The Day My Dog Spoke To Me

Our dog, Charlie the border terrier, isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. Every morning I fill his bowl with fresh water, and every morning he and I enact the same routine. He pads over to the bowl, sniffs at it and then rewards me with a withering glare, before sulking in his cage for the remainder of the morning. If looks could kill then I’d be halfway to doggy heaven by now. Charlie doesn’t do tap water.

I’ve no idea why as it’s perfectly acceptable tap water. Good enough for the human members of the household. Perhaps he’s just not thirsty, I used to think. Or his sensitive canine palate will only accept Evian sparkling H20 from the purest Alpine springs. His father was a pedigree so maybe that’s where his culinary pickiness comes from. Possibly there’s a bit of corgi in his family lineage.

Given this, I was surprised the other day to find him slurping noisily from a plant pot in the back yard. It had rained heavily overnight so the saturated soil in the pot contained a good few inches of dirty rainwater. Dirty rainwater that our Charlie was gulping down at an unprecedented pace. It was as if he had just crossed the Sahara Desert and was on his last legs. Paws. Whatever.

When he was finished, he ambled past me with a smug expression on his face, his thirst quenched. Can dogs look smug? He trotted past his bowl of clean, cool tap water without a second glance. Here was a dog who knew what he liked and no dumb owner was going to stand in his way. I initially dismissed this as a one off but have since caught him a number of times lapping up muddy water from the back yard.

It doesn’t appear to have affected his health. He’s still a bouncing ball of energy and his all consuming hatred of neighbourhood cats and our amiable postman, Tony, remains undiminished. He just has a preference for al fresco dirty water. Maybe, somewhere deep within his admittedly tiny brain, it is the same primeval beast within which still makes him circle ten times before lying down.

I used to be like Charlie. I had a loving home and family, everything I needed on tap. Yet I preferred spending my nights at the bottom of a pint glass or talking online to complete strangers. I turned my nose up at the pure refreshment on offer for my soul and wallowed in self pity and shame. A physically and mentally unhealthy mess who was more interested in his Twitter followers than his wife and kids.

I’m glad that those times are behind me now. They say you should never look back but sometimes it does no harm to peek over your shoulder to see how far you have come on your journey. We often forget to reflect positively on what we have achieved, instead becoming overwhelmed by the present and what yet lies ahead of us. It is our past conquests where we attain the strength and skills to forge ahead. Our past arms us for the future.

When I get home tonight, I may sneak Charlie an extra biscuit for teaching me an important lesson today. For a dog, he has a pretty comfortable life. I’ll allow him his back yard forays to the dirty plant pot knowing that I now drink from a well of living water. Everyone has the opportunity to sip from this well, yet it remains the less traveled path to so many. I’m glad I made the right choice in the end.

Have you got a pet? What lessons do they teach you?

Have you drank dirty water in the past? Where are you now on your journey?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

31 thoughts on “The Day My Dog Spoke To Me

  1. Yes, I have preferred junk food over healthy food and the dark over the light. Thank God he keeps pulling me back! But don’t be too quick to judge Charlie. Maybe he doesn’t like the tap water because it lacks minerals and flavor and probably contains toxic fluoride and chlorine. Dogs can smell things we can’t. Ask him. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What’s in your tap water? What chemicals does your government put into it? Maybe your dog can taste those chemicals & that’s why he doesn’t want to drink from the tap. Rain water doesn’t have that flavor & so he prefers it. I know lots of dogs & cats, too, who are just like this.

    I don’t drink from the tap & I haven’t for 30 years. I drink either spring water or from my Brita pitcher. & so do my pets. Although my cats prefer the water from the tap in the shower over all other water. But that’s another thing altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love how you were able to use the dogs water to compare to your life. Brilliantly done. As for me, hmm fortunately my journey moves me to true tap water. I was made to believe the muddy water was holy. (How’s that for a reverse play? 🤔)


  4. We are the proud pet parents of three rescue dogs. They teach us on a daily basis the importance of unconditional love. I could go on and on about the lessons they demonstrate daily, but I’d be bragging so I guess I’ll leave it at that.

