My beloved daughter (#5) and her beloved husband have a beloved Chihuahua dog, Paul, who looks like an overgrown fuzzy white hamster. They went on vacation in Thailand, leaving us to care for the dog. I bet I'll get a T-shirt saying: "My kid went to Thailand and all I got was to walk her dog.

Daughter #6 volunteered to take care of Paul. After a few days of loving care he's now attached to her. Dog knows  what side his bone is covered with sauce.

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Yesterday as my daughter went to a girlfriend's house, I asked: "What about Paul?" Smiling sweetly she says: "Back in an hour, don't worry!" Whenever she says that – I really worry a lot!


After a while, Paul's dancing around the door and I figure he's like a little kid who's dancing, which means he's gotta go. I open the door, expecting him to do his business and come back. But he runs away and though I run after him – I lose him. I ask everyone I meet: "You see a little, fuzzy, white furry thing with brown ears scoot by?" But they haven't. I return home forlornly hoping he'd returned – but he hadn't. My daughter loves this dog. How can I face her? The worst part is: it's solely my fault, no one else to blame. I opened the door and let him get away. I'm thinking: I have two weeks, until my daughter comes back, to flee to some obscure place. You make one mistake and that's it, you're exiled to wander the rest of your life, a fugitive from the heart you broke.

My wife says: "Don't worry; he's probably gone to the girlfriend's house".

Doubting that I decide to check my Thailand-bound daughter's house, maybe he went there. I get to the trailer-park neighborhood of young couples where she lives, and seeing neighbors I blurt out: "Paul's run off!!"

They exclaim how attached my daughter is to Paul. They hadn't seen him, but offer to help go look for him. One guy runs to his car and takes me to go looking. "Don't worry!" they say, "he'll come back home."

First we go back to check our house, but he hasn't returned. Seeing a guy walking his dog we ask: "Have you seen a white Chihuahua?"

"No. How long's he been with you?"

I reply: "One week".

"Then don't worry, he'll come back home."

Nice to know everyone's so sure he'll come back home. Me? I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to flee home before my daughter (#5) returns.

We go to the girlfriend's house and I knock on the door.

"Yes!"

I enter a large room: booming music and a bunch of just-graduated high school seniors. Looking at me (I was looking bad) they guess immediately: "Looking for Paul? He came here an hour ago. He was scratching at the door, looking for your daughter. He's here with her now. Want us to get them?"

Sighing in relief (I really don't like leaving the Holy Land even for a short time) I lift the leash in my hands and say, as a beleaguered commander would say to the rescue commander: "Just give her this!" Mission accomplished – the dog is exactly where my wife said he'd be.

Morals of the story: 1] Never open a door unless you know you can handle the consequences. 2] My wife is always right.
Then I thought: what deeper message can I take from this? I realize the deep connection between the dog and the home. Everyone was absolutely confident that either the dog would come home or would seek out the daughter taking care of him to whom he'd become attached. And they were right! The loyal dog knows the way home and is deeply attached to the source of its life.

You know – the letters for "dog" in Hebrew read also "like a heart".

That's when it struck me: we, the nation of Israel, have always been absolutely confident we'll return to our Holy homeland, and our Holy homeland has always been absolutely confident that we – her children – would return to her. That's the heart of the matter.
 
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