Comfort, a Clothesline, and a Dog Named Clyde

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m sharing a little secret about my mother. She’s sort of like The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. She knows what animals are thinking.

Here she is with her husband the day they adopted Thor, their rescue dog.

Last week, I called her to see if she could psychoanalyze Clyde, our Lab. He does the strangest thing when I hang out the sheets.

“Mother, you know how Clyde wants to be with us all the time?”

“Of course. He’s a sweetheart.”

“Yes, but he’s a scaredy-cat. He never wants to be alone. He looks worried after Thomas (our 23-year-old son) leaves every morning.”

“That’s not so strange.”

“That’s not my question. I’m just explaining what kind of dog he is. He stays right beside us during our porch parties.”

(Every morning my husband and I sit on the porch together.)

“He even shares chairs with us.”

“He’s just a good dog, Julie. That’s all.”

“I know he’s good. Here’s what doesn’t make sense. The only time he’s not clingy is when I hang out the sheets. He sits by the clothesline and watches me, and then–”

“That’s not weird.”

“I haven’t gotten to the weird part yet.”

“He doesn’t follow me back in the house. He stays near the sheets.”

“The only time Clyde’s brave is when the sheets are on the line.”

“He even falls asleep out there.”

“So, what is it about the sheets?”

“A dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times stronger than humans. He’s picking the smell of you and home and safety from the sheets.”

“Huh. That makes sense. Okay, so what’s he thinking?”

“He’s thinking, It’s so nice and warm today. And I can smell my people close by, so I know I’m safe. I’m just going to relax a while in the sunshine. Everything’s fine.”

“I bet you’re right.” I paused. “You know, I think God has a message here for us.”

“Me too.” Mother said. “Whenever we’re afraid, we need to stay close to the Comforter.”

As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. Isaiah 66:13 MSG

There are a couple of situations in my life that are a tad bit scary. What about you? Let’s cuddle up beside the Comforter.

P.S. Are you like my mother? Do you know what animals are thinking?







  1. I LOVE the conversations you have with your mother. You ladies crack me up! What a wonderful message for us to know our comforter is near. We need to rely on our spiritual noses to know He is near since we do not have Clyde’s gifts of smell. Thank you Julie for sharing your family and your messages with us! Blessings in His comfort.

    • Great point, Tom! Our spiritual noses. Thank you so much for reading–and letting me know you’re reading. 🙂

      Blessings on your amazing writing!

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    Hey Sweet Julie,
    Thank you for your prayers as they are working miracles! please keep praying for me and especially for my strength (I am not Samson) as I continue to survive Finals. Also, please let me know if you have any prayer requests for me?
    Xox Patricia

    • Hallelujah Patricia! You know “when we are weak, He is strong.” So glad to hear you’re surviving!

      Yes, prayer requests–aren’t you kind to ask! Mother and I are flying to Florida on Friday for a Guideposts writers conference. We’ll be coming home on Sunday. I’m sooooo thrilled we were both chosen for this one–especially since it’s over Mother’s Day weekend. I’d love your prayers–that God’s Spirit would be with us, and that Mother would feel okay. She has R.A.

      P.S. And I’m on medicine for a sinus infection.

      Thank you!

      • Cathy Mayfield says:

        Julie, what a blessing to share that with your mother! Definitely will be praying for you both and for the conference. The years that my daughter Sarah went to the Montrose writers’ conference with me filled my time there with so much joy! I’m praying she can go this year – it’s been 3 years since we last went together.

        Lord, bless all these mothers and daughters with the closeness only mothers and daughters share and can express. If there be any strife between them, lay Your healing hand over the hurts and bring them peace. Grant Julie and Marion an especially wonderful weekend together! In Jesus name, we pray, and continue in prayer…

        • Thank you, Dear Cathy. So kind of you to pray for us! I don’t think I knew Sarah went with you. Oh, I just love that you two got to have that joy together. I’ll be praying with you–that it can happen again this year.

          So much love.

  3. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Hi, Julie! Wow, do I ever love your mom! Dr. Doolittle and southern grace all rolled into one.

    And yes, I could be called Dr. Doolittle, too! I enjoy talking to all my animals, domestic and otherwise. My old golden and I have some great “conversations.” He’s almost my best friend, always ready to let me pour out my heart to him. He listens and turns his expressive eyes on me, letting me know, “It’s OK, I’m still here with you.” Straight from the heart of God to the heart of my dog and on to me.

