A puppy’s job is to test me.

The unwritten law of the pack states that the strongest and smartest dog is the pack leader. Nessie is growing stronger and smarter every day. Her job is to see if today is her day to take over.

My job is to convince her it’s not.

Usually the ability to open the food container is enough but I’ve seen her working on it. She’s watched me do it with interest. She sneaks around behind the kitchen counter and puts both front paws on the handle. It’s how she learned to open our bedroom door.

She’s smart.

The question is, how smart am I? Today? Right now, while I’m distracted? How about now, when I’m tired? What about when I’m staring into my laptop trying to write a morning post?

You can see that it’s not always that easy to win. I have other things on my mind. Nessie doesn’t. I have other priorities. Nessie knows what’s most important – the pack.

And so, she tests me. It’s not personal. It’s just (pack) business.

So goes life.

There are constant little tests to see if I’m on my game. To check my priorities. To get my attention.

Am I paying attention to life? Am I making the most of my time? Do I remember why I’m here? Did I forget that life is short?

It’s not personal. But it is important.

There may not be a crisis today that will test me to the core but the little tests are training. They remind me to keep my guard up. To protect my ribs. To be ready for the quick jab. To be quick on my feet and not let my endurance wane.

They reassure me that there are plenty of people out there who will take over my life and run it for me. I don’t have to ask them. All I have to do is let them.

Right now Nessie is sleeping beside me, the perfect picture of a faithful companion. She looks peaceful but I know the truth.

Puppies never quit.  She’s just resting for the next test.


Photo: Nessie’s Shoe by Dennis Ritchie