The Dog Who Taught Me Obedience…And Other Lessons

I intended for this post to come out earlier. But I took my time instead because I wanted it to be significant, and for awhile the words weren’t coming to me. There is a lot I want to say. A lot I’ve learned that I want to share. On May 5th I put in my 2 week notice to resign from my part-time position as a dog mascot at Patriots Point. Two weeks later, I spent my last day with some of my favorite coworkers and dressed in the furry ‘Scrappy’ costume for the last time. It was time to become a full-time photographer. I was called to take the next step forward. So I lept.

There are a few things I want to say, that I don’t quite know how to put into words. I often struggle to find the right words, but somehow when I just type or write freely without thinking they end up flowing. So here goes nothing…

 

On Faith:

It takes a lot of Faith to just jump off the edge without knowing if your wings will develop on the way down. What I mean by this metaphor is that photography is seasonal. In the summer, I am slammed. In the winter, things get a bit more sparse. Right now, I can barely make time for friends, self-care, and wedding planning because photography sessions and projects are taking over my life lol. But I don’t know at this point if I will need to get another part-time job come February. I don’t have any guarantee that this Fall I will be as busy as I was last year. I have no idea if all my sessions next week will cancel, or if I will get 10 more inquiries in my inbox tonight. I have seen both happen in the last year and a half that I’ve run my business. So yeah, it’s a lot about FAITH. It’s a lot of going with the flow and trusting it will all be exactly what it is supposed to be. It’s a lot about figuring it out as I go, and truly acting as if I am always going to be protected and provided for even when I don’t feel it. Even when my mind tells me “that’s not practical” or “that’s risky”. In order to have faith, I have to let go of fear.

On Obedience:

Taking the position as a dog mascot seemed ‘backwards’ to moving forward in my photography career. It seemed like quitting a full-time, salary position at a successful photography business in order to sweat my ass off in a furry costume for a basic hourly pay would be asinine. But I knew I needed to quit. Doing my own photography was a conflict of interest, and I knew I got more fulfillment when I was booking my own clients and serving them with my creative talents. So I prayed. I asked ‘How, When, and to Where was I supposed to move”. I did the footwork not knowing what to expect. I revamped my resume. I connected to others for inspiration and advice. I consulted my mentors. When ‘Scrappy’ showed up on Indeed.com Job site, I just saw God’s hand all over it. I knew that people would be scratching their heads in bewilderment. But I also knew that God works in mysterious ways. If he was calling me to be a dog mascot, I needed to let go of my ego, let go of people’s opinions of me, let go of common sense. I needed to listen. It taught me that God’s opinion of me is the only one that really matters. In order to have humility I had to let go of all the ways ‘I thought things ought to look’. Becoming a dog taught me obedience.

On Joy and Service:

When I put on the costume, I became the character. I danced and high-fived, and hugged strangers. People who would normally not notice me, found joy in the attention that a giant dog gave them. Veterans in wheel chairs that just wanted someone to listen to them would share their stories with me. Children would run up to me and embrace me with wide open arms and stare into Scrappy’s dark nose. I danced with middle schoolers and entertained groups with terrible renditions of ‘the nay-nay’ and the ‘whip’. They loved it. And I did too. I learned that when I open up to joy, I am able to be of maximum service. When I open my arms to love, I will be greeted with an abundance of love. When I was in a funk, I knew I had to show up and suit up…literally. I would push through the uncomfortable heat, the itch of velcro on my neck, and the weight of the heavy plastic oversized head. When I did, I was blessed with so much love and joy, that even as a mascot I felt a deep sense of fulfillment. It was meaningful to me. It was significant.

On Friendship:

Writing this might make me cry. So, starting with Jessie. *Sigh* Jessie and I met my first day as Scrappy. She was ‘the other scrappy’ as we rotated positions as “Scrappy’s dog walker” and “scrappy”. Within 2 days we had shared our entire life stories with each other.  We would sit in the ‘dog house’; the retired air craft carrier’s incinerator room where they would burn garbage had been turned into Scrappy’s changing room, and we would have long heart-to-heart conversations in between our performance appearances. It was that kind of friendship from the very beginning and still is today.

Working as the low-man-on-the-totem-pole certainly has it’s benefits- Friendship is easy to come by. The docents (greeters) on the ship became like surrogate uncles to me. They never ran out of dirty jokes and light hearted pranks.

And then Gabby. Girl I know you are reading this and I want you to know how much I appreciate all that you do! Gabby became my marketing intern and has helped me TREMENDOUSLY with managing and updating my social media, blog, eblasts, etc. She keeps things running smoothly when I am out of town and picks up the slack when I lag behind. Beyond that, she is a sweet and fun-loving friend and coworker who frequently took Scrappy on walks around the ship.

So, in all this, my point is that being a dog ain’t so bad. Taking this job as the Scrappy mascot taught me so so much and offered SOOOO much blessing to my life. I am forever changed, in a good way. Once a Scrappy, always a Scrappy.

 

George Rogers – winner of the 1980 Heisman Trophy

Gamecocks

Stingray’s Hockey Game

Scrappy with Mayor Tecklenburg

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Dianne Miley
    June 9, 2017 at 1:28 am

    We love you, Scrappy! I’m so glad you shared how much Scrappy meant to you. I’m so grateful you had that opportunity to learn and be blessed. Love you always, Mom.

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