Livable Liturgies: Anti-Apocalyptic Dog

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you…In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” Job 12.7,10

“Among the Algonquin nation…creation was brought about by Kukumthena, the Grandmother…accompanied by a dog.” In this myth, creation is continued and the end of the world forestalled, by the “work” of this dog. “Each day Kukumthena works at weaving a great basket, and when it is completed, the world will end. Fortunately for us, each night the dog unravels her day’s work.  Those of us who have lost rugs, clothing, or furniture, to a dog’s oral dexterity may never be convinced that that ability could be put to such use as forestalling the end of the world” (The Monks of New Skete, 1978, p. 3).

Mika, keeps the world from ending, an anti-apocalyptic angel. At least she postpones the apocalypse by unraveling her own things.

 The unraveling work of the anti-apocalyptic angel-dog, stuffing chewed out of the dog bed.

The unraveling work of the anti-apocalyptic angel-dog, stuffing chewed out of the dog bed.

What if unraveling the weave of the great basket is more than a metaphor? Having a dog shares characteristics of having children, of attending to a spouse, or caring for friends. It’s just that a dog has less qualms about telling someone to pay attention.  A dog will not put on a false display of patient waiting. Whining, licking, nudging, pawing at me, she tells me to pay attention to her.

Job wants me to do more than attend to animals, but rather "ask the animals, and they will teach" something.  If there's a constant undoing to the end of all things from the myth about Kukumthena and the dog. Why is it that that myth emerged with the dog acting that way? Is there something about a dog's loyalty that has a future orientation? That the future is not all written out and a closed book? That maybe there is an open future and God has more in store than I can ask or imagine? 

The mystic Matthew Fox always referred to his dog as his spiritual director. I get that. I have one too.  I'd like it if my cat was as forthcoming, but he's a bit aloof.