In addition to attending classes with over 420 students a week, Cisco follows the weekly routine of an Episcopal school. He follows a “holy” routine that starts on Monday morning. The entire school gathers in the courtyard to “Greet the Week”. Although this gathering is a great way to welcome a new week and celebrate the accomplishments of students and teachers alike, it also serves as our first look at the liturgical message of the week. We listen to the weekly reading, hear a prayer and then join in to sing the Lords Prayer. Cisco rarely misses a Greet the Week and loves sharing a weekly factoid before the community hears the Word.
Occasionally, Cisco finds himself attending K-2, 3-5 or middle school chapel throughout the week. But his favorite “Holy routine” happens Friday morning. The entire community (students and parents) gather in the gym for Community Chapel. Like usual, Cisco is greeted as if a rock star has entered the gym…sometimes the parents are more excited than the kids to see him! As the clock nears 8 am he finds his seat, usually in the front row of the bleachers allowing me to keep my trainer position while he sprawls out on the cool wood floor. Although he does not sing (he has been known to chime in on occasion with a bark) or recite prayers, he participates when he can. One of the first chapels this year he got his leash blessed while the students and teacher got their backpacks blessed, receiving the same beaded bauble that adorns the many backpacks in the building. A week later, he accompanied me in the communion line. Being the good boy he is, he just laid down at my feet, moving only when I told him as we navigated the line. As we approached Fr. Jacob (the schools chaplain) I slipped his leash on my wrist so I could cup my hands to receive the bread. As I turned to dip in the wine I heard Fr. Jacob say “The body of Christ” again and I realized he was feeding Cisco! In the Episcopal tradition, all are invited to “feast” and that Friday, “all” included the beloved school dog! I did have to make a call when the 8th grade student serving wine knelt down to let Cisco partake in the wine…he did NOT lap out of the chalice:).
At chapel last week Cisco found himself sitting in the front row of the middle school section of the gym. He and I were positioned at the stairs leading to the upper bleachers which is usually not the best place because Cisco wants to climb up and greet all his friends. I decided to let it ride in that position and Cisco just plopped down to stare at the Kindergartners on the floor. Such a good boy…then he realized that his middle school friends were right behind him so up he went. I gave his leash a little slack and he squeezed between rows two up from the front. The students were quietly giggling as he gave them sweet kisses and wagged his tail rhythmically agains the loud plastic bleachers. He backed himself up a bit and plopped down at the feet of two boys who gave him some love as the scripture was being delivered. The two girls in front of Cisco were also reaching back to give some love when Cisco figured something out…if he left his body at the feet of the boys and rested his head on the seat between the two girls he could get the best of both worlds! So for about 10 minutes he did just that, big squishy head between the two girls and big squishy body in front of the two boys which gave him a total of 4 sets of hands delivering tender pets and scratches. When I turned around to see what he was doing I couldn’t help but tear up. Seriously, I got a tear in my eye because it was the sweetest thing I had seen in a while…this amazingly unconditional love between sometimes surly teenagers and a dog! I usually have my phone in my pocket, allowing me to capture these moments with a camera but there was some divine intervention that made me forget my phone that morning. I think the moment was meant to be a fleeting one, like so many moments of unconditional love. Not fleeting in that it will soon cease to exist but rather fleeting in that the moments are so quiet and reverent that they need to be experienced in person rather than on film.
Cisco is a blessing to the Trinity community and the community is a blessing to him! I believe they have been called to one another!
Blessing and Tail-wags,
Jen and Cisco
P.S. Next post will be about Dot Day/Week! Teaser….Cisco wears a DOT every day of the week! Seriously, he is a GOOD DOG!