The topic this month is building life long friendships. I find it interesting that neither men nor dogs plan on building life long friendships. They often have time for surface relationships but friendships are more time demanding. These surface relationships usually occur through a common interest rather than intentions. Why? Because both men and canines pursue what they enjoy, and it is in this pursuit that they meet someone else that is doing the same thing. Their thought process probably goes something like this. “I think I can do better than him. Hey, do you want to compete against me? Would you mind showing me how to do this better?” It continues from there and without it being their intention they enter into a surface relationship. Then, if enough time is allowed, a friendship is formed.

Men understand one another but are not interested in talking about it. They want to change, or fix, a relationship that isn’t going well. Or, simply get another one that works. “Hey! What do you think? That’s good. Let’s do it! Done. Wow! We solved it! Aren’t we fast. What’s next?” It doesn’t take much time and yet time is what transforms acquaintances into lifelong friendships.

The question is how much difference does a friendship really make? Perhaps we should all look a litter closer at this question. I found that I am more aware of who my dogs spend time with that I am of my own children; or even myself! I never allow one of my chosen puppies to play with a disobedient dog. I always pair them with a champion and I always make them watch the champion dog go first. It’s amazing to see how quick they learn and how far they are willing to run; even as a puppy. After all, his best friend (dogs) all run that far. Had his friends chased care, dug holes, or killed cats I believe my puppy would be doing the same. If you really want your puppy to become a champion, be careful of who you let him play with and make sure his life long friends are true champions. These friends have the most influence on his life as well as our own.

Mt dogs do well in competition. Extremely well. However, we don’t spend much time training because we are preparing for indoor seminars. Our opponents spend all day everyday drilling for these events, while I may only have five days a month to train. So how do we stand a chance? It is because we have gone beyond the typical surface relationship and formed a life long friendship. We understand each other because we are always together. Not just in training fields but in churches, air ports, and seminar arenas. In the most recent contest we participated in my youngest dog, Preacher, stomped on the competition. He received straight 10s in every category. This was a test that very few dogs even passed, let alone receive high scores, and he was the youngest dog in the event! A stranger asked me how such a young dog was able to perform so well. I told him he was asking the wrong question. The question should be why did he win. Not how did he win. You see, he won today because he did not come to win. He came as a friend to bring me honor through trusting and obeying my words out of love, not fear. We have spent enough time together to become friends. True friends. We both trust and understand each other.

So here is a question for you. When you got up this morning did you get up to win or did you get up to bring honor to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings? Do you have a surface relationship with him or would he call you a friend?

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