Tag Archives: Tigger

on tiggers, gracias, and grace

Were I to have set out to obtain a canine companion – which I most decidedly did not do – I could not have chosen for myself a better match than the four-legged ball of brown fur and wagging tail that chose me. Truly.

For a long while I had ‘wanted’ a dog – like someone ‘wants’ something that is just out of reach, but always desirable.

But, faced with the practicalities of life, I didn’t put any action into actually obtaining that which I believed I wanted. But clearly someone heard. Clearly some intention was communicated out beyond the confines of my small self, to a world beyond that heard, listened, and responded – or maybe it was all just chance, coincidence, luck. I prefer to believe in serendipity.

Granted, at the time of the fluff ball’s arrival I was not so convinced – how can I possibly have a dog, I asked myself, and anyone who would listen. Until one day about a week into the adventure a friend pointed out that, having purchased a stylish matching leash and collar, it appeared that I had, in fact, admitted that I did, actually, have a dog.

But I don’t have a life for a dog, I protested, rather futilely, as the canine began to slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, to rearrange the life that I thought I had so well ordered.

Three years and some weeks later, I cannot imagine life without that dog in it. Yes, I do have a fairly crazy life for someone who now has not just a dog, but two cats as well. But there are ways of figuring those things out. The joy that creature brings to my life – and I chose the word joy intentionally – far outweighs the hassle of figuring out what to do with her when life takes me away from home and into the world.

She loves to play fetch. She loves the ocean. She loves running on the beach, chasing the birds, chasing the frisbee. She loves to swim. She looks like a bit like a coyote, my favorite animal as a child and the subject of my fourth grade report on an animal – any animal – of my choice.  She has mellowed out somewhat, from those first months, thankfully, and now sleeps peacefully nearby while I sit to write this.

I named her based on her high energy and her propensity for jumping – Tigger, was what a friend on facebook suggested – and it stuck.

But had I given her a name based on her place in my life, for her role rather than her behavior, there is one name that would have transcended all others – gift. Or perhaps grace. For that which I could not actually accomplish on my own, was graciously given to me. What I wanted, but couldn’t find the space or the way to encounter, appeared on my porch without the slightest action or initiation on my part – other than to allow her to stay.

In the debate about baptism in the Christian church (trust me, you didn’t miss a paragraph or a page here, this will relate, shortly) there is a discussion of whether or not one should be baptized as a baby or as an adult. “You should be an adult,” many will say, “for only an adult can make a decision on an important matter such as this.” The emphasis is on the importance of belief, the importance of acknowledging, accepting and embracing that which one believes to be true. That is a good and reasonable rationale.

But there is also the conviction, held just as strongly, that being baptized as an infant, an infant who has no choice in the matter, is just as valid a form of baptism as that of an adult. “Being baptized as an infant,” the reasoning goes, “shows us in a tangible way that God chooses us before we can even know what that means – that God’s love and graciousness are offered to us freely, long before we know how to respond.”

Not all that unlike a dog – the perfect dog for us really – who shows up one day on the porch without any decision, action, or belief on our part, and proceeds to begin a transformation of life as it had previously been known.

A gift, freely and graciously given – a gift that we are invited to receive. And feed.

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tigger and the frisbee

just a bit of fun from the beach today…she’s not quite catching it yet, but she’s close!

tigger the dog

This is long overdue. Exactly how much, I’m not sure, as I don’t remember what day it was when the puppy dog now known as Tigger came bounding up on the porch, ate my salsa, and came into my life. Her name really should have been Salsa.

It was an evening in October, not long after my ordination. I was sitting on the porch in Mexico, watching the sunset, drinking a beer and eating chips and salsa. Out of my peripheral vision came bounding this small ball of fur, and before I knew what had happened, the ball of fur had eaten the first thing in her range, which was the bowl of salsa. She then proceeded to wag her entire rear end, and look up at me expectantly.

There are always, or often, stray dogs in Mexico. Why this one happened to ‘stick’ I’m not sure, but it was some sort of combination of timing and circumstances that lead me, who had been saying for months, “I’m not really sure I live a life conducive to a dog, though I’d love to have a dog,” to being someone who has now checked dog training books out from the library.

The timing of it is fuzzy now, but the basic jist is that the first night I put a cardboard box with a towel in it outside for the stray puppy to sleep in. By the second night I had borrowed a crate and she was now inside the house, in the dining room. I believe it was the third night in which the crate was moved into the bedroom, and not long after that, the crate was given back and the dog remained.

Tigger was not ever a name I had planned to give a dog–I actually hadn’t planned to have a dog, so I didn’t have a name at the ready. But Tigger was the name suggested by Randy Hobson in response to the question “What do I call my dog who has lots of energy and likes to jump?” Tigger stuck. Granted, it is a cat’s name for a dog, a boy’s name for a girl, and an English name for a Mexican dog. But other than that, she’s actually very well adjusted.

I do happen to have a few photos of her, of course, so if you want to see more of Tigger, you can see some of the photos here!