Almost a year ago, our now almost 13 month old Carolina Dog puppy Ezra, came to live with us. What a challenging year it’s been as he’s been quite the experience. He has nothing on 2020 though – talk about a pruning and purging of all the things we in so many countries have taken for granted, including our freedoms! At any rate, I feel like this has been a massive pruning in my own life personally as well as the world.
Last year we also had so much rain in August and September that our yard was so lush and green. Then Ezra came in like a Velociraptor pruning the entire lower natural yard, as well as forcing us to do some major pruning in our upper yard, adding fence borders everywhere so he couldn’t destroy this more cultured (if you can call it that now lol) yard too! At least it was cultured and pretty BEFORE Ezra, EEK!
The thing is, we haven’t had a puppy since King came to us at 13 months of age almost eight years ago! He was SO much easier too. But we were also EIGHT years younger! My husband and I are now both in our sixties and realizing that puppies are kind of like children. It’s far easier to raise them when you’re either younger or someone who raises them so regularly that they’ve got it down to a system of sorts – even though each dog is individual. At any rate, not only has Ezra pruned our yards to the extreme, but God has definitely being doing some major pruning in me.
From how plants respond to pruning, I can assure everyone it is a painful process but oh so necessary. Seeing the visual pruning in my yard has felt very much to me like the pruning God has been doing in me. Removing everything I thought was so awesome, removing it to almost barrenness. I say almost because there is some left, but it looks kind of raggedy to me just like my yard.
The top left photo above is what the yard looked like when Ezra got here. This is what it looks like now – and it has grown back some lol. It’s a good thing that nature knows how to come back from devastation! Seems we could learn a lot from that observation.
When I looked back recently at how different the yard not only looks now, but after each dog that has lived here, I can see that both Ezra and Meshach did the most remodeling and pruning because both came here as young puppies as in 9 1/2 week’s old – same age each of them. They each completely did major renovation. Okay destruction. And each time the yard grew back, slowly over time and looked very different after each regrowth. In fact, each time it has grown back stronger, with more large bushes, etc. This time though, I REALLY struggled with it all. I have struggled the most with Ezra over any dog that has ever lived with us. Why though? I’ve been in LOTS of prayer over that. Here are my conclusions:
- I was comfortable and proud with what was
- I was seven years older than when King came here
- I was very wounded at the loss of Meshach and didn’t really want to make room for another puppy – to experience the raising, training, etc. all over again. I put so much into Meshach that I have totally resisted with Ezra – the very thing we fear does come upon us. Failure in this case
- Ezra challenges me with his over abundance of energy, his intelligence, his wildness, and yes his own fears too.
And because all of this shows me how much was needed and still needs to be pruned in me. So much self-focus. (Even as I’ve been sharing my book, Animals Taught Me That, on my podcast this summer shows me that).
Ezra is showing me all my own shortcomings just by being himself. Yes, we decided to get him – well sort of. My husband said, “Yes, let’s do this.” And I was like, “Okay if you say so.” I KNEW that he would not be a replacement of Meshach or Schatzie. I wanted Schatzie back but healthy. I wanted the ease to continue. Good thing God doesn’t leave us in our comfort zone or what would be the point of this earthly journey? Of why we’re still here after we get saved?
After closing our online school in animal naturopathy (gee we didn’t plan that well considering how 2020 has BOOMED in online schooling) I felt like we had failed. I felt like I had failed at the loss of each dog but especially Meshach. Why? Well because I’m an animal naturopath and wrongly assumed I should be able to save them all. The truth is, I am always learning. I have not arrived. Each dog, each client, each student is the one teaching me. It is humbling and very needed pruning. After all, GOD does the healing not me which I know, but wasn’t owning.
I felt like I had no where to go but down rather than up. I let my negative feelings dictate to me – and guess what? When we do that, we become exactly that. Ezra has reaped the repercussions of all of this. Somehow he is still an exuberant, willful, challenging puppy. He’s got one of the strongest wills I’ve ever encountered. Even in his sensitivity, reactivity, and fear, he stands strong and tall. He’s been affected yes, I won’t deny that. There are days he and I would probably be happy away from one another. But here we are stuck with each other lol. I do love him, a lot. I don’t always profess that to others. I often complain about how weird and challenging he is – he has phobias due to the epigenetic damage passed down (research this out). Can you imagine what it’s like for him to live with ME? And yet, he is so dang loyal to me.
I thought he was naturally reared Dr. Kim? Yes, he was and is. But distorted DNA is passed on repeatedly until it clears. Generations on both dam and sire’s sides need to be cleared. Damage from what? Vaccines. Kibble. Pesticides. All of it. He has severe noise phobias. He overreacts to so many sounds – normal household sounds among other things. Let’s not even go into thunderstorms – OY! It is not his fault, and he is surely in our lives for a purpose. And we’re in his for a purpose too.
As my yard was being pruned once again by a growing puppy, I too was (and am) being severely pruned. I sure have a lot more empathy for plants now I can tell you. God has been shaking out the bugs (distractions) and cutting off the dead, unproductive branches. He’s been pulling the weeds, while trimming back what I thought was the good stuff (which I’ve kept holding onto but He keeps cutting it all away) – all so good, abundant fruit can come forth. That can only happen when my eyes are taken OFF of myself once and for all, put solely upon seeking God, His Kingdom, and His righteousness. Matthew 6:31-33. Of course I’m reading in two books right now – one focused on the Hebrew and one on the Greek, about our last days self-absorption! Definitely God wants me pruned and fit for these last days for HIM, for HIS purposes. Not because He’s mean, but because He’s so good and well honestly our self-focus/self-absorption/self-obsession is why this planet is such a hot mess right now!
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” ~John 15:2, NKJV
I think for me the issue has been I have not let go of anything but have held tight as though any of it were mine. NOTHING is ours. We are stewards. Not even our breath is ours. It is HIS. In the Hebrew they don’t even have a word for “have” as in “I have this or that“. However, because they don’t HAVE anything, they are open to RECEIVE ALL that God has! It has taken a small little Black and Tan Carolina Dog puppy to help me learn even a bit of this. All the while I’ve kicked against the goads.
I’ve been angry, thrown tantrums, slammed doors, and cried a boatload of selfish tears. I want, I want, I want, whine, moan, groan, sob. Surrender and yielding to Him is far better and also simpler not to mention far less drama. I haven’t asked God why, because honestly I know that’s not the question to ask. Been there, done that…but I’ve still had the selfish reactions. Certainly at my age I need to just relax, surrender to God and watch all that He wants to do in and through me. That includes with Ezra. A very handsome, very intelligent, very sensitive, epigenetically damaged, very funny, very agile and a whole lot more “verys” 13 month old puppy who I’ve partly expected to be a grown, elderly dog since he arrived!
So here we are. Together. The reluctant team that is growing to produce fruit together. Pruning and being pruned. Together. Learning to love in full surrender, together. Somehow he loves me and I love him – in spite of ourselves. And I am learning oh so much. So next time you’re pruning your yard, think of all that plant is going through so you’ll be ready when it’s YOUR turn to be pruned. Or your dog’s. Or both.
I suspect that maybe Ezra could be getting some sage advice from Shadrach, what do you think?
Until next time…, the imperfect dog owner desires you to
Have a PAWSitively, tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!