Less Bark!
            While peaceful in the early morning, the Loch Haven Dog Park becomes increasing noisy as the day progresses.  I prefer to go early each day, about 8:00 a.m., which enables me to enjoy walking laps with Annie (my 33-pound Pit Bull mix) while encountering only a couple of other dedicated pet owners with their schnauzers and collie.
            As the day progresses, the population swells and there is little quiet to be found.  The dog park is fenced off into two areas: 35 pounds and below for the smaller pooches and 35 pounds and above for the ones who could be described as “big boned.”
            By noon, both areas are usually populated with at least four dogs and the numbers steadily increase.  Barks of various pitches are heard as you draw near. 
            Fortunately, not all of the fenced captives are intent on exercising their vocal cords.  I love to watch Annie as she enters the fence and surveys the other dogs.  Today, she’s honed in on Marci, a mini pin/shepherd mix, sporting a blue and white-checkered coat with yellow sleeves covering the top of her front legs.  The two dogs lock eyes, trot towards each other, stand on their hind legs in a canine greeting of acceptance, and the chase is on.
            I turn my attention to a corner of the park where a young man is training a beautiful 10-month-old Belgian Malinois named Clover.  I watch as he attempts to teach Clover to go through the cement tunnel upon his command.  Clover is not eager to enter the tunnel and he ends up pushing her in and she comes darting out the far end clearly relieved.  He gives her the “sit” command and Clover intently watches her master awaiting further instruction.
            Upon retuning from the dog park, I like to spend time with God. Having obsessive-compulsive disorder, I like to use the pattern of the Tabernacle Prayer which encompasses thanksgiving and praise; receiving the benefits of what Jesus did for me; repenting of any known sin and offering my body to God; inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit into my life; nourishing my soul with God’s word; worshipping the many names of God; and interceding for others.
            Many times I am guilty of being so disciplined in completing everything in the outline, that I neglect the privilege of meditating in God’s presence.  I have to make a continuous conscious effort to completely clear my mind to avail myself of anything God desires to communicate to me. 
            Sometimes I wonder if my prayers sound like endless barking to God when He simply wants me to be quiet and listen.
Jeremiah 33:3   (NIV)
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Copyright January 21, 2016
Australian shepherd mixed dog, black and white dog, Loch Haven Dog Park, Hoover, Alabama, Jeremiah 33:3, dogdevotionals.com