    In most of my writings, I include animals, sort of my tag. I’ve been blessed to spend time with quite a few of them, including dogs, cats, iguanas, goats, hamsters, fish, ducks, raccoons, and that’s not mentioning the wildlife around our home. I frequent zoos, farms, pet stores (almost brought home a Bernese mountain puppy this past weekend!). Sometimes, for fun, I “create” characters sheets for the animals in my stories, just like other people do for their human characters!

    Hmmm…my golden’s pet peeve is…when I forget to give him the other half of his biscuit. And his besetting sin…hmmm…I don’t think he has any! 🙂

    • Cathy, you and Mother could spend days talking to and about your animals! I can tell–you’re so much like her. I’m thinking a Burmese Mountain puppy grows up to be a really big dog?

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Sometimes I think I know what our rescue dog Charlie Bear is thinking, which is why I write a dog blog from his munchkin voice. I love doing it. Your mom is a true dog whisperer, though, and a good one. I love her insight into Clyde’s behavior with the sheets. You could hang sheets out every day, Julie, and Clyde might eventually get over his fear of being apart from your side. Just a thought. ; o )

    • Brilliant, B.J. Just brilliant! Hanging out the sheets daily!

      You’re a dog whisperer too. And a people whisperer. And Charlie Bear talks in a people voice!

      Thank you for being my friend.

    • Cathy Mayfield says:


      Just bookmarked your blog link to enjoy later! I can tell I’m going to love it! Thanks for sharing. But hanging sheets out daily…?? 🙂

      • B.J., isn’t that neat? Cathy Mayfield is going to find your blog. 🙂

        And I agree–not sure on hanging out the sheets daily, Cathy. :/

  5. Brenda Greene says:

    Cute post, Julie Girl! My first thought of Clyde and the sheets on the line was…”uh oh, Mama’s left these on the line, I better keep an eye on them until she comes back to get them!” Like your Mom’s response better.

    Certainly touched my soul this morning as I’m dealing with LOTS of “balls in the air” as the saying goes and had just whispered, “God I need to feel your peace”. Bingo! You did it! Thanks Sweetness and a blessed day to you and your Mom on this upcoming Mother’s Day! Brenda

    P.S. Working on the framed baby pictures to give our firstborn for her birthday today, they turned out wonderfully. Also cooking a meal to carry to her and their family as she’s got one more night of work (7:00p-7:00a) in the ER.

    • Brenda, you have the kindest heart! Such a gift of service. I know your family just adores this about you!! Sounds like your daughter is probably relieved?? One more night of work…

      My sis thought the same thing about the sheets and used the word Protector. Which God is too–Protector and Comforter.

      Big hugs, my friend. Thanks for letting me know you’re reading.

  6. Julie … you made me laugh out loud. 🙂 We had a German shepherd that was just like that. You know what I think it is? I think they are loyal. Loyal. Some dogs run out the front door to never look back, and owners have to track them down. But some dogs are just loyal. He loves his home, his family. Oh, don’t you know that God wants us that loyal?! To stick near to Him through the day, through the night, through the open doors. <3

    • You’re describing Clyde, exactly, Shellie. His worst nightmare would be us MAKING him go outside without us. Loyal through and through, just like your Shepherd.

      I adore your last sentence: To stick near to Him through the day, through the night, through the open doors. Just beautiful, my friend.

      Help me be that way, Lord. In every situation.

  7. Mary says:

    Julie, I love your blog, but I love the comments, too. Brenda’s line about “God, I need to feel your peace,” really hit home with me, as I am dealing with a lot of stuff on many fronts. I’m using Brenda’s comment, plus your image of the sheets on the clothesline to picture God’s comfort wrapped around all of us like a sheet or a warm blanket. It’s helping me a lot.

    I can read my cat’s mind very well. Here is what runs through her mind:
    I’m hungry.
    Too bad you don’t have a tail.
    Where can I get an opposable thumb?
    I want to go out – no, wait, I want to stay in – no, out – no, I think I’ll stay in. Please hold the door while I decide.
    Move over, this bed is MINE. This chair is also mine. This rug is mine, too.
    Where’s my toy? Last time I saw it, it was in your shoe.

    I love love love that cat.

    Julie, I saw my first hummingbird yesterday! They came back!

    • Mary, I think that’s the best part about my blog. THE COMMENTS. We never know how God will speak to someone through each other.

      I love your kitty-cat thoughts!!! Yes! You are just like my mother. You know what animals are thinking too!!

      Ohhhh, you saw your first hummingbird! We’ve had to fill up our feeders already. Seems they came early to our part of GA.

