This is a story about the two dogs in our family as I was growing up. They were polar opposites. Puff was a Terrier German Shepherd, which means he was a small German Shepherd. What he lacked in size he definitely had in heart, as he was the sweetest dog ever! He was my best friend.
But Puff wasn’t perfect. No pup is. He came from “the pound” and we didn’t know all of his back story. He did have some issues. On occasion he would leave us a puddle on the kitchen floor. His dipped head not making eye contact, and his hunkering down with tail between his legs, told us he was sorry for his mistakes. And it was easy to forgive him.
One day, we added to our family a little Pekingese dog which we named Kemo. Dad said it was an Indian name, short for Kemosabe, which means, “faithful friend." Unfortunately, he didn’t live up to his name. Kemo was however interesting to look at. He had that signature pushed in face and long brown hair with a curled up tail. Although, unlike most Pekingese pups, Kemo’s tail was off to the side of his body a bit and a little jagged on the curl part. This was due to an accident. You see, when Pekingese sleep they tend to unravel their tails and lay them flat. Kemo would do this when resting under the couch. One day mom was vacuuming under the couch with her Electro-Lux Power Vac and caught the hair from Kemo’s unfurled tail. The whole tail rolled up into the vacuum before mom knew what had happened. This traumatic episode in Kemo’s life may have something to do with his nasty disposition. From that day forward, his tail looked the same as the Japanese anime character, Pikachu’s tail.
Kemo had a mean streak. He was what I call a “yip yappy” kind of dog. Which means he had an annoying big mouth! He would torment my Puff. Bossing him around by following after him just “a yipping and a yapping” and he would constantly be snapping at his heels. Poor old Puff couldn’t make a move without the nagging attacks from Kemo. At times Puff tried to ignore Kemo by lifting his head and looking away. This didn’t work. Kemo would yip louder and snap even more. Puff would cower and hide with tail between his legs slipping away as best he could. In his own way he even tried to win Kemo over by “killing him with kindness.” At meal times, Puff would put Kemo first by standing several feet behind him until Kemo finished eating. And only when Kemo had finished would Puff slowly go to the bowl and take a few bites of what was left. Every now and then, Puff would look over at Kemo with sadness in his eyes as if to say, “I’m trying to be good to you.”
But Kemo would just get more and more aggressive. Kemo wanted to be in control of Puff. Put him in his place. He was mean and nasty! You could see the heaviness in Puff’s eyes as Kemo was unrelenting. Until one day, Puff had enough! It was a beautiful spring afternoon, sunny and warm. My brother, sister and I were outside with the dogs playing in the backyard. Those were the days when kids played outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Kemo came running around the side of the house near the chain-link fence where Puff was standing minding his own business. Puff was enjoying himself by listening to birds sing and watching squirrels run on a tree branch. “Yip, yap!” “Snap, snap!” Kemo at Puff’s heels again. “Yip, yap!” “Snap, snap!” Puff just couldn’t take it anymore. He grabbed Kemo by the scruff of the neck and tossed him up high into the air. Kemo landed on the top of the fence post. He squealed in agony as he hung there from his eye lid. In a frantic effort to free himself he wriggled and jolted and swung his body from side to side. We rushed to remove him from the fence to find that his eyeball was hanging out of its socket. It looked like a golf ball just hanging there. Although it was later put back into its socket, Kemo no longer had sight in that eye. To his dying day his eye bulged out and he had a new nickname, “Pop Eye.”
And that is about the time when I became a cat lover.
But what does all this have to do with FitMamas and exercise and mindful eating? Well, not much really. It's just an encouragement to show love, kindness, and forgiveness. Let's not be like Kemo and let past tribulations and traumas overpower our lives to the point where we can’t give or receive kindness. We are all on this journey together. The Apostle Paul put it best “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32