Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who's in the Driver's Seat?

Mauschen (my dog) and I are exploring bike joring together.  Bike joring is a lot like ski joring, except it’s on a bicycle.  Joring is a sport in which the dog or other animal (horse often) assists the human in their work.  In joring, the animal and human are joined only by a joring lead, a special kind of lead that has bungee built into it do help with starts and stops.  There is no bit or bridle like with driving a horse.   Joring can be done individually or in teams.  In my case, it’s done individually, since I only have one dog.  She does a mighty fine job though.
The other day I sent Littlest Brother out to run her because I wasn’t feeling up to it (truth be told the only thing I was feeling up to was hunkering down in my bed and sleeping it all off).  When he returned I asked him how she did.  His report was not positive.  Mostly, she’d run beside the bike, veering off to sniff a lot and not pulling her weight at all.
I was shocked.  I’d taken her out every day in the last week and she had pulled beautifully; never beside me and seldom stopping to sniff anything.  Why was her behavior so different with him?  I took her out with me again the next morning and once again, she was pulling wonderfully with no problem (road conditions on the other hand were a problem).
I thought back to a time a couple weeks ago when we were in town and my sister had tried walking her.  She pulled on the lead, chased squirrels and generally misbehaved.  When I had Mauschen a few moments later she walked as if she had just graduated from puppy school at the top of her class.
Another time I watched as a family member tried to put the dog into a “sit” while guests were at the house.  Mauschen would have none of it.  Sitting was not in her vocabulary at that time.  I walked over, snapped my fingers and gave the command.  Her butt dropped and she sat, her tail thumping on the floor.
The dog hadn’t changed.  What had changed was who was driving.  The human factor.   Mauschen knows me and I know her.  It’s not that she doesn’t know the rest of my family, they are all very familiar to her, but her and I have a special relationship.  When we are out joring together, she is not just providing me with pulling strength, she is being my eyes and my ears.
When we are out together, I don’t ever where my hearing aids and very seldom where my glasses.  Essentially, I’m riding blind and deaf.   I have to trust her completely to make the right calls when we are riding together and I know she will.  If she refuses to cross a road, I know it’s because she can see or hear something that I cannot.  If she starts pulling to the side (and her nose isn’t to the ground in a sniff!) I know a car is coming behind me and I can’t hear it.
As I have to trust her, she knows that she can trust me.  If I tell her to sit and stay, she knows it’s because I have the situation under control.  We are a team.  I don’t try to overpower her and she doesn't try to overpower me.  We just work together.

This led to some life thoughts.  Who is in the driver’s seat?  Who am I in a partnership with that I trust completely?

The Sunday School answer of course is G-d.  G-d is someone who I can trust completely, someone who will always have my best interests in mind, even when I can’t see it.  Do I always live as if this is the case?  Far from it!  Often I find myself working against G-d, working on my own, without trusting him to lead me completely.  It’s sad that my 4 year old black lab trusts me more than I trust the G-d that created me.  Even sadder is the fact that I trust her to guide me through the everyday things of life more than I do my Lord and Savior.

Someday I hope to trust my husband they way my dog and I trust each other.  Mauschen and I share the load together, we trust each other to have the others best interests in mind.  I would hope to have that with my future spouse.

It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where everyone looked out for everyone else and we all had each others best interests in mind.  That would be delightful. Then a economy of mutual trust would be built.

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