Soon no one will know what a “dog-eared book” is perhaps, with the move to reading electronic devices. I still like a good old book, especially a hard-cover. Such substance! I think most people alive still do know that the habit of folding down a corner of a page to mark where you left off reading is what “dog-eared” means. It refers to the fact that dogs often have folded ears.
Apparently, wild canines do not have a folded ear, except as puppies. An attribute of the domestic canine, who remains “immature” in a sense, and so is able to live well with humans!*
Like my boy Moji seen here as a puppy, with the long, beautiful, folded ears:
Certainly we humans like the silky floppy ears of some dogs. Hounds are also supposed to have a useful aspect to the long ears–namely, the sweeping of the ears on the ground stirs up the scent, enabling hounds to do their tracking. In this way they can find the creature they are “hunting.” It could be a rabbit, it could be an escaped convict, it could be a lost child–the hound’s nose and ears come in handy.
Once I was working at a hotel for a veterinary conference. One of the speakers was giving a presentation on the latest drugs to treat ear problems in floppy-eared dogs such as Labradors, which he called the “frequent flyer points” dogs, because they were repeat customers at the vet clinics due to recurring ear infections.
Moji is a Beagle/Labrador cross. Both breeds are prone to ear problems due to their long flop ears which trap moisture, and a genetic tendency to ear infections. Allergies also contribute to this problem.
Well my puppy had this problem right from the start. He produced dark ear wax and his ears were dank and smelly. I tried numerous approaches to keeping his ears clean and free of infection, and finally ended up putting him on a very restricted diet because the vet advised that he was allergic to something. I discovered through the process of elimination and re-introduction of various foods that he did have allergies to three common food items. These I discontinued, and there was some improvement. At least for a little while.
But it didn’t solve the problem totally. For one thing, he would go visit the farm next door, which they encouraged by giving him treats. Or sometimes the ears would act up for no particular reason. The allergies were part of it, but the ear seemed deformed inside as well, and the infections and inflammation became a fixture in Moji’s life. And my life, because I had to try and deal with it somehow.
Sometimes the ear flap itself would swell, a condition known as ear hematoma, from shaking his head so much that it bruised the ears. He would be scratching his ears, they would bleed and become raw. Anyone who has tried to deal with this in a dog knows there is no easy fix. The drugs used are often steroids and will only give a short spell of relief, needing to be repeated often. This can also bring organ-damaging side effects. So it’s a horrible loop to be in with a dog. There is also the judgement of others on the owner; if there is something wrong they command you to take him to the vet right now! As if you had never done that or thought of it. The treatments can be very expensive as well, I know of people spending a couple hundred dollars per month just on this one issue for ONE dog. Because it never seems to go away.
Anyway, this has been a plague for Moji and for me since I got him. Sometimes it was a little better, sometimes really awful. But always, always an issue.
Recently (October 2016), his ears became very inflamed. He had been visiting the neighbours again, eating all the foods he is allergic to. He had gained weight, his ears were absolutely horrible, he was miserable. The ears were read, swollen and oozing black goo and mucous, and bleeding form his scratching. Please understand, this can come on very suddenly if all the conditions are “right.” Like a perfect storm of horribleness for the suffering puppy.
Anyway, since I started learning more about healing and the afflictions we are under here living in a fallen world (yes, I will post more on this whole subject later on), and what Jesus has done about it, including giving his children access to healing and true freedom, I had been praying for Moji and his ears. I had spoken healing on them, rebuked the disease, the allergies. I also believe–I know actually–that there are such things as evil spirits, and they do afflict the world with the kinds of suffering and pain we see all around us, in our lives and on the news. I believe even animals can be afflicted by evil spirits, through their owners or other people or circumstances. Jesus allowed the demons who went out of one man to go into a herd of pigs. The pigs went wild and killed themselves by jumping off a cliff. (You can read the account in Matthew 8:23-34)
I believe I had dealt with the emotional trauma which I believe was on him from the fact that he was not a “planned puppy” but an accidental child. Once thing I’ve learned in the past few years is that trauma of any kind, including not being wanted as a baby, has an effect in the spiritual realm. The dark spirits, or demons, will use trauma to inflict pain and suffering, if they have the chance. Yes, that’s a big topic, and I promise, I will write more on this later! It is important, and without this understanding, I would not have seen the results I’ve seen.
So Moji was the result of a purebred hunting Beagle being accidentally–from the people’s point of view at least–impregnated by a roving Labrador. The Beagle mom’s people didn’t want the puppies, and gave them to the shelter to find homes for. I had lost my Beagle not long before this, and when I heard there were Beagle puppies looking for homes, I went to see them and chose this little black male! Yes, he was black and looked a lot like a little Lab, but he had many Beagle aspects, including those long gorgeous ears!
Anyway, when I was learning about healing and deliverance, I started to deal with the issues around Moji. He was mine. He was sick. I was sure it was not what the Lord would want. I knew that sickness and disease entered the world not from God but from the devil. And Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8) Yes, my theology is simple, what can I say. But I am following the words I read in the Bible and the example of Jesus.
