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What drives Miss Daisy?

Mark Westmoreland's picture

We adopted Daisy, a “dachshund mix” back in December. She’s a fine dog — of sweet temperament, faithful, a good companion. In fact, if there were an AKC standard for “dachshund mix,” I truly believe she would be collecting trophies and endorsement deals right now. But, alas, the elitists have yet to establish such a standard.

Which is just fine with Daisy, because she would much rather spend her days hunting. A visit to our backyard normally involves a dash after any squirrel caught daydreaming, a sniffing check of the perimeter, and maybe some digging (“A chipmunk’s no squirrel,” Daisy says, “but it’ll do in a pinch.”).

I worry about her. She seems, well, obsessed (One night a deer was standing near our backyard fence. Daisy went berserk, and the deer ran a few yards before realizing, clearly embarrassed, that this was a “dachshund mix” chasing her and there was a fence between them).

“Why do you keep hunting?” I asked her the other day.

“I guess it’s the dachshund in me,” she said. “Why do you keep preaching?”

“Don’t mess with me.” I said, “The two things are very different.”

“Are they? We both seem to be hunting something we’ve yet to quite catch. I’ve seen you on Monday mornings.”

I hate it when she gets philosophical. “Hunting squirrels and doing ministry are two very different exercises,“ I replied. “Besides, what would you do if you ever actually CAUGHT a squirrel?

“I guess dinner would be on me,” she said. “I’ll figure that out when the time comes. Meanwhile, I chase. I have to, catch or no catch.

“And you?” she continued. “The squirrels seem to be doing just fine on your watch. You’ve been ‘doing ministry’ for nigh on 30 years, but evil is still out there, and the innocent still suffer, and the powerful still abuse the powerless, and people still get all sideways with each other and use each other and resent each other and hurt each other. Why do you keep doing what you do?”

“Well,” I said. “I believe ... Uh. I know ... in God’s time ... uh ... give me a minute.”

“Relax. I’ll answer for you,” Daisy said. “We keep chasing the squirrels, because if we don’t, they’ll think they’re in charge. And they’re not.”

And then she rolled over so I could scratch her stomach.

[The Rev. Mark Westmoreland ( is senior pastor of Fayetteville First United Methodist Church.]

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