Lessons from Paco

2009-06 Paco First Day HomeA dear friend of our family recently gifted my children with a baby Teacup Chihuahua.  (For obvious reasons, it’s a good thing this friend is dear or he would’ve been left for dead within minutes after following up his promise to buy my children a Chihuahua because “they wanted one”.)  However, since I am apparently a weak-willed, spineless pushover when it comes to lovable creatures (as if I had a choice), Paco became a part of our family a few weeks ago.

We already had a 65-pound black lab mix named Maggie (who, for the record, loves me better than she loves the rest of the family and everyone knows it).  I felt slightly guilty, until now, that the kids didn’t really have a dog they could call their own.  They all call Maggie “Mom’s Dog” and she has been a true companion to me, teaching me countless things… like how to love with complete abandon, and how having a big black dog protecting the perimeter of our property is WAY more effective than our security system.  Just ask the UPS man… and the former UPS man.  And call me narcissistic, but being followed from room-to-room a 65-pound mass of pure adoration is something that I, for one, totally enjoy!  What’s not to love about being adored so wholeheartedly?!  Everyone should feel this joy.

I figured I had already learned the things that dog ownership is supposed to teach a person.  But now little Paco has wormed his way into my heart with his giant, paper-thin ears and teeny tiny body and has taught me a few bonus things.  And I’m starting to wonder if I fill the house with dozens of dogs… will I have the wisdom of Solomon?  Or at least maybe work my way up to having the wisdom of my Mom?!

Here is what Paco has taught me so far…

1)  I’ll start with the obvious.  Two words: Input, output.  Please don’t ask me to explain in detail.  Suffice it say, this simple concept has never been more evident than when the faint glow of tennis ball fuzz gleams from within the miniature piles he creates in the yard (or behind the sofa, or under the bed).  What goes in must come out.  It’s making me really think realistically (albeit graphically) about what I put into my mind, body and heart.  It’s also reminding me to NEVER chew on a tennis ball, whatever that’s worth.

2) Power isn’t measured by stature or position, but by spirit.  The term “small but mighty” accurately describes Paco.  We’re only small and insignificant if we think we are.  Paco has NO idea that he is small.  So don’t tell him, okay?  It’s so great to see him strut around with his head held high… five inches high from the ground to the top of his head!

3) When really you want something, just look all adorable and make your request abundantly clear… and maybe tilt your head to the side slightly when you ask.  Paco has shown me just how effective this approach can be!  (Apparently my kids had learned this concept and used it on our friend prior to my learning it from Paco!)

4) Treats are good.  After a success, a reward makes you feel really fantastic about what you’ve done!  Makes you want to succeed again.

5) Timing is everything.  The week we got Paco, we happened to be at the beginning of what has become quite a “desert experience” in our life.  You know how it goes… when it rains, it pours.  But somehow, feeling Paco’s soft baby fur and seeing his adoring looks as he creates a ball of warmth in our lap (or around our necks) has been an unexpected ray of sunshine during a somewhat challenging stretch of our journey..

6) Getting home is an occasion to be celebrated.  When we return home, even after being gone only a few minutes, Paco howls an excited welcome home howl with his nose high in the air.  It’s as though he thought he would never see us again… and then the prodigal family returned from their trip to Target.  Oh the rejoicing!   It reminds me that getting home, for any of us, can and should be a moment of celebration that we’re all together again.

Well… I could go on and on.  I mean, I have learned so much.  Who knew how many marginally edible items were lurking under the couch?  Or how many clothes I own with drawstrings that simply MUST be chewed on?!  Or that Paco still kind-of loves me best, just like Maggie (I guess it’s just a maternal thing).  BUT this, I know… I couldn’t possibly be mad at our family friend for springing a new puppy on us.  I’m delighted that he knows us well enough to know how Paco would bless our family with laughter, affection, warmth and absolute crazy love.  So thanks, Ken.  I guess I won’t kill you like I had originally promised.  At least not yet.

4 thoughts on “Lessons from Paco

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  1. Nothing like a dog poop devotional to start the day out right– thank you! I totally get it!

    I’m still trying to draw a spiritual metaphor from my tiny dog’s most outstanding characteristic: standing with his head and shoulders sticking out of the doggie door enjoying the morning air while the other half of him raises a leg and pees where he stands. In my laundry room.



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