woefully neglected -- whether it is cat OR dog food.
Open up the back door at the Farm and she is off like a bullet in the direction of whatever is moving (and in the case of dry cat food, not moving). I call her back and she approaches looking at my body language. No, I am NOT annoyed if she has given a squirrel some aerobic exercise, but the cats and their food is another matter.
She knows this because I use a certain tone of disapproval, her ears go back, head goes down, there is no eye contact, she sits down rather pathetically before me and her normally flagging tail lays straight out -- with only the very tip wagging tentatively. She knows when she has made a mistake.
I know when I have made a mistake if I go to play with Emmy in our backyard BEFORE I have gone on pooper patrol. THAT mistake is un
mistakable by the slip, the thud hitting the ground, the distinctive aroma and the unpleasant clean up.
Then again, aren't many of our mistakes like that? We only recognize them AFTER the fact and we come face to face with their consequences. The very wonderful thing about mistakes is we CAN be sorry about them. With God's help we ask forgiveness of the person offended and utilize the grace God provides to make some changes. Just the way Emmy has learned that to escape the wrath of a puff-tailed quacking Ben she must keep her distance, we can learn to approach situations differently or to amend our reactions to people or situations.
Just keep the rather graphic picture of the decidedly un-dainty pratfall in my leaf-cloaked, soggy backyard in the back of your mind. If you ever find out that you've stepped in 'it' you will find a way to avoid the same experience the next time around. With a bit of humor, forgiveness, training, grace and understanding you'll find entire new pastures to explore..being careful to watch your step, of course.