Listening to the Dogs, Part III – Take a Break

As I might have mentioned here before, our dogs – Patrick and Rosie – are Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers.

Like most dogs of the Terrier class, they are VERY energetic extroverts. Here is a quick little blurb from the American Kennel Club website on the history of the breed: “As versatile farm dogs, Wheatens were expected to do any number of rustic chores, like ratting, guarding the chicken coop, and even herding or bird-dogging. When day was done, they were engaging fireside companions, a role they still relish—even if the hearth has been replaced by a TV.”

We do love our doggies, but for Joan and I, it is a daily challenge to find new ways to burn off some of that seemingly boundless “ratting” energy. 

One day a couple of years ago, I had a chance meeting with a neighbor on a walking trail near our home. As usual, I was being dragged along the trail by Rosie and Patrick as they lunged forward in search of new adventures. I knew that Dave – the neighbor I met on the trail – had a 14-year-old Wheaten, so I asked him, “So Dave… how many more years of this wild vigor do we have to look forward to?” 

Dave just smiled and said, “Oh, you probably only have another nine or ten years before they calm down a little.”

Thanks for that wonderful reassurance, Dave.

And yet, despite that seemingly bottomless well of energy, Rosie and Patrick also both know how to relax… as you can see from this picture. 

  • They do not seem to feel the need to continually check things off their “To Do” lists. 
  • They are not frantic about checking and re-checking their social media feeds every 20 seconds.
  • They do not suffer even the slightest case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, for the uninitiated). 
  • They do not tie their self-worth to their daily productivity. 

When their bodies tell them it is time to just lay down and relax, they readily obey. 

Sounds like something I could stand to learn a little more about. 

All of us know – probably because we have all been told this at our annual physicals – that good health demands adequate rest. The standard prescription of eight hours of sleep per night still stands… despite the fact that it is rarely observed. 

Curiously enough, God also believes in the principle of rest. So strongly, in fact, that the notion of rest – also known as sabbath – made it onto God’s Top Ten List: “But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.” (Exodus 20:10, NRSV). 

A little later in the book of Exodus, the Israelites decide to really, REALLY emphasize the importance of sabbath rest with this slight variation on the seventh commandment, “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death.” (Exodus 31:15, NRSV).


Yes, our bodies – finite and limited as they are – need some down time. They need to repair themselves and recharge. 

But interestingly enough, God – not confined to the same limited, tiring sack of muscle and bone we are – also decided to take a day off. I am sure He did it as a way of helping us understand the importance of rest. 

But maybe it was also His way of saying, “Stop. Smell the flowers. EXPERIENCE the world I’ve made. Take a breath. Cease from striving and celebrate the wonder and the gift of this amazing, unrepeatable life.” 

And sometimes, when we can’t remember to do that on our own, God sends a couple of cute dogs our way to remind us.

Abundant blessings;

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