A Lesson From a Service Dog

No matter what you do or how committed you are to serving others, everyone needs a break. This service dog was napping while his owner was waiting to board her flight. As I walked by he did not move. Then the little girl – obviously the one he was serving – wiggled in her chair and he moved. When she sat still and he went back to sleep. Resting yet aware of when it was time to get back to work. 

I’m sure being a service dog is a tough job. Helping someone else all the time, putting your own natural instincts aside. Being aware of what they are doing, when they need guidance, and when it is time to go into protection mode. Walking, working, walking, working then working some more. Mirroring your owner so their life is better. Living to serve and protect as well as constantly being aware of their surroundings. As all that crossed my mind I was glad that this dog had time for a nap before going back to work. 

For anyone who serves others – at work, at home, at church, or in a community capacity – you will always need a break. Everyone needs time to decompress and turn off. If we only work and never rest, when do we have time to fuel ourselves to be effective in serving others? An empty vessel doesn’t do anyone any good. It only remains empty and gathers dust. When we drive ourselves too hard for too long we become like a dull knife unable to do what it was designed to do. Unfortunately others can see that in us before we are able to see it in ourselves. 

Too often we think we are so important that our world will crumble without us. It’s that thought in our mind that prevents us from stopping. Or we tell ourselves that we will be so behind when we get back to work that it isn’t worth taking the time off. Either way, we buy the lie and run ourselves ragged serving others. Slowly our blade grows dull and we are no longer effective in much of anything. So we have to work harder to keep up and get things done, which wears us out even more. It is a vicious cycle that only ends when we take the time to rest. 

In a busy airport in the middle of the morning rush, this service dog made time to take a nap. If even he knows when to rest, and allow himself to rejuvenate, what is stopping you? 

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