Queenie was a hunting dog that belonged to my husband’s family way back in our dating days. She was acquired by Steve’s Dad to carry out a job…hunt quail…therefore, she was not meant to be a pet. Being cuddled might take away some of her natural instinct to perform her duties, so she was supposed to just stay in her pen in their backyard waiting to be fed and waiting for those hunting days. Coming from a house where our dog slept in our bed and ate our table food, this seemed way harsh treatment. Somehow Queenie wiggled her way around that requirement and became a beloved member of the family.
I remember thinking that she wasn’t a very pretty dog, in fact she was rather homely, if dog’s can be termed as such. She was a bit scrawny and mottled with spots in unusual patterns. However, Steve would tell her everyday how beautiful she was and she came to believe it. She would wag her tail, which wagged her whole body, and actually smile, a feat accomplished by few dogs I’ve been around. It was a full-toothed grin. In fact it was rather menacing if you didn’t know what she was doing. I was rooted in my tracks, a time or two, when she turned it on me.
I remember a story that Steve’s mom once told about the kids playing cards on the front porch using a sleeping Queenie as their card table. His Mom made them move farther down the porch to leave her in peace. Before they knew it, Queenie had sidled back down and positioned herself as their table once again. She loved her family and wanted to be close to them.
Once again, I have come to realize that Tree Stars can be found in the most unlikely of places if we are looking. Queenie is a most definitely a Tree Star. She is the embodiment of what love and kind words of encouragement will do….for a dog and a human. Steve hasn’t changed his tactics in all of these years, thank goodness, which is a testament to his good heart! I accuse him of treating me like Queenie from time to time when he is especially complimentary. Even though I feel that what he is saying is not true (and secretly hope he really believes it), hearing him say it still makes me smile and sidle up a little closer, just like Queenie. Words of affirmation are a true love language. Even if they don’t occupy top billing on one’s list, it will still make a difference. They are a foundation from which all things can build. Hearing that we are valued by another gets imprinted on our subconscious in untold dimensions. We underestimate the power of our words for good… or evil. Believe me, I have seen quite clearly, more times than I can count, what the reverse will do. Queenie reminds me that I must do better to use those good ones more often.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. ~Proverbs 18:21