      Hope you have a good rest of the week. xo

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Oh, Mary! “Hold the door while I decide.” What fun cats and dogs can be! And I could actually smell the fresh scent of warm cotton envelop us as I would snuggle close with my Savior, my Best Friend! Think I could sneak my golden under there with me? 🙂

      • Mary says:

        You can try, but I have to warn you… the cat will be in the middle of the bed, stretched out luxuriously, while the rest of us would be skooched to the side, feet draped over the edges, clinging to the edge of the sheet. There is a certain regal sense of entitlement there….

        • I’m just so happy Mary and Cathy–we’re making friends on the blog! I love when our circles in life get wider!

  8. Julie Gilleand says:

    Leafy Julie 🙂

    My sons and I are always speaking for Kitty. One of us will ask him “What’s a matter?”. Another of us will answer for him, “Well, I’m hungry — duh!” LoL. What must it be like to be an animal/pet and not be truly understood?! I guess he wouldn’t really know he was misunderstood unless he understood what we were saying! Or unless he didn’t get us to do what he wanted!

    Kitty is braver than he once was, being an old man now of 15, but if someone he doesn’t know walks into the house — or one of my grandchildren — ZOOM, and he’s gone. We don’t see him for hours and only God knows where he went!

    I have some scary things in my life too. Sometimes I wrap myself in my brand new quilt (I’ve wanted one since I was little and finally have another one) on my bed and it feels like the comfort of God’s arms around me. I have a prayer shawl too, but I don’t know, there’s just something so nice about a quilt!

    Thanks, Julie, for sharing about your dear Clyde 🙂

    Other Leafy Julie G.

    • Hey Dear Leafy, I’m so, so, so happy you got your quilt. I LOVE quilts. My husband has an amazing aunt who’s made two for us.

      God bless your 15 y.o. kitty. Sounds like surely He’s watching over him.

      I’ll be praying for your scary things–as I keep letting go of mine.

      Giant hugs from GA.

  9. I love this. Our mastiffs are the same as Clyde. More so with my Hubs than with me, though. It’s like they have an invisible elastic leash attached to Hubs’s waist. If he moves to another room, it snaps them to him. lol

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Ane, this reminds me of something my brother would do with his little shitzu mix. The dog was so devoted to him that it would sit outside the bathroom door and cry every time Bill went in. But when we went to our cabin for vacation, Bill would take Trixie outside with him and throw a stick. While she went to retrieve it, he would hop up on the roof and call her! The poor little dog would run around and around the cabin, trying to figure out where he could be. She never did figure it out, no matter how many times he did it over the years.

    • Yes, Yes, Yes, Ane! And I can’t even imagine this with a Mastiff. We have a narrow kitchen and Clyde can easily block the walkway and just want to stand beside me….but two…and Mastiff size?

      They’re just so worth it. That’s all I can say.


  10. marci says:

    Such a loving dog, Cyde must be! And what a joy also. Life is never boring with animals.
    I so like the pictures of Clyde. I have a soft spot in my heart for large dogs. Our Catahoulas are large too and protective. Your mom is probably right about the reason for Clyde’s watching the sheets so closely. What she said made sense. I am not like your mother when it comes to reading their minds. What a blessing that must be! Sometimes they will look at us and it’s clear what they are thinking. Our animals give us a lot of lessons, so glad you shared one that you got from Cyde. It made me think of some that I have gotten from the animals. They each have their own personality. I have enjoyed the other comments. They made me think too and gave me some memories. Having a Veterinarian for a daughter (something she seemed born to do!) you could imagine the animals we have had through the years.

    I like Cathy’s mention of Dr. Doolittle, and I wanted to say, Yes, that is it! I always enjoy Cathy’s comments, and some how feel a kinship in some things she says, I want to say, Me too! I read through her list of animals and was amazed at how many we/ Miranda, have had from her list.
    plus a few she didn’t list.

    A friend of mine is always wants to know what the animals here are up to. And it is always something.

    Thanks dear Julie.
    You gave us all a bit of Joy in hearing about Clyde, and how much he loves all of you.
    Sometimes I think about writing down some of the adventures with the animals here, and a friend says I should do that sometime. I see where some here do write with their dogs and cats in mind.

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Marci, thank you for your kindness. The closeness this blog has created is a legacy of God’s mysterious ways and His love. Thanks to Julie, we will all have a great time reminiscing about these posts in heaven!

