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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

Lessons our dog Buddy has taught me

November 7, 2022

My Journal Jottings


Buddy, our Tibetan Terrier, had surgery three months ago to remove a pancreatic tumor. Many friends (perhaps you!) were praying for him, and he seems fully recovered.
Here are some lessons I am learning from our 11-year-old dog.
Whenever I pick up his lead, he knows it’s time for a walk and comes along with little resistance. Otherwise, he can be very stubborn. But he needs to walk, just as I do.
Lesson 1: Be attentive when the Lord calls me to do something with him.
He doesn’t like to take pills or food by mouth. For a month after surgery, he refused to open his mouth. Finally, I had to be a vet tech and feed him through a tube. Whew! Glad that’s over, and he is eating.
Lesson 2: Not to keep my mouth or mind, or heart shut when God has something important to give me. He has something to give me, even if it’s not to my taste. After all, He knows better than I what I need.
Buddy has always been picky about what he eats. He loves Havarti cheese and turns up his nose at any other brand. Pretty spoiled doggie. But he usually takes his food or treats if I hand it to him rather than putting it on a plate or the flour. And if I tell him, I love him very much!
Lesson 3: The personal touch makes a difference. That matters in our relationships. With my wife, Jeanie. With friends. In ministry. As the saying goes, people don’t care much about what we say unless they know how much we care—stopping to really listen—saying a caring prayer on the spot. Or an encouraging word. That matters.
For several days in a row, Buddy was spitting up some phlegm in the morning. Probably his pancreas is still sensitive from the surgery. So one vet folk suggested we give him a bedtime bite of food or treat. That way, his tummy will be more at rest during the night. Guess what! It works!
Lesson 4: Our last thought at night will likely affect how we wake up in the morning. Sour thoughts at night don’t lead to sweetness in the morning. So may my last thoughts be of grace and thanks, not complaints and resentments.
Oops. Buddy just came in telling me he wants outside. I better go now.
Leighton Ford

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