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Devotional Thoughts

 Devotional Thoughts
 The Spiritual Side of Our Website

This part of the site features monthly devotional thoughts by the Association's Chaplain, with the goal of encouraging Signal Corps OCS Graduates to be exceptional in their lives and to live life at a higher level. Our current Chaplain is of the Christian faith, so naturally, his devotionals are fashioned around his Christian beliefs. Your comments and suggestions are welcome and can be offered directly to the Chaplain by eMail at:

by LTC (R) Max Holt, Class 02-67

February 2015

Teaching An Old Human New Tricks

Sometimes A Dog Is The Best Teacher!

LTC (R) Max Holt - TodayLTC (R) Max Holt

At 9:00am Monday morning, January 12, 2015 (the day after my birthday) Barney died. Barney was our 12 ½ year old Bichon puppy; an energetic ball of white fur, at least until June 2014. That’s when we discovered he had lung cancer and needed immediate surgery. He was like our child (many of you know what I’m talking about) and many Bichons live to be 18 or more, so the decision was easy. His left lung was removed in Mid-June and he recovered to his old playful self, until early December, when the cancer was back and it became difficult to get him to eat. We did weekly Vet visits to have the fluid drawn out of his abdomen, which gave him temporary relief.  But, on that Monday morning as I prepared to leave for his Vet visit, he died in my arms. Sandy and I both cried and his older Bichon brother, Andy, whined as if he could tell that Barney was gone. Andy still looks around the house for his ‘buddy’ and he has become a lot more ‘clingy’ lately. Our good hooked-on-dogs friend, Anne Marie (Sam Herb’s wife…Class 02-67) is a long time dog rescuer and lover who has been through this many times so we followed her recommendation; we had Barney cremated and now have a small Oak Urn of his ashes on the mantle. We also sprinkled a few ashes in the flower bed out back and installed a small plaque. Both provided some needed closure.

Ok, ok, I get it, that those of you who are not indoor-pet-people think we went a little overboard. That’s okay. Years ago I thought that way too. But that little ball of fur did some wonderful things for us; things that need to be appreciated and passed along. Over the years that he was under foot he taught us a few things about dogs and even about life. Here are a few things this ‘old human’ learned from this little puppy: 

BE HAPPY – LIFE WON’T LAST FOREVER… Barney was a ball of happy energy. He was always playing with toys and usually brought them to me so I would play ‘fetch’ with him. He ran everywhere he went. Andy would walk to go outside in the mornings but Barney would run ahead and bark to get out first. He showed us that we need to live life to the fullest. Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

MAKE OTHERS HAPPY – THEY NEED IT… Barney was a joy to be around. When Sandy had Thyroid cancer and dealt with the treatments and the depression and uncertainty associated with it Barney seemed more attentive to her than usual. He would snuggle with her more and give her a puppy kiss to wake her in the mornings. He turned out to be better than depression meds. He helped show us the reality of Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” 

BE FORGIVING – PEOPLE ARE JUST HUMAN… No matter how long we left them alone, whether a few minutes or for a week in the Kennel, Barney was the first nose through the door when we got back. It was interesting that sometimes Andy would sulk, as if to punish us; but not Barney…he would be like a new puppy, jumping all over us and running in circles around the room. Matthew 6:12 says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT YOU HAVE – YOU DON’T NEED MORE STUFF…  Barney liked his old toys. Sandy liked to buy new stuff for Barney from time to time but he usually went back to his old torn worn-out toys…he was satisfied with what he had.  Mainly, he just wanted attention from us, and we were glad to give it to him. Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

STAY CLOSE TO THOSE WHO LOVE YOU – DON’T DIE ALONE…  Barney loved to snuggle up to us for a nap or at bedtime. He didn’t like to be alone. That Monday morning he was weak and lethargic as he snuggled up close to Sandy. He could barely stand when I reached to pick him up to go to the Vet. I held him close and he licked my hand. As I moved to lay him down on the blanket to take him out into the cold his body went limp and he died in my arms. We were both glad that we were with him when he died; that he didn’t die during the night. If dogs know anything, then Barney knew he was loved. And, we could tell that with whatever capacity dogs have, he loved us.

Based on this experience, I have decided I want to be like Barney… I want to live life well and die in the company of those with whom I share mutual love. So, if you are looking for an example to follow at this point in your life… Barney wouldn’t be a bad choice. 

Blessings to all of you. 
Max Holt, Class 02-67, Association Chaplain 


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