Our Labrador’s name, Rayah, in Hebrew means, “companion.” (Pronounced “ray-uh.”) But a slight alteration of the Hebrew vowels renders her name, Ro-ah, meaning “evil.”
As it turned out, all it took to alter the vowels was to bring home a puppy to keep Rayah company.
Everybody Loves a Puppy—Almost
On my way home from work one day, I saw pickup beside the road with a sign: “Lab puppies for sale.” I stopped, inspected the pups, and started down our family’s checklist:
- “Yellow?” Check.
- “Female?” Check.
- “Registered?” Check.
- “Price?” Double check.
With each question came the right answer, and in five minutes I was headed home with a cute ball of fur in the seat beside me. As I arrived, my wife and daughters greeted the puppy with hugs and kisses and complete joy. Everyone seemed pleased.
Everyone except Rayah.
On every other day of her life, Rayah had a close-to-perfect temperament. But now she growled, bared her teeth, snapped, and scrambled to keep out of the way of the new intruder. I couldn’t believe the change! (We named the pup, “Carly,” although I wanted to name her “Tiglath-pileser III”—or “Tiggy” for short.)
The little dog playfully chased Rayah around the kitchen, and with every lap Rayah looked up at me with eyes that asked, “Are you serious?! We’re keeping this rat?” The dog for which we got the puppy in the first place—now stood first-place in line to take the puppy back.
(By the way, they are the best of friends today.)
A Lesson from the “Lab” Rat
The jealousy and irritable reaction from Rayah—our “companion” gone “evil”—makes me consider my own insecurities, jealousy, and selfish demands.
It’s strange how jealousy works:
- Why does my heart melt when someone else gets the credit, or the promotion, or the affirmation I felt I deserved?
- Must I really feel threatened by someone else’s good ideas?
- Why do I feel rejected when those I respect affirm someone else?
- Does someone else’s success represent my failure?
It was helpful to see such selfish and base behavior in our Labrador, because it exposed my own needless jealousy and insecurity. What a healthy reminder that my purpose in life lies far from having to stay the “top dog.” What a huge waste of time.
The success of others is never the problem. Jealousy is the problem.
Tell me what you think: Why do you think someone else’s success causes us such struggles? To leave a comment, just click here.