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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's time to PLAY!!!

Emmy Lou is simply in her glory. This morning I let her out for her morning constitutional and some cold air got in her fur.

Mom? MMOOOMMMMMM? MMOOMMMMMMMMMY!!!!! Look at the leaves! Are you watching? Mommy, are you watching me??? Did you see -- I almost got that squirrel! And I barked, too. I did it good, right?. She has assumed the stereotypical LET'S PLAY doggie position. Front paws to elbow flat on the ground, butt in the air with the tail flagging. If she doesn't entice me the first time around, rest assured, she will make several attempts. If we were inside, Emmy will go to her toy bag, pull out a toy and casually toss it in the air. This exercise will be repeated, each time staring at me as I pretend to look elsewhere. When that fails, she will move closer, toss the toy so that it will land in my lap, back up into play posture and wait attentively. When things have gone down this way, she has won and we will have a brief game of fetch or pull.

I have read spiritual, psychological and scientific talk about the reptilian brain - that survival, fight or flight, instinctive part. Dogs never went through the lizard phase: they went directly to doggie mode: Question and action. Their basic motivation is to DO something - anything - even if that only means to take a nap. When they look at you directly eyes they ask very plainly, "Do you want me to DO something? What should I DO? Where should I GO? Can I get you anything? Can we PLAY now? Can we WALK now? Should we take a nap? Should I get the paper? the frisbee? a ball? the leash? Is it time to EAT? Are you going to cook and give me some hamburger? Are we going in the car??? Even in their sleep mode they are barking, running, huffing and puffing, digging, scratching.

Cats, in my limited experience, are far more subtle in their body language. You might see a cat have a momentary lapse in their laissez faire attitude to let their kitty guard down when it pleases a feline to enter stalk mode.

As often as not, the object to be stalked, caught, bopped around and toyed with is inanimate: a crumpled piece of paper, a plastic milk bottle tab, an about to be discarded toilet paper roll. The pounce and play will be immediately preceded by seeming to ignore their prey. Within a flash they are hunkered low, rear in motion as if to compress their hind quarters into a loaded spring.... and then booooiiiiinnnngggggggg! They are on top of their conquest and ready to bat it around a while.

People keep dogs; cats keep people. Despite their drastically different approaches, they are extremely successful in getting what they want or ignoring what they would rather not participate in or own up to.

In Genesis, the Bible account documents God as bestowing on man dominance over all living things. Of all the things that we have dominated or domesticated, the dog is the most altruistic.

Thank you, God of Creation, for all of the resources and wealth you have put under our oversight. May we be better stewards of your creation than we have been in the past. Thank you also for the special relationship we have developed with our domesticated animal companions. They give simply and generously. They remind us to work hard and make time for play and rest. We would be more hard hearted without their influence in our lives. Our animals are yet another way you make our lives more enriched. To Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer I give thanks and praise. Amen.


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