      • marci says:

        Cathy, you are right about Julie’s blog, and the legacy of God’s mysterious ways and His Love. What a wonderful support group, thanks to Julie.

      • Ooooooooooooh, yes, Cathy. Beautiful heavenly point!

    • Hey Marci’a, first—thank You, Lord–for how you drawn people together.

      Me, oh, my. Marci’a and Cathy–friends. 🙂 I just love it. And I’m going to have to look up a Cathoula. I’ve never heard of that breed before. I have a feeling your daughter is a lot like my mother…and she knows what animals are thinking too.

      Sometimes Mother calls just to tell me what her cats Girlfriend and Gracie are doing. 🙂

      I think you should probably write down your thoughts too. It’s a great release–keeps me sane. 🙂

      • marci says:

        Julie, I so agree, writing can keep a person sane. I don’t know how I would get by without my journals! And might as well start one more– Adventures of the Animal Farm as my friend says.
        I always thought my daughter would be the person to write about them, but I could sure write some stories about the ones here.

        Catahoula- it is a rare breed, They are the state dog of La. There are dog shows that are just for the Catahoula breed. You can visit my daughters website. Black Oak She has a a section “About Us” and ‘The Breed” And of course you can see pictures of the dogs.

        • Great idea and I love the title, Marci’a. Going to your daughter’s site now!! Thank you.

          • Marci’a–what a gorgeous breed! I worked for a vet many years ago and have never heard of this breed. And the lady in the picture is gorgeous! Is this your daughter?

            Thanks for opening my mind to stuff I never knew. 🙂 🙂

          • marci says:

            Thanks! And to answer your question below, yes that is my daughter’s picture. She put together the site, took all the pictures, and did the writing. How neat that you had worked for a vet! I think that is great! Where you a Vet Tech? ! A lot of animal lovers here!

          • Marci’a, she’s beautiful! And so very gifted. Well, I guess I was a vet tech trained on the spot…not officially. 🙂

  11. I love this, Julie! And I sure do hope I get to meet your sweet mama one of these days. She’s such a precious, funny, delightful, talented woman!

  12. Shelley Elaine says:

    Oh, I LOVE Clyde…and your mother!!! This makes me want to spread out the old quilt in the yard, stretch out, and take a nap

    • Shelley, I think you should! Why not! Taking naps is good for us, right? And so is rest. And peace. And trust.

      Let me know if you do/did….

  13. I had to share this with my husband- I loved it so. Our dog is a steady companion too- but when the sun is out he’ll lay outside on his own for hours if he is undisturbed. To see your dog lay there, by the sheets, is such a great visual. Loved the verse too- so much to take away today- so thankful for your beautiful work. Love to you~

  14. Kim says:

    I am a little late to the comments party, but I have really enjoyed reading them all. Brenda’s comment on Clyde maybe thinking he had better keep an eye on the sheets you left, made me laugh.

    One of our cats is a lot like Clyde, but only toward me. She is very social to our immediate family, but my husband says she makes no bones about me being her favorite. She waits, watching out the window when I go for a walk or run. She greets me at the door when I get home from anywhere and she follows me around the house like a puppy. Where you find Mom, you find Autumn.

    I think she is just showing her appreciation and devotion because I rescued her when she was 8-9 months old and weighed only 2.1 pounds. She is a sweetheart!

    • Hey Kim,

      Welcome to the party! And I’m a little late responding. So sorry! Got in earlier today from a Guideposts workshop and catching up. 🙂

      Yes! Autumn sounds so much like Clyde! And isn’t that sort of unusual for a kitty? She sounds like a sweet-pie! I can tell–she loves you dearly.

      Thanks for chiming in.


  15. Nancy Griggs says:

    Julie, I have loved your mom’s devotions for years. Today’s was about exercise. Imagine we are at the throne of God with lots of us dancing and praising. I also see Him dancing over me with JOY when I make him happy
    Love the dogs. Kim talked about cats. I had a birthday yesterday and got two balloons. I have two cats. Delaney is afraid of the balloons and will not come out of the bedroom. I’ve had to put his food, water and litter box in there for him. On the other hand Mister is playing with the strings and would play with the balloons if they were closer.

    • Hey Nancy,

      And welcome to the blog conversation. 🙂 I get the sweetest image of all of us dancing before the throne. Such beautiful words, you gave us.

      Can’t believe Delaney’s afraid of balloons! Poor kitty. Isn’t it interesting how even two cats have such different personalities–and even fears.

      Thank you so much for letting me know you’re reading.


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