Global.GusOriginally published in the Superior Catholic Herald, April 1, 2010

It’s a doggone shame I don’t have free reign.  It seems like lately everybody is telling me how to behave.  I’m told no jumping, no kissing on the cheeks, no biting of arms, and no digging holes in yards.  Now it seems as if all the things that bring me enjoyment, the adults in my world want to take away.  I’ve been hearing them bark “NO” a lot.

My last hurrah was when some young nuns came for a visit.  One of them was playing a weird shaped box with wires on it.  As she sang to the six adults gathered, I was able to get away with murder.  Everyone was concentrating on the beautiful music with eyes closed, except Sr. Mary Claire who I had pinned to the ground holding her arm in my mouth.  I do know how much pressure to apply, but she didn’t know that I knew.  She was in a bit of a panic and, yet, didn’t want to interrupt the others as they were being entertained by the music.  However, when the song ended she softly said, “Hello … I could use a little help down hear … I can’t move with this dog attached to my arm.”

It was fun while it lasted, but I know the Bishop wasn’t too pleased.  Ever since that episode with the nun, it seems to me that I’m getting a lot more fake chew toys in order to keep me at arm’s distance.

I’ve also noticed that there appears to be some sort of concerted effort by all our guests not to give into my unruly wishes.  I don’t know what the Bishop is telling them, but our visitors don’t seem to be nearly as fun as they were in the past.  Even a recent visit from our seminarians was a bit more restrained.  They would hardly let me do my exuberant greetings or tricks.  They treated me more like a dog or something – showing me how to sit and shake, as if I’ve never done that before.

Now that I’m over a year old I do believe the cute little puppy stage of my life is ending.  All I can say is it was fun while it lasted.

Now, I don’t want to admit what I’m about to say, but I do feel the need lest you think I’m a spoiled bratwurst, or just the wurst.  I’m beginning to believe that the imposition of a little law and order on my life might be a good thing for me in the long run.  As strange as it sounds, I get the feeling it’s needed for a better life.

The first time I remember such a thing happening was when my original fur-covered parents taught me a few rules having to do with making our communal living as a family just a bit more pleasant.  My mom, who happened to be a neat freak, didn’t like me messing in my brothers’ and sister’s bed.  Imagine that!  Now, looking back, it makes all the sense in the world, but at the time it seemed inconvenient and like a certain liberty was being taken away from me.  In retrospect I was beginning to learn that I’m not the only one living in this world, and that I need to be mindful of others for a better life for them, as well as for myself.

Now as I hear people bark “no” I’ve got to trust that this might be just one more of those growth points.  Perhaps I may even come to enjoy the fact that I don’t need to gnaw on the arms of our guests to get a little attention.  If I’m lucky I might even get that same intact arm to pet me just a little bit longer during their visit.  We’ll see.

Boy, I wish life could be a bit easier at times, but perhaps it will get better when I become more willing to be mindful of the needs and wishes of others.  The doggone truth of the matter is that I don’t have all the answers and I need the help of my friends to show me the way.  Imagine that!

As I bid you farewell, rest assured that I will leave the Easter Bunny alone, for I understand he’s got an important role to play in the life and happiness of our little, fur-free puppies.

Meanwhile Happy Easter to all of you – my well-mannered and respectful friends.
Until we meet again, take a bow and a wow to God,

– Gus