Dalmatian: (n) a breed of dog with short having a white coat marked with black or brown spots

Sandra Gunderson was a dog-breeder, though she hated the term. She preferred connector, love-birther or canine dating service.

She had a very successful business. She advertised all black dogs or pure white dogs.

There were no other markings on them—no little white bowties on the black ones or dark streaks streak on the nose of the white ones.

When people wanted a black dog or a white dog, Sister Gunderson was the lady to come to, and find your dream pet.

Then one day, strangeness took over, as it often does.

While delivering the latest litter, emerging from the loins of Mama Dog was a completely different creature:

A white dog with black splotches.

Or was it a black-splotched dog with a white background?

Ms. Gunderson was so shocked by the appearance of this mutant that she decided to take it away and nurse it on her own, far from the other puppies, and maybe keep it around the barn—to scare away strangers.

But lo and behold, before she could enact her plan, the McKenzies came with their eight-year-old daughter. She was in the throes of celebrating her birthday and they planned to purchase a puppy and saw the bespeckled creature with the white skin and black splotches.

The little girl immediately fell in love with this surprise visitor.

Word spread quickly, and before too long, folks who had wanted white dogs or black dogs suddenly demanded black and white dogs.

It was very tricky. Ms. Gunderson had to wait until a spotted male came out of the black and white dogs to mate with a female from the first batch. And then—no guarantees.

All sorts of configurations appeared.

In about the twelfth generation, the exact mix were birthed and ready for sale.

She sold so many that she couldn’t keep up with the demand. She had to link with some other nearby breeders and work as a team—to make more and more black on whites.

Dalmatians–that’s the name they came up with.

They were so cute that Walt Disney made a movie about a hundred and one of ’em.

After Sandra went to see the Disney movie, she remembered how it all began. She had been mighty close to doing away with that young pup, which appeared, refusing to be white or black.

She was shocked at its look and equally as stunned when the appearance of the dog ended up being a winner.

Just like Sister Gunderson, I, too, occasionally think of the things that have come into our human lives that were first startling—out of step—and seemed to be misfit for our cause.

And now they are celebrated.

So am I a white dog?

Am I a black dog?

Am I a Dalmatian?

Nah. I’m just a mutt.


Conditional: (adj) subject to one or more conditions or requirements being met

There are certain things you cannot do in America:

You cannot be mean to your puppy on Main Street.

You certainly cannot suggest that the red, white and blue color scheme of the flag clashes.

And you risk life and limb if you even whisper that the phrase “unconditional love” was invented in the office of a pop psychologist and immediately adopted by Hallmark Cards.

Any mortal who wears skin, pumps blood and allows that circulation to reach his or her brain, is fully aware that we need love to have some conditions.

When left to ourselves and told that we’re “fine the way we are”–that the affection offered in our direction is not contingent on some facets of our behavior–we become tyrants.

Especially comical is the notion that our Creator–God–would extend such a gift to His creation, considering that He is fully aware of both our heavenly potential funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
and our notorious naughtiness.

That is why the Good Book is full of “if and then’s.”

“If you do this, then you will get this…”

  • If you have faith, you can move mountains.
  • If you believe, you will be saved.
  • If you are generous, it will be measured back to you.
  • If you judge, it will be metered at you with the same intensity.

Though we want to convey the depth of our emotion and appreciation for one another, it is certainly devious to suggest that our human feelings are not conditional. If they were not conditional, we couldn’t be of help to one another.

After all, sometimes a certain amount of intervention is necessary to get our mate out of bed to go to work. At that point, he or she might insist that we do not love them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We just know that if they go to work, we can go out to dinner on Friday night and actually afford an appetizer.


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Cold-blooded: (adj) without emotion or pity; deliberately cruel or callous

The reason we call someone a sociopath is because our social abilities should be on a path. When they aren’t, it is odd, it is dangerous and it shows that something is horribly wrong.

Although it seems to be popular to imitate ruthless, the conscience placed into us by a Creator keeps us from being able to pull it off without great personal destruction.

I remember coming into the yard of my home and seeing that my dog had killed some guinea pigs my son was using for his science fair.

I could have sworn that my puppy was smiling.

That canine had no idea that he had done anything wrong. Matter of fact, he seemed a little proud of his teeth prowess.

Not until I began to yell and chase him did he realize there might be a problem and that he should get the hell out of the way.

You see, that’s not the way it is with people.

Maybe we watch too many TV shows.

Maybe that one hundredth horror movie was detrimental to our thinking.

But even though human beings are temporarily capable of cold-blooded actions–where it seems like they have no soul whatsoever–they actually are so tormented that they often end up mentally ill, committing suicide.

The danger with being cold-blooded is that too often guilt sets in–and it’s your own blood that’s cold.


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