Time and again our black Lab Adi has brought me the same pair of shoes. One day as I accepted my Croc flip flop from her again, I took a moment to give it a good look over. Yes, it had the wear and tear of frequent use, but it lacked a single tooth mark. I couldn’t help but marvel at our Lab’s gentle mouth.
A mouth so gentle our children entrusted her with their personal treasures. Several years back, they went through a phase where they used Adi as a courier, asking her to carry a book, stuffed animal, or toy from one sister’s room to the other. Ever dependable, Adi delivered each item in the condition in which it was sent.
These days, they employ her as a mail carrier, asking her to carry letters or magazines from the mailbox to the house. Aside from a little Labby slobber, you would never know it has been carried by a mouth filled with canine teeth. Despite Adi’s gentleness, I know her teeth and jaw have power. She has gnawed deer antlers down to nubs and destroyed rope toys. Funny thing. I can’t recall a time (post puppy phase) when she’s misused her mouth.
I find my Lab’s gentle mouth rather inspirational. When I’m overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, or in a rush, I find my mouth, which should be tender, turning sharp. My words come out too firm and have a biting edge. In those moments, Adi serves as a reminder that God, who created a dog with a soft mouth, can also soften my mouth. All it takes is a momentary pause and this heartfelt prayer taken from the Psalms:
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord. Keep watch over the door of my lips.”Psalm 141:3
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