Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Stuffed Animals

There is being in love with the idea and then there is being in love with the reality. Before Stella came, I was only in love with the plush toy fantasy of having another dog. The soft, sweet-smelling, no fleas, no ticks, no shedding, no chewing, no whining, no barking, housebroken, quiet when I wanted, active and playful in the way I liked, easy, cheap, wind-up toy idea of another dog. I did not think that I had enough energy for anything more. Surprise, surprise. I did. (God knows what He is doing.)

I like soft things, plush things, colorful things. I confess it – I have a stuffed animal collection. Not every plush animal qualifies; only the ones that jump out at me from the store shelf or the ones people give me. I have been collecting them for 25 years. I have around 100. That only averages to four new ones per year. Not an overwhelming collection (except according to one or two non-collectors in my family).

Of course, the bulldogs love their soft toys, too, and for that reason, they are not allowed in my room unaccompanied. They might just like mine right into their giant bulldoggy mouths. (You can see the results of their love in the picture above.)

So what happened when Snoopey was invited into my room on a quick pass while I retrieved some items? She has been in there before and, I suppose, was feeling quite comfortable. One bound and she was on my bed.  A few quick head tosses and the part of my stuffed animal collection that she could reach went flying. She didn’t grab any. That was going to come next. Maybe she was clearing out the competition. I put a quick end to what could have been a stuffed animal massacre.

Stella has been sneakier. I keep a plush dog-shaped pad on my easy chair that is specifically made for microwaving as a neck warmer. Always the hoarder and silent stalker, Stella sticks her head in from behind, even when I am sitting right there, and pulls at the neck warmer. The ploy does not work. I feel the move and stop her. She has five soft toys in her bed, but there is always room for one more, especially one that doesn’t belong to her.

Coveting comes so easily to us, dogs and humans, and most times it is not based on need. It is based on the fear that we are not going to get what we want or the envy that someone else already has it.

Covetousness pulls us into its trap and we don’t even realize that we are trapped. You can see it in a dog that is guarding a full bowl of food but reaches over to snatch the portion in his neighbor’s. Or in King David with his multiple wives who reaches into another man’s home and takes the only wife his servant had. (2 Samuel 11:2-4: Read the whole story. It did not end well.) The difference is that the dog is not under the commandment not to covet and we, being humans, are – for our neighbor’s good and for our own.

“Thou shalt not covet…any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”  Exodus 20:17 KJV


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