We have two dogs … Rascal, a buff American cocker spaniel, and Fionna, a mostly black field-bred English cocker. They are both “rescued dogs”.
Rascal was owned by an elderly couple in a town not far from us who decided to retire to a condo in Colorado Springs and not take their (now adult, Army enlisted) son’s dog with them. Rascal was quite a project — he had ruled the roost in his former home and had to be taught who the alpha dog is in our household. (At the time we got Rascal, we had a little buff female cocker named Josephine who was queen of all she surveyed. She was a very well-behaved, wonderful little dog … and we thought all cockers were like that by nature. Rascal showed us otherwise.) It took a few months, but eventually Rascal settled down and has been a good dog.
Fionna came to us from a “save our strays” organization. She was picked up running free in a county to the south of us. She had an injured tail and a lousy disposition because of mistreatment in the county pound, where she’d been scheduled for destruction as “vicious”. She is anything but vicious — she’s is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever owned. But she had to be given a chance to show that sweetness. She had to be spayed. We had to get the tail docked as it wouldn’t heal. And we had to rid her of three different kinds of parasitic worms.
What Rascal and Fionna have most in common is this … they are both afraid of thunderstorms. And at this very minute there is a doozy of an electrical storm going on it our area, complete with severe thunderstorm and flood warnings, and a tornado watch.
I have two incredibly nervous dogs at my feet.
I think we’re all a bit like them in certain circumstances. There is some situation of which we are each afraid. We may not show it like my dogs, but there’s something like a scary thunderstorm for all of us. I know what mine is … it’s providing pastoral care to people who are sick in the hospital. It scares me to death … but I do it.
And just like the dogs are going to make through the thunderstorm sitting at my feet and being comforted by my hand every so often … I make it through hospital pastoral calls because there is Someone with me who, as I recall, once told his disciples when they were terrified by lightning: “Be not afraid.”