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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

11 June 2010: Patsy Robinson, Petersfield Methodist Church

Lesson learned on how to work as a team

Mark's dog Pipling, not much more than a puppy, is a coiled spring of youthful exuberance.

A lurcher-whippet cross, she lives with three other dogs in the New Forest. Last autumn, her owners were on holiday and during our dog-sitting weekend she taught me a valuable lesson about teamwork.

I am far too ready to compare myself with others, either belittling my own gifts and doing nothing, or thinking I know best and doing it all myself. Pipling knows about teamwork.

One day, having taken the dogs for a muddy walk, we shut them out in the garden because we didn't want them indoors for a while. I sat down for a quiet read in the conservatory, enjoying the peace and quiet of the New Forest and vaguely wondering if it was time for coffee. The dogs were sniffing at the door but I knew that they couldn't get in. The French windows into Mark's garden have lever handles and although Pipling was springing high and pressing down on the handle, I didn't take much notice even when I heard the latch click because the door still seemed to be closed. She then bounded off around the garden and I went back to my book.

Important point: Pipling's part in the operation was now complete. A little later, the wire haired daschund with his strong claws and snout innocently waddled up (I could almost imagine him whistling) and began surreptitiously, persistently, to snatch at the now unlatched door. It slowly inched wider, admitted his nose, and then they were in - the whole gang!

Seeing that dog team in action has taught me that I need to feel much more secure in my own abilities and to be more trusting of others in the way that they use theirs.

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