Author RS Guthrie has written a special teaching for our Sunday Morning
Reunion Service. "God through the eyes of a Dog - An interview with Bandit"
RS Guthrie was not able to attend, but he was with us in spirit as he prepared this for us to share
on Sunday Morning.
For more on Desert Willow Aussies Reunion 2013 CLICK HERE
Our own R S Guthrie and his beautiful wife Amy are Owners of 3 Desert Willow Aussies, will be doing a special Sunday Morning Service during breakfast and a book signing on Festival Day.
Read: Ashley Barron: Author Interview ~ RS Guthrie Blog - Robonwriting.com
Want to Read?
His book, Blood Land, has been selected as a Finalist in the Wise Bear Book Awards.
HAVE YOU READ HIS BOOKS?
At some point in hearing an incredulous story there is a moment when we must decide whether or not we believe. These stories, no matter how much they stretch the limits of our imagination, many times there is still a part of us—the part that perhaps lived strongest within us as children—that wants to believe.
This is such a story.
When we brought our dog Bandit home from Desert Willow Aussies, we knew right away there was something different about him. Not “good” different or “bad” different—just a specialness that surrounded him as he grew. An American Humane employee who as a second interest specialized in holistic animal healing once tested him and said he had the strongest, most tangible energy force that she’d ever encountered in any animal.
After growing to adulthood, we noticed that Bandit was not as athletic as out other Aussies, nor was he as overtly intelligent when put to task on normalized canine tests. However he seemed to have an ability to connect more to human elements than any of our other dogs.
One way he exhibited this humanlike behavior was by watching television programs from start to finish, not just because there might be an animal on the screen, or a strange sound, but as if he understood the plot and everything that was happening. For instance, if one character would raise their voice with another character in an argument, or make a sudden movement toward the other person, he would run up to the television as if to protect the person he perceived as being attacked.
The other day, while watching him viewing one of his favorite programs, Pawn Stars, I started wishing I could ask him questions—since he seemed to be so connected to human activity and emotions—I found myself wanting to learn more about how dogs view we humans and the things we do and believe in. Just as I was thinking about this, Bandit turned around and looked me straight in the eyes, never wavering, as if to say, “I know what you’re thinking.”
That night I awoke and Bandit was lying where he usually does on the bed, but he was prone, with his head in the air, watching me as if waiting for me to wake up.
“Hey, boy,” I said softly, so as not to awaken Amy or the other dogs.
“Hey, Dad,” Bandit answered.
I squinted at him, a dopey smile creasing my face, sure I was still asleep, dreaming.
“You’re not dreaming,” Bandit said. “And you’re not completely awake. This is the place where we can talk with each other. The in-between.”
“The in-between,” I said.
“You humans do that a lot.”
“Repeat things. We dogs never repeat things.”
“But you bark and bark and bark,” I said.
“And you think we’re saying the same thing over and again?” he said. “Nonsense. It’s like now, we don’t have much time, so every word should count.”
I had to admit, I was surprised at his insight.
“So what do you want to know?” he said. “I saw you looking at me in that way tonight—that quizzical way you humans have, wanting to know everything about the Universe.”
“I want to know what you think about God,” I blurted out. I don’t know why, of all the questions I could ask, that was the most important.
“It’s a good question,” Bandit said. “Worthy of our short time. We dogs, we have a special view about God that is both different than you humans and exactly the same. But I have to tell you the funniest part.”
“For the first few months we’re with you, we think you are gods.”
“Think about it. You provide everything to us. Food, water, love, attention. You make us better when we’re sick, comfort us when it’s storming outside. You know how to leave the house and explore the entire world and you take us with you, allowing us to see all of creation.”
“When is it that you stop believing that we are gods,” I asked him.
“The first time we see you follow behind us and pick up our poop.”
I laugh. “No god would pick up another animal’s excrement.”
“Exactly. But by then we are starting to have a self-awareness, and a sense of other life forms on the earth. The more places you take us—the more people and other dogs, and other species we encounter—we realize the world is full of all this majesty. Life. Billions of other souls. Trillions, even.”
“Do you ever hear us talk about God?” I said.
“Sometimes. It makes us sad.”
“It seems like you always talk about God when you need something or when you don’t get what you wanted. You’re always asking for things.”
“I guess so,” I said.
“You like to watch a lot of television programs about war,” Bandit said.
“Are you changing the subject?”
“No, I want to tell you that I learned about war by lying next to you, watching the history of the world, seeing that everything seems to come down to fighting and to war and to destruction.”
“And what does that have to do with how you see God?”
“Everything,” Bandit said. “Dogs see all the beauty, all the perfection: a sunny, cloudless day; the purification in a rain storm; the smell of baking bread. All the good things. It’s why we love you so unconditionally—love; love should never be conditional.”
“But we humans, you think all we see is the bad?”
“No,” said Bandit. “You humans create all the bad.”
I was stunned. Hurt. His statement made me want to defend my own race, but somewhere inside I knew there was no defense. “So you’re saying God is in all the good? That’s what you believe about God?”
“We see God in the forgiveness. The acts of kindness you bestow on strangers. The way you swarm to a natural disaster to assist those in need. But then we see you doing everything within your power to destroy the absolute perfection of this world. To us, you are both the image of and the opposite of God. And yet we love you anyway. Unconditionally.”
I tell him I think dogs are closer to God than we humans may ever be.
“We’re almost out of time,” Bandit says.
“I want to know more,” I say. “I still don’t understand why you all don’t just abandon us.”
“Yes you do,” Bandit says, and climbs up on my chest and licks my face the way he always does. Unconditionally. Not to get something in return but just because he loves me.
Just before I drift back to sleep he whispers something I will never forget:
“It’s because you’re worth it.”