Rather than focus on my own faults and shortcomings, I prefer to bring to light the flaws of others around me. Today my subject is the raw materialism, dishonesty and other sins of my dog, Beau. I will also touch on my wife’s struggles with forgiveness.
Beau has been the subject of other posts since he joined our household in January. I invite you to go to the archives under animal stories in order to get a better picture of his personality and our resulting troubles.
While many faithful Christians were giving up some things for Lent, Beau was bent on acquiring more and more new earthly possessions. While others accepted the grace of undeserved forgiveness by Christ, Beau seemed oblivious and, instead, sinned boldly.
Martin Luther asked a theological question when writing about God’s grace that we do not earn but are offered nevertheless. “Are we then to sin boldly, that grace may abound?” The answer is “No.” Beau did not read that far. He took the “sin boldly” remark out of context and adopted it as his mantra.
Beau has a problem with stealing. Maybe I should say that he does not have a problem with stealing because his conscience does not appear troubled by stealing. We have a problem with him stealing. Beau is a thief. He is not just a sneaky burglar. He is also a daylight robber. As I just said, he lacks a conscience. He lacks remorse.
Many dogs truly show remorse. When their owners find, for example, that someone ate the kitty treats, they might say, as we do, “Sadie, what did you do? Did you eat the kitty treats?” Our Sadie puts her head down and looks both guilty and sorry for her sins. She is remorseful. She is repentant. She has a conscience. Beau, on the other hand, literally smiles at the memory of stolen treats, wagging his tail unabashedly.
Beau frequently picks up my wife’s slippers and shoes in his busy mouth. You are thinking that he gets them to bring to Miss Sugar. He is, after all, a Labrador Retriever. You are thinking wrong. Beau retrieves, certainly, but for his own selfish purposes. He picks up a shoe on his way out the door, hoping we won’t notice. When we try to grab his treasure from him, he gleefully dodges. He thinks he is funny. Sometimes we don’t.
He does appreciate his collection of bones, toys, and other material possessions. He reminds us of the dog in the insurance commercial on TV that keeps a bone in a safety deposit box at a bank, except Beau does not trust banks. Beau brings a rawhide chew toy with him most of the time. Sadie will jump into the truck without hesitation. Beau will poise himself to jump, remember that he should bring his toy, get it, and then jump in with it, so as not to leave it behind. He probably projects that since he steals, others also lack morals and someone might steal from him.
When we had Rover, rest his soul, I wrote about how Rover shared his finds by decorating our yard with skulls and bones and quilts. He gladly shared. Beau does not share. He puts his treasures in his crate, where he sleeps at night, even treasures that are not his, such as Sugar’s slippers with the leather soles. (Sadie does not sleep in a crate, by the way, she has the run of the house because she can be trusted.)
I counsel Sugar to forgive Beau for his trespasses. It is a perilous spiritual battle when one’s dog endangers her immortal soul. I, on the other hand, do forgive. If only Sugar would follow my sterling example. If only she would accept my constructive criticism and emulate my religious perfection. Perhaps she will read this blog and see the error of her ways as I shine my light before her. Or not.
Mothers’ Day is next month. I will suggest to Beau that he should replace Sugar’s slippers as a present. Blessed are we peacemakers!