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A quiet hush filled the room. The only sound that could now be heard came from the examining room down the hall.

A ghastly disharmony of what began as a meow but mutated into an unrecognizable grouse of a warning sent a chill through even the most gallant of dogs. What was once a bustling chamber of miniscule meows and boisterous barks, quickly diminished to a noiseless compartment of cowardliness. The pets and their humans, paralyzed with either fear or confusion, undoubtedly questioned if they should remain in the building. Surely what was happening in the room down the hall was harrowing, though, not for the cat, but for the staff.

“Do not EVER bring this cat back to our office again!” My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, was told by the veterinarian clinic that his 6 month old feline was to never grace the threshold of their door again. It is unclear as to what exactly transpired in the examining room that day. However, claws, teeth, and deep pits for feline eyes were most likely involved.

Fast forward almost twenty years. Moses, our dog, has had to adjust to his fair share of pet additions. From rats to chickens, he has mastered the art of self control. I attribute this honorable quality to Aaron, the cat in the examining room twenty years ago.

Moses and Aaron. Those names made a great team in the bible. Not so great a team in the Mayfield home,… at least at first. Aaron was always a part of the Mayfield home. And then…”he” came along. The energetic puppyhood was more than Aaron could bear. She had no time for the playful antics of a seemingly unnecessary creature. He stole her food, was too curious of her bathroom behaviors, and placed his wet nose in her personal space more than any creature should.

Due to the initial few years of intimidation, Aaron is the reason our “pet formula” has always been balanced. It would normally be a difficult matter to ensure that a dog could cohabitate with a variety of pets. When you place a hunting dog in the midst of prey, it is reasonable to assume the obvious outcome. Most instances such as these would end, well, not on a positive note for the prey. The Mayfield home has never had to experience this due to the persisting discipline of one cat.

From the time Moses graced her presence, Aaron ensured he knew to whom he must answer. Oftentimes, a simple low “meow” reminded Moses he had crossed a boundary. Sometimes, he needed more. A batting paw to the snout once or twice…or seven or eight times, reminded him he had REALLY crossed a boundary. I would like to take the credit for his dutiful submission to his humans and other animals. However, most of this credit must be given to Aaron.

I wish it was this simple for humans. It is our nature to want to do what we want to do. It is in our blood to desire our own will. Submission? How dare someone mention the very word! If we could take a few lessons from a dog and a cat, we would learn that submission makes our lives…well, work!

Submission, although some women often cringe at the word, makes a marriage work. If that cringe is on your face at the moment, I challenge you to do a thorough biblical study on God’s true intention for this concept. It is a beautiful thing when a man submits to God and loves his wife as Christ loves the church. It is a beautiful thing when a woman submits to a husband who is submitting to God and allows him to be the spiritual leader as he was intended.

Submission makes all relationships work. Whether it is husband to wife, or human to human, to honor one another above oneself is to grasp a Godly concept.  “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”  Romans 12:10.

So, the Mayfield home, with all its bustling furry and feathery members, is able to remain “balanced”, so to speak. Neighbors often drive by rather slowly when they see a hunting dog standing comfortably and dutifully in the midst of foraging chickens. Because of the feline tutoring sessions on submission for many years, Moses has been able to live amongst an ironic array of animals.

If only humans were that smart!


* Some portions of this post were taken from excerpts from my short story, “Lessons From a Pointer” at

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