Zimbabwean Cattle Retriever

The Best Dog

This is a sad and lonely morning in the Carenen Cottage. We had to put our dog to sleep. Degenerative bone disease had rendered her a cripple in pain, and she was getting worse fast. I can tell you this about her. She was intelligent, playful, obedient, sweet-natured (never bit anything but her food), and a good snorer. She had a large vocabulary that included the usual "squirrel,' and many others. She knew "eat," "dog," "out," "come," "sit," "stay" and "pterodactyl." She also knew "night-night" and "bath," but she pretended she didn't know "bath," but I know she did because when I said it, she tried to disappear. Not easy for a 79-pound Zimbabwean Cattle Retriever - Crested (actually, she was a blend of Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, and several other breeds, including "Mushpot").

She was always good and generally happy, her tail wagging all the time, even when the vet was giving her the injections.

She was our friend and companion, greeter, and confidant. We miss her already.

Her name was "Roxie."


Theological Thanksgiving

In Flannery O'Connor's short story, 'Greenleaf,' one of the characters says, 'I thank God for ever'thang!' That's a pretty solid theological approach to Thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for, and I try not to take anything for granted. I have a wonderful (albeit long-suffering) bride who inspires and loves me, daughters who make me enthusiastically proud, and a dog (Zimbabwean Cattle Retriever - Crested) who adores me. I'm not going to say anything about the cats.

But when we have blessings, we also have those annoying, tenacious responsibilities. I have excellent health as a gift, but I also try to be wise in exercise, nutrition, and rest (especially rest). I have a great job, but I need to keep trying to be a better professor. You get the idea.

But there's another element in life for which I give thanks, a cause for thanksgiving that I can do nothing to improve. And that's God's grace, His unmerited favor.

So while Thanksgiving specifies a national day to pause and count our blessings, and that's fine, shouldn't we be doing that every day? Do we need someone to tell us to be thankful? I hope not.

Mr. Greenleaf's joyful exclamation needs to ring true for all of us. And, like him, I thank God for everything. Happy Thanksgiving!