Originally published in the Superior Catholic Herald September 19, 2009
Hi! My name is Gus. I’m Bishop Peter’s 7-month-old goldendoodle. My dad was a retriever and my mom a poodle. I was one of four little furballs born on Feb. 8, 2009 in Mequon, Wis. And I was named “Gus” after the patron saint of our Diocese, St. Augustine.
Jokingly (I hope), the bishop says my name came from a derivative of the word disgusting – whatever that means. At any rate, I understand a priest named Fr. Pat Hardy, the pastor in Lac du Flambeau, suggested my real name. I want to thank Fr. Hardy because, from all I’ve been told, prior to his recommendation, my name was to be “Shih Tzu.” Like Fr. Patrick’s, the name “Gus” is much more hearty and fits better into our beautiful and yet rugged, northern Wisconsin.
Bishop Peter thought it would be a good idea for me to write a regular article for the Catholic Herald. He thinks some of our readers might enjoy having a little different perspective of life within our Diocese from time to time (Perhaps not very elevated, but do remember I am still growing!) Also remember that no one knows our bishop like I do. This will allow me the opportunity to tell you things about him that others may never come to know. For example, did you know that his favorite traveling foods are corn nuts and beef jerky? Don’t tell him I told you. I do confess, however, they’re probably two reasons why I like going along for the ride.
I also have to say that I have met some absolutely wonderful people in my travels. I knew a breeder who work with color labradoodle puppies in michigan and he said than a puppy needs to be introduced to 100 humans the first 100 days of their lives in order to be properly socialized. I know for a fact that I was introduced to my first 100 the first 3 days I arrived. I’m so fortunate. I took special interest in meeting the Franciscans in Ashland who gave me room to roam not only in their yard, but also in their entire city one night; the Servites in Ladysmith who sing so lovely at Mass that I think I’d prefer listening to them even more than having my tummy rubbed; and, of course, I was spoiled by the Caramel-delights in Hudson — I mean Carmelites — who took care of me for a day, filling me to the brim with their treats. They like me, even if this dog has an allergy, they still care for me.
Today I write my first GPS from a boarding kennel in the other superior city of Duluth. I now know why the sound of the word “bored” is in boarding. At any rate, I need to be here because the bishop flew across the pond to Rome to be with other newly appointed bishops. It’s some sort of training program. I don’t exactly know what bishops do, but I’m quite certain he can use whatever it is that they have to offer. At any rate, he asked me to give some time for reflection on ideas for up- coming Gus perspectives for the Catholic Herald. Why wait? Heaven knows there’s not a lot to do where I’m staying – so here it goes.
Twice this past week I caught the bishop looking at me in utter amazement and a smile on his face. Apparently, while I was totally mesmerized by the sound of a garbage truck coming down the street, a fox came running across my yard. While the fox was running his gaze fixed entirely upon the bishop and mine continued to be solely on the loud truck. The fox and I were so distracted that we didn’t even see each other – not until the moment when we nearly collided. At that moment we both jumped high and took off running in opposite directions.
Soon thereafter a similar thing happened as I began to chase a cute, little deer. Again, I did so with total focus. What I didn’t realize was the little guy’s mother and sister were running right behind me as I was chasing him. Once again, the whole thing was a bit of a fiasco. Sometimes I get so focused on what I’m doing that I miss the big picture.
The bishop gave me comfort when he said that humans sometimes do the same. He remembers years ago when a seminarian friend was struggling hard to get two ice cubes out of a nearly empty tray. Oh, he fought and fought, even prayed, that those two cubes would come out. So strong was his concentration that he missed the fact that the two cubes at the other end of the tray had already fallen and were ready for his use.
We all know there are times when the very thing we think we want or need is the very thing we have already been given. The bishop told this story to remind me, and I think himself (that’s why I think he was smiling at me) it’s good to look about and reflect on all that we have been given and are able to take delight in. Perhaps the things we think will bring us the greatest joy in life are the very things, or even people, that we have already been blessed with in our midst.
I’ll keep this in mind. Maybe even in my next article I can tell you what this bor- ing kennel, I mean boarding kennel, had in store for me in the manner of blessings. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to report on what Rome had in store for our bishop as well.
Until then – take a bow and a wow to God!