Global.GusOriginally published in the Superior Catholic Herald, February 11, 2010

Hi everybody.  You’re probably wondering where I’ve been these past few weeks.  I don’t like to admit it, but I’ve been a bit preoccupied since I had my Catholic Herald Christmas photo shoot in December.  Since then, I haven’t felt much like writing, for I have been totally obsessed with one thing, and that one thing is actually two – and those two things are actually fox who live somewhere in my back yard.  I know they’re there!

Everyday when I look out the living room windows I can see those two half-dog, half-cat like creatures prancing around in MY yard.  They watch me watching them and then they begin to taunt me. I can almost hear them say, “Come and get us big guy.  Catch us if you can.”  Then off they go running.

Now, whenever I go outside to do my thing, I go in search of the little frisky critters. Because of them I have come to understand the phrase “as clever as a fox.”  These guys are brilliant.  They have a way of leaving their scent behind – and I do believe that’s about where it comes out – at any rate, they leave all kinds of mixed, scented messages, and it drives my overly sensitive smeller absolutely wild. Meanwhile, every time I am in pursuit of Jesse and James (these are the names I’ve given the two rascals) I get more and more hooked thinking that this will be the time I come home with the jackpot, but it never is.

Jesse and James drive me on a wild goose chase that literally puts me in touch with all kinds of prickly little plants, whose seeds the Bishop later has to pluck out of my hair one by one.  Now over time, these seeds begin to take their toll on my beautiful, golden locks.  My fur begins to mat.  The Bishop can only do so much de-matting before he has to take me in to be groomed, actually, sheered.  All my handsome curls are chopped off.  Now I’m left looking like a teenage lamb with a mop cut of hair left on my head.  Even the Bishop laughed when he first saw me come out of the barbarian’s, I mean barber’s shop. And I thought the gorilla glue was bad.

You’d think I would have learned by now that the pursuit is useless, but I haven’t.  My Bishop tried to console me by telling me that sometimes humans get obsessed with things in life too, and what a miserable mess of things it makes for them as well.  He did add, however, that people have a bit more willpower to do the right thing, and the ability to reflect on the consequences of their bad behavior and make changes in their life.  They also have the added bonus of being able to turn to God for help.  People, if they want, can correct their obsessions.

It’s not so easy for a dog, like me, who was bred to hunt and retrieve.  I do hope for the sake of all my human friends that they use the graces given them not to get trapped.  Heaven knows it’s not fun when you lose control of your freedom and have to pay the consequences for your obsessions at a later date.  It’s no fun at all.  Jesse and James, you’re driving me crazy!

Hey, thanks for listening as I spout off about all this stuff.  Actually, I think it’s been quite therapeutic (I know you’re thinking that’s a big word for a dog.  Do remember, however, my mom was a poodle.)

This just in – the next time I get the craving to go on a fruitless foxhunt, I’ll do something for someone else instead.  Perhaps even hunt and peck on the writing machine and get my GPS out just a little sooner.

Before saying goodbye I want to publicly thank the religious ed students at St. Ann’s in Saxon for the great dog treats.  Your act of kindness helped get my mind off two other things.  Hopefully I can visit you soon again, as well as all my friends throughout the Diocese.

Until then take a bow and a wow to God,

– Gus