This past summer, my family and I went camping…a lot. And we often took our dogs with us.
On one particular day, we decided to go swimming in the river. The dogs, naturally, came along with us. The only problem is that Cubby, my small, white maltipoo, absolutely hates water. Whether it’s a bath, the rain, or a large body of water, he avoids getting wet at all costs.
I purchased Cubby as a puppy, and I remember the first time I had to give him a bath. He had fleas, so I filled the sink up with water and placed him in it up to his neck. His eyes slightly bulged from his head, and he didn’t stop whining the whole time I scrubbed him down with Dawn dish soap. Since then, there have been multiple times that I have had to pull him out from under the couch at home when he even suspected a bath in his near future.
“Don’t worry, Cubby,” I said, remembering how pitiful he had looked in that sink. “You don’t have to come into the water.” I said it soothingly as we left him and our beagle on the shoreline. My husband, stepdaughter, and I jumped into the river and waded from rock to rock. Cubby watched us, but sitting there, he looked as though he wanted to be with us.
So I decided to do a little test.
“Cubby,” I called out. “Cubby, come here!”
The poor little guy stood up, stared right at me, and began pacing along the shoreline left and right. I could tell that he wanted to be obedient. He wanted to be with me. But he didn’t want to enter that water. It appeared that he was searching for ANY other way that he could get to me but to no avail.
I called him again.
“Cubby. Come here, Cubby! You can do it!”
My husband and I chuckled as he lightly tapped the surface of the water with his paw as if he were testing the water’s temperature. Finally, after touching the water multiple times and whining incessantly, he focused his eyes on me, jumped into the water, and swam to me as fast as he could.
I was stunned as I pulled him from the water, shivering and soaking wet. I pressed his tiny body against me for warmth. I hadn’t really expected him to enter the river. I knew how much he hated water. But then it hit me…he loved me more.
I could imagine him saying on the shoreline, “Oh, Mom. I really don’t want to get wet. You know how much I hate water. Please don’t ask me to do this. Isn’t there another way? Why don’t you just come get me?” And then, “Do you promise to catch me when I swim to you? I really want to be obedient. I really want to be with you. But I’m afraid. Still…I trust you. I love you. Here I come.”
My husband wanted to try the test again.
“That was a fluke,” he said. “I bet he wouldn’t do it again.”
I agreed, handing Cubby to him as I waded further out in the water.
“Cubby,” I called him. My husband placed him on a rock where he did his routine again. Whining. Tapping the water with his paw. But he looked at my husband, too, as if he were saying,
“Please take me to her so that I don’t have to go into that water again.”
When my husband didn’t budge, Cubby looked back at me, jumped into the water, and swam to me as fast as his little legs could take him.
I picked him up as soon as he got to me, patted his head, and spoke soothingly to him.
“Don’t worry. I won’t make you do it again.”
His actions touched me. My eyes grew moist with tears. I couldn’t believe that he loved me so much that he would do something he hated just to be obedient and just to be with me.
I carried him back to the shoreline where I rubbed him down with a towel and thought about that pure, innocent love.
Then I realized…
Do I love Heavenly Father the way that Cubby loves me?
I then thought about the times when I received promptings to call someone, visit someone, or simply smile or say “hello” to someone passing by. There were so many times that I dismissed the prompting or told myself that person was busy or said that I was too afraid. Sometimes I pretended like I didn’t even receive a prompting, brushing it away and justifying my action.
Then I thought about the times when God’s will was different than mine. He asked me to do something, and I wanted to do something different. It was like I looked the other way and only focused on what I wanted instead of looking towards Him and trusting Him.
But then I thought about Jesus Christ. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane when he hadn’t wanted to partake of the bitter cup, he took a deep breath, looked up in prayer to Heavenly Father, and whispered, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Even when His very own death stared Him in the face—He accepted the Father’s will…not only because of His love for the Father, but because of His love for us. He trusted the Father. He knew that everything would turn out all right. He knew that His ways were greater and for everyone’s good. And he accepted that and “jumped into the water.”
I had never realized that I could learn such a powerful lesson from my tiny dog and his aversion to water. But I decided right there and then to show my love for Heavenly Father the way that Cubby had for me…with all of my little heart.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Moroni 7:48).