Global.GusOriginally published in the Superior Catholic Herald, January 2, 2014

I can feel the love — or should I say, “Luv?” I’m back! OK, you’re right, an apology is in order. You may ask, “Where’ve you been these past 4 years — you haven’t been in the Catholic Herald since ’10?” Unfortunately the only answer to you in response is that I wish I had a good one. I think I just got bored with myself, thinking my Catholic Herald musings were just a bit too doggedly mundane = boring.

However, something changed in me these past few months. As you know, my Bishop has been making the rounds attending many receptions in parishes this past year looking for some kind of companion or campaign, or something like that. He comes away from these receptions looking quite plump and satisfied with himself.

When he would finally return to the car after each reception and awaken me, he would tell me that many people inside the parish hall by the food bowl had been asking about me. They apparently were asking, where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, and why I haven’t written for the paper like I used to do?

I guess after the 82nd reception I started thinking that just maybe it was true. That I am liked for just the storytelling, golden doodle I am. Maybe I truly have been missed and perhaps I’m not so doggedly mundane/boring as I thought I was.

So, I want you to know, it’s because of your encouragement, as well as the encouragement from the rest of the diocesan pack that I’m back!

You know, when you feel appreciated, you feel like you belong. Sometimes as a dog I feel like I’m being taken for granted. I’m always there for my Bishop, always wagging my long, handsome tail, or laying at his gigantic feet, or riding in the back of his bouncy Jeep, all the while wondering to myself if this is all there is to my canine life.

Recently, during one of my non-tail wagging days of self-doubt I heard a story from my best friend, Cubby — a dog who looks a bit like me but totally black. She was named Cubby because she looks like a baby bear.

At any rate, the story she told me got me thinking just how important living in a friendly and safe environment can be. As she told her story I began to realize how truly fortunate I am, and how much I take for granted all the goodness that surrounds me.

I also realize that nothing dispels being chained up on the short leash of self-pity like a little gratitude for the things I already have. I do think further pondering this insight might be a bone worth chewing on!

This is what Cubby told me. Last winter, late in the afternoon, while out on her lakefront property, she saw a big, big, gray dog looking kind of ridiculous jumping, yelping and playing around on the ice. The awkward looking dog was trying to invite Cubby to come out onto the ice and play with him. However, something was wrong. For soon after the romping around began, Cubby’s master called to her and told her to get into the house immediately. Then, just as fast, the big dog also left the area and ran into the woods nearby.

After Cubby was warm and safe inside, her adopted father, Roger, decided to walk out across the lake to check on the tracks of the big, big, gray dog, only to discover that there were many, many other big, big “dog” prints just inside the woods as well. Roger somehow knew that they weren’t really dog prints at all. All of them were the many, many paw prints of a big pack of gray wolves.

The invitation to come out to play by the one, big dog was really an invitation to dinner by all, and the main course for dinner that night was intended to be their special guest, Cubby.

Oh my, if that didn’t get me to thinking about my life in the big, old, mundane, dog house. Right away my self-pity dissolved into gratitude for the protection and care I’ve been offered at home and even in the car. Also, it’s given me a little more energy to go beyond myself and to think about writing to my big Diocesan pack of friends once again.

I’ve missed your familiar, hairless and small nosed faces, along with your tailless bodies and two shoed paws with laces. I feel most at home when I’m with all of you. And for this reason, I need to say thanks for your encouragement and support. Know that your kind words have got me writing again. I truly feel the “Luv!”

For your information, dogs don’t normally wish another dog a Happy New Year. The reason for this is because one of our years equals about seven of yours. But in your case I wish you all of those years plus more — Happy New Year!

Until next time – take a Bow and a Wow to God!