May 23, 2011Truthfully, we did not know what kind of guest Henry would be. We know that he has separation anxiety problems. When we have seen him and been around him, he has actually appeared quite neurotic. Still, the visit of the good friends with whom Henry lives was worth the risk. Now, after a beautiful weekend, Henry and family are just driving out of the yard in a cloud of dust, and we are a little sad in their leaving. Henry was a joy! Henry is a seven year old, 100 pound Bouvier, a large breed of herding dogs, whose black curls are just growing back after his "summer cut." He has a beard that frequently needs a napkin wipe, and eyebrows and lashes that diminish his ability to see things like screens and sliding glass doors. His unawareness of his size sometimes makes him appear clumsy. He barrels through the house on night one, straight out the door and across the porch and through the screen then turns around with a little "oops" in his eyes. Then he is off into a new found freedom that city life does not grant. His delight is obvious, and soon Henry is smiling from ear to ear. Henry grins the entire weekend. His spirit exudes happiness that is unmistakeable. After he has done his exploration of the 'hood, he is content to lay on the porch, or the cool tiles of the living room floor. He was a joy to watch on the beach. He has not been around water like the the river before. First he sat watching each wave as it came to shore. He backed up if they came too close. His eyes followed each wave to its finish. Then Henry laid down his head on his front paws, in a position that looked like prayer, employing all his senses to watch the waves. When Henry sat back up, he just looked out like a surveyer of the landscape. There was a lot to see. The martins were flying circles around their gourd apartments, sailboats were up and down the river, a pelican sat on the dock. Henry took it all in and smiled. I think he called it good. Henry is an exquisite part of God's creation with love and innocence as his gift to the world. He is without guile, a "child" of wonder. I always learn a lot from the creatures that come to live with me, but dogs, especially, convey to me the unconditional love of God's creation. I don't ask the question about dogs going to heaven; I leave that call to God. But I do give thanks that I am privileged to share the planet with creatures so filled with love and curiosity they fuel my joy and make me laugh. And I give thanks that God is opening my eyes and heart to see the goodness around. Thanks be to God!