    I, too, have had the misfortune to drink ‘bad’ water in the past. It’s a little different today. I have the opportunity to drink from the limitless fountain of grace, sustenance that gives life. Thank you for your posts. I so enjoy them. Blessings to all of you!


  5. A very appropriate object lesson.

    I looked at the Northern Ireland Water website, to find out how your drinking water is treated. It identified a number of household water quality issues, which could perhaps violate your pet’s sense of smell or taste.

    Here are a few things to check, to see what it may be that is causing your dog to reject tap water. If it’s the smell of the chlorine residue, run water into a pail or or large jug and let it stand overnight before serving it to the animal. This will allow the excess chlorine to evaporate, after which the dog may accept it. If your water leaves rust stains on fixtures, there may be enough iron taste to it to put your dog off of drinking it. You’d need a filter installed to remedy that problem. If you’re filling the animal’s water bowl from a tap that has a water softener on it, the water may taste too salty to the dog. A water softener may be installed on the whole house supply, but sometimes it’s only on the hot line; in that case, be sure to use the cold line for the dog’s water (the fact that the hot water may at first run cold for a while before warming up doesn’t change its taste).

    Also, sometimes pets object to the kind of container they have to drink from. It seems that plastic is the least tolerable; stainless steel may be less objectionable, but glass is often preferred over all.

    Your dog’s health could eventually become compromised by his intake of dirty water; internal parasites are the most likely, but your veterinarian can identify other risks, particularly if there is a nutrition deficiency or metabolic problem developing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love it!!! Great post. You had me hooked with just the dog’s choice of water. Our rescued lab mix is very much the same and we had a rescued cat that chose any standing water over our untreated well water.

    But then your application of how we choose to dip our snouts into the impure really hit home. Thankfully our God is patient and forgiving.

    I appreciate you sharing your observation and reflection. Good stuff Mr. Black!


  7. Love it!!! Great post. You had me hooked with just the dog’s choice of water. Our rescued lab mix is very much the same and we had a rescued cat that chose any standing water over our untreated well water.

    But then your application of how we choose to dip our snouts into the impure really hit home. Thankfully our God is patient and forgiving.

    I appreciate you sharing your observation and reflection. Good stuff Mr. Black!


  8. Funny how Miss Cleo has decided to worm her way into my lap at this moment to purr and remind me that I am as worthy of love as she is. Her obsession with kneading my arm while typing leaves something to be desired.

    I think the biggest lesson I take away from our rescue pets is that loving in the moment, and being present in that love, is the best of all gifts.


  9. I’ve seen dogs drink out of the water reservoir of a potted plant as well. I don’t think their bodies mind ingesting a little dirt. We’ve all probably settled for something less than what God has for us. He has the best water ever for us, but sometimes we choose to drink something other than that {sometimes it’s decent enough tap water and sometimes it’s stagnant, mossy, gross water}. I love your illustration – well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I used to not drink tap water and only bottled water. Then I got weird about it with my own dog (Rip) because I felt the chemicals in tap water which make the water safe for human consumption wasn’t good for dogs. I had strange logic that I am not sure was accurate. Secretly when my parents weren’t looking I would switch out the tap water in his bowl and replace it with bottled water…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahh your (very cute) dog clearly has a mind of his own. He has preferences, and this is good. Apparently when Roald Dahl asked his children which of something they preferred, and they said, “I don’t mind,” he would roar at them, “You MUST mind! You MUST use your MIND to mind”. Or something like that, although I might have made up the second bit … Your dog clearly has some genes from this wonderful author. I suspect they have also rubbed off on you … just saying’ 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post. Your dog is also telling you that he prefers natural rain water in spite of the dirt in it than the chemical ridden artificial tap water. Sensible dog.


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