So I prayed, I rebuked, I believed. And I saw some improvements, but it was still up and down. As things occurred to me, I broke the curses off him, including the curse of “unwantedness” and illegitimacy, if that is an issue with dogs. It might be, as the people did not want this to happen, it was not “sanctioned.” Look, I don’t know if it’s the case or not with animals, but when we deal with the animals of people, anything could be true. It’s not the same as wild animals. Humans have a lot of baggage, and we can put it on the animals who share our lives and space!
Anyway, it was up and down. I never gave up on it, and overall, with careful management as well, he was doing okay some of the time, and not so good other times.
Then in October, things got really bad, as I said. And it’s hard to put it in words just what happened. I can just say I got really mad with the devil for putting this on Moji. When I say “the devil” I mean his kingdom, not the devil personally, I am sure Satan is not particularly concerned with my dog. But there are many levels of his workers, and those at the ground level who are assigned to bring trouble on me, and those are the ones I mean. They are part of his army, so they are, in a way, the devil himself. Just like I am in Christ, and Christ lives in me.
“The works I do are not my own, the words I speak are not my own…” so said the Lord Jesus when he was on earth. He was God in the flesh, and he was representing the Father in all he did. So in like way I understand that in authority structures, a worker represents the one who sent him, down through whatever chain of command they have in place.
So I became angry at the devil! This is what anger is for. It’s not for directing at people. It’s not for taking out on animals or inanimate objects. It is for the works of the devil, which Jesus said he came to destroy! And he lives in us, and wants us to be doing the same work–destroying the works of the devil wherever we find them.
I know my understanding of these things may sound childish. It may not stand up to certain theological paradigms. Well, whatever. I’m just telling you how I understand the Bible and what my experience is. And what is wrong with receiving the Kingdom as a child? Nothing! In fact, the Lord said that is how it must be. (Mark 10:15)
A child doesn’t have advanced degrees in these matters, but has faith and has the truth spoken through the Holy Spirit inside his heart. A child hears the voice of her Lord and knows his voice–not literally usually, but through the Holy Spirit “speaking” to the person’s heart.
There could be many “sermons” in what I am saying here. But I am not a preacher. I am just telling you what happens to me, and what I believe. It is my testimony for the Lord’s good things in my life!
So I became furious that this was still going on. I was mad when i saw the suffering of Moji and I knew, I KNEW it was the work of the devil, and it was time for this to stop! I started to pray and proclaim. I claimed the healing, I rebuked the devil. I rebuked the trauma. I spoke the removal of the root of the problem, once and for all, and that it would never return. If there were spirits attached, I sent them away, in the name of Jesus!
I spoke complete healing on his ears, on his personality, on his body. Allergies I rebuked and cursed and “broke them off” him.
All things I had done before, but what can I say, there was something that had happened inside of me, in my faith, that I KNEW this was it! It was just intolerable that it go on, the time was now, it was DONE! I praised the Lord, I thanked the Father, I rejoiced in the Holy Spirit! I knew it!
And guess what? It was done. In a day the ear swelling was gone. I went about my business and a few days later it occurred to me, Moji was not scratching his ears or shaking his head! I looked at the ears. There was no odour. No ooze. No blood. No black gunky wax. No mucous. No redness. No inflammation.
His ears were clean. They had a normal smell and normal wax, just like my other dog (who has propped ears and never has had an ear problem).
What’s more, his personality has changed. He is happy, he likes me to touch him once again! He is playful. He lost about ten pounds in one week. His fur is shiny, his eyes are bright. No more shaking his head, scratching, gnawing at his feet (allergies). I have my puppy back! I have not seen him like this in many years, and he is now almost ten years old. His youthfulness is back, and his personality and mood is so joyful and peaceful!
He is able to give and receive love. I know to some that sounds totally ridiculous. Well, what can I say. It’s the truth. If you knew him, you’d know what I mean. It’s the difference between a warm and affectionate and trusting person, and a jaded, suspicious and distancing individual. Don’t tell me you don’t know the difference. If you’ve known a handful of people in your life, you will know the difference between the two. I’m talking about a dog, but it was clear what he was like, and what he is like now.
I’m not the only one who sees it as well. Everywhere we go, people are saying “Moj, is that you? Looking good!” The joyful puppy behaviour, prancing around, bright eyes, wanting to play and do things as opposed to the morose, touchy, grouchy dog hiding under the table, withdrawing from touch. And not just because his ears were hurting. That was part of it. But he was like that all the time, no matter if his ears were good at the time or not. Something has changed on a deeper level! And I thank God for it.
This is a long post about a dog. Well, it’s not just about my dog. It’s about the Lord actually. It’s about HIS enormous, powerful Love for us. It’s about what God is: Love. It’s about the mercy of God and the peace and hope He is holding out to those who would respond. I know not all will respond. But those who do respond just know and feel the call in their hearts. That is the Holy Spirit working through your spirit to draw you to freedom and joy in Him! Praise the Lord!
*Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs, goes into the nature of the wild and domestic canine, and writes at length about the puppy-like nature of “man’s best friend”–including the habits of play, the tendency to bark, as well as anatomical features such as flopped ears.