We’d been talking about it throughout our time in the US. Distance helped us think about it slightly more objectively. It would be an investment to be sure, and we were slightly worried it wouldn’t work. But other people had had so much success with it, didn’t it have to work? We were both even getting ads for it.
So after a few weeks of being back in Nairobi, we did it.
We hired a dog trainer.
She had certainly grown calmer in our absence, likely due to aging 3 months and into some key milestones (like becoming a year old). But Everest was still rude to people we passed on the road and inconsolable when we passed dogs, chickens, CATS, or even horses! (remind me to tell you of the time she almost got me kicked by a horse) Taking her on a walk was no longer relaxing; it was a stressful chore. We could tell she was smart, but we had no idea how to tap into that or communicate with her better.
Enter Moses. We’ve only met with him 4 times, and we’ve witnessed dramatic changes in Everest. We praise Jesus and are thankful for our modern Moses leading us in this journey.
What I’ve noticed about all good dog trainers is they’re more focused on training the owners than the dog. He shared with us pack mentality, and that currently Everest thinks she’s in charge so she’s always stressed. When we’re out on a walk, she’s aware of everything but it’s obvious it’s an overwhelming experience for her. She barks at anyone who comes within a 15 foot radius of David and me, trying to protect us even though we never asked her to. She chases, pulls forward, drags her feet, barks, growls, and otherwise acts in ways we don’t want because she’s trying to take care of her people. But that’s the thing. We’re good. David and I have no need of a 12lb body guard. We’re fine. Part of our training is to treat her, ourselves, and each other in ways that show that David and I are in charge, we’re fine, and she’s the lowest ranking member in our home. Sounds harsh, but in pack mentality, that’s the best place to be. You have no responsibility, and you just take your orders with peace in your heart. No stress.
There are many parts of this experience that do not transfer to the spiritual realm, but there is one that stands out to me right now. How much more peace would I have if I remembered my place in the family of God? I’m not in charge of the affairs of the world, and I don’t even wield control over my tomorrow. Yet, I act foolishly and harmfully out of fear and stress over a future I cannot pin down. And what would bring peace is not more power but an acknowledgement that I don’t have that much. Peace comes as a natural result of childlike faith in the One who never fails.
So, as David and I try to teach Everest that we’re in charge by walking through doorways first (it’s a thing), I pray that I remember my gentle Shepherd leading me all the way, through doorways and everything else. There is peace in not being in charge. O Lord, please give me that childlike faith and pervasive peace.