I now have a dog. That is a sentence I never believed I would write; or utter, to anyone.
It’s not that I don’t like dogs. Dogs are wonderful creatures.
My fear however, was that a dog would become the focal point of attention in our home and we would soon find our lives revolving around this . . . new “member” of our family. My sleep pattern would change, depending on a dog’s digestive track. Simply leaving the house would mean making sure a four-legged creature was properly cared for during our time away.
My fears came true. Aubie, a dachshund, is just a few months old and is not yet totally potty-trained. He gets excited and pees on the rug. He isn’t averse to pooping inside, but is at least pre-disposed toward going outside, which is becoming a plus.
I note that I’m now much more aware of the weather. When we go outside for Aubie’s “constitutional,” I find his desire to wander around the yard searching out the perfect location seems proportional to how hard it is raining or how cold it is. If it is freezing and the wind is blowing, this pup has all the time in the world to stop and smell the roses, the grass, poops from days earlier or anything else capturing his attention.
I also find that his interests are inversely proportional to my interests at any given moment. If I wish to relax and perhaps rest Aubie on my lap, he can’t wait to play. He also struggles with wanting to playfully chomp off my fingers, but that’s another story.
In short, Aubie can be a nuisance. Right now, our lives are a bit upside-down as we attempt to make his schedule fit ours.
There is a point in all of this, and it may not be what we think. Yes, we could equate Aubie to an unplanned pregnancy; new responsibilities, the upheaval of life, etc.
But Aubie is a dog. Let me repeat (to remind myself): He is a dog. Not human. He can survive well in a crate when necessary. Feeding is easy. He is virtually potty-trained in a few months. In real life, this is not hard. Bringing a new dog into a family is nothing like bringing a new human being into this world. Not even close.
No, the point here is change. One reason I avoided dogdom for so long is that this little guy represents a change. Yes, a few added responsibilities; but mostly, change.
But I was willing to go along with change because my youngest two boys are 9 and 7 years old. Aubie represents an opportunity to teach them responsibility, to give them companionship with something beyond the television and video games, and to bring a new joy into their lives.
On the positive side, Aubie is playful. He is loving, too. This morning my lovely bride brought Aubie into bed after his morning visit to the great outdoors and he wandered over and lapped up my arm, snuggling close. While he may have found some of my dinner from last night, I’m going to call it pure love. Sue me.
Tweet This: "We must know what to change, and when." @KirkWalden #prolife
Slowly, I am embracing the change. The boys love him, as do our other children. My mother-in-law wants him to come over to her house. My sister-in-law carries him around every time their family comes over. When all of us pray together as an extended family, Aubie sits quietly and I’m guessing, reverently.
We are better for the change.
In pregnancy help ministries, change is difficult. We’ve done it this way or that way for so long, it is difficult to embrace new ideas. Not every new idea is a good one, certainly. But as our clientele (and us, too!) changes, so must we.
As we look to Sanctity of Life week next week, let’s keep in mind our ministries have been around a while. When pregnancy help organizations first began, we had “Traditionalists” (born from 1900-1945) and “Boomers” (1945-1964) serving Boomers and Gen-Xers (1964-1980).
Somewhere in there we had Gen Y, and now we have Millennials. Any day now, we will declare a new generation by a new name.
Our challenge? We must know what to change, and when. Our principles are tried and true; they must not change. Our methods—remembering one of our key principles is integrity—must change when the time is right.
At my house, my principle is to raise young men of integrity. Little Aubie is a method I had to embrace to achieve the principle.
I’m not a fan of change. But, I’m getting used to it. In our pregnancy help organizations, change is rarely a lot of fun. Sometimes we bark in the middle of the night; or we (figuratively) poop on the rug and wonder if we will ever figure it out.
But our clients are like my two young boys. They need us, and they need us to change. Let’s be ready to do so when called upon.