How a dog encouraged me to pray

I take our dog out to pee first thing in the crisp, February morning. My breath is visible in the cold air and hangs before me briefly with each exhale. The cold bites through my thin pyjama pants.

I cross my arms, trying to hug any remaining warmth from inside around me while my dog stands in the driveway, resisting my efforts to direct her to the backyard to ‘do her business’. Instead, she stands quietly, observing, her black nose twitching at scents I cannot smell, and ears moving at slight noises from afar. She surveys with a regal, watchful eye.

I’m getting impatient.

And cold.

I shiver.

Then, as I recognize my agitation and my frustration, I try to change my attitude. I can’t sense what she is sensing… not in the same way, at least. However, I try to tune into what she might be hearing or noticing about this fresh new day.

I breathe deep…. and I thank God for the chance to live another day. There are those who will not get that chance to breathe fresh air into their lungs today.

I breathe deep… and I notice the pink sky of the rising sun, and thank God for the beauty of that.

I breathe deep… and listen to the sounds of the birds, their voices raised in praise, and heralding the arrival of new season that I cannot sense quite yet.

Gratitude floods my body, my mind, my heart.

I sense the Presence of God in my morning pause.

My dog stretches long, greeting the new day in her own way and I smile.

Beautiful.

As we head back into the house, my heart has shifted in a way. I have become more aware of the gifts of today and more aware of the Presence of God. All thanks to the quiet observation of a dog.