Guess what Saturday was?! Puppy class Saturday! And I must say, I’m quite proud of my girl…let me tell you why. Each puppy raiser asked their dog to do a “down stay” in the middle of the room and then stepped away. This continued until there is what you could describe as a blob of dogs in the center of the room. With puppy raisers on the outskirts, the class instructor walked in and out of the “dog blob” with all sorts of fun and enticing items (might I just say the dogs find her fun in and of herself). There was a toy pig that walked around and oinked, a toy hedgehog that honked like a goose when squeezed, and one of those “old school” Fisher-Price corn popper push toys…just to name a few.
So as the instructor walked around with each of these items, the dogs were able to practice remaining in their “down” amidst distractions (something they will face in the “real world”). Now let me enter my pup into the story. During the entire “down stay” my pup was wagging her tail, quite fascinated by each of the items…for her, they were very “fun and enticing.” It was clear that she would have very much enjoyed going up to explore any one of them. But she stayed in her down during all of it (and remember she’s on her own out there, I’m not next to her).
It was just so striking to watch her…you could describe her as being filled with such joy and control at the same time. What she did demonstrated that self-control does not equal dismay or gloominess…she showed me that self-control and joy go together. We can remain joyful while having to undergo a trial. And in doing so, we can bring those around us to joy.
We can live out these words: “Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful…Go through life like a little child, always trusting, always full of simplicity and humility, content with everything, happy in every circumstance.”
Seeing the paradox of my pup wagging her tail while holding her down left me joyful. Imagine the impact that we can have on others when we remain joyful amidst the trials of this life. So when our patience is tested or we are facing trials, may we respond with control and joy.
“Do you want to be great? Start with what is small.”