Earlier in this year, we received a call from a neighbor. It seems there was a Yorkie Terrier dog down in Mesa -- some 90 miles away. The elderly owners of Muffin had passed away, and the family members taking care of affairs didn’t want to keep the dog. So it was at a groomer’s shop because this groomer had had success over several years placing ‘rescue’ dogs in new homes. That’s the background on how a rescue call went out and eventually worked its way to Dee & me.
My wife’s first reaction was, "Oh this isn’t the right time." And my reply was, "There’s never a right time. We can go look and if it doesn’t work -- we won’t do it." Well heavens, you know you’re not going to drive 90 miles and look at a lonely, sweet-faced, and confused little 8 pound dog and not have your heart go out to want to help it.
Sure enough - Muffin came home with us. At first, she seemed to like spreading out in the middle of my outstretched legs when I sat in my easy chair. Then she took to wrapping up in a small ball on a pad near Dee’s chair at her computer. It didn’t take long: we began to bond -- and even our dear sweet Holly, a miniature Schnauzer who has been with us for 11 years - she reluctantly began to adjust.
However, there is likely some sort of an emotional wound in Muffin. It’s probably the fear of being left alone. And the way she manifests this is that she will follow me around -- walking within inches of my heels.
If I stop quickly - she will almost bump into my leg. And if, not thinking, I step back up without looking - Muffin is often there. We’ve had some episodes of squeaks of pain or yelps of surprise. Yes, it can drive you crazy if you let it.
What I think is that Muffin is continually looking up at me as I walk. In dog language, she’s asking, "You’re not going to leave me are you?" But when you look into her eyes, what she’s really asking is, "Do you love me?" Holly dog is fully aware of our love for her -- so she doesn’t ask about our love. She just knows the ways and times that we express love to her. But Muffin is wounded.
I’ve seen the ‘Muffin Wound’ in children from time to time. Worried and unable to be separated from parent or guardian, they cling and have to be right where you are. Sometimes they can’t entertain themselves. I’m not a doctor nor a trained counselor so I can’t offer any sage words about this type of situation. But as a deacon, I’ve found that it happens in adults too.
One time, we had a visiting missionary priest. He was telling us about the most common questions from those who are mentally challenged are:
AM I GOOD?
DO YOU LOVE ME?
WILL YOU BE HERE TOMORROW?
And then – the priest turned to the crucifix – and he repeated those words.
If you are carrying a Jesus wound... or a Church wound... or any wound that leads you to ask if you are loved... I’m so sorry. Keep looking at the cross -- because in your healing, you will come to find the answer to whether you’re loved. His name is Jesus -- and He loves you very much.
Happy Thanksgiving. A Blessed Advent. Pray for me... because I’d like help with a few of my wounds. I’ll be in prayer for you.
Copyright 2009 Deacon Tom Fox
About the Author
Deacon Tom Fox and his wife Dee are co-hosts of the CATHOLIC VITAMINS Podcast for over 6 1/2 years. Tom has also been a member of the Catholic Mom columnists team for eight years, and was a regular contributor to the Catholic Moments Podcast for three years. Most recently, Deacon Tom has been leading a project to bring Catholic radio to the north central Arizona community where he and Dee reside. Blessings!