Jack the Dog

Devotional - Jack, the Snow, and a New Poo Place

Yesterday it snowed, and by nightfall we had about 8 inches. After Hubby used his snow blower on the driveway, he blew a narrow path for Jack the Dog to follow to the back of the yard so he could do his business.


. . .Fast forward to late this afternoon. It was “time to go poo,” which Jack does every day at this time. I figured he’d follow the blown path to the back of the yard. I stood on the deck (in 8 degrees) and watched Jack pee on the nearest bush. Then he headed straight back to the deck where I waited.


“Go, Jack!” I said, waving my hands like an idiot. “Go Poo!” (Yes, he knows what this means.)


He looked at me like, you’re kidding, right?


Keep in mind that we’ve been going outside at this time for at least three years. We know what we’re supposed to do.


“Go poo!” I repeated.


He took off, but not down the path Hubby had so carefully made. Instead, Jack headed to some trees along the fence line and followed them, stopping every few feet to stare at me.


“GO!” I yelled, wondering if our neighbors could hear me.


When he finally reached the back of the yard, he still didn’t follow the path. He followed the fence line where the snow was much higher. Then he stopped and stared at me. That’s when I realized that his regular poo place was covered up with snow. Hubby hadn’t blown the snow there.


By this time, I was feeling the cold, but I trudged out in the yard until I came within several feet of him. He was confused and uncomfortable. I had to get up close and personal to encourage him to do what he needed to do.


“Go Poo.” I pointed my finger like the ghost of Christmas Past.


He ran back and forth along the fence and stopped to stare at me again. He wanted his regular poo place and nothing else would do.


“Go Poo,” I said again.


Once again, he ran back and forth along the fence and stopped.


We repeated this maybe ten times until Jack couldn't hold it anymore. He went poo. Finally. Oh happy day! I could go inside and thaw my cheeks.


I praised him and walked straight back to the house. He didn’t follow me -- or the path. He kept trying to find another way. Near the fence. Around the trees. Anywhere but the path.


When he finally reached the house, he was shivering, so I carried him down to the family room and we sat in front of the pellet stove to warm up. Silly little dog.


As usual, Jack’s actions were a spiritual metaphor. The path Hubby had made for Jack wasn’t what he was used to. It didn’t cover the same ground and didn’t lead to his usual poo place. So instead of following the path, Jack wandered through deep snow, trying to find the old place, following his old habit.


Things would have been so much easier if he’d just followed the path.


How many of us are like that when God reveals a new plan for us? Something that takes us a direction we’re not familiar with. We’re like Jack. You’re kidding, right God? We want the old because it’s familiar. Comfortable. We wander off, insisting that the old is better. Then we find ourselves, like Jack, lost in a snowbank of confusion.


The LORD says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8 NLT).


Lord, please help me always follow the path You’ve set for me, even if it’s not comfortable or familiar.

Devotional - Lost Dog "Parable"

Last weekend our dog, Jack (who I’m pretty sure is a few light bulbs short of a pack), escaped our yard. I learned a long time ago that I can’t take my eyes off him when he’s outside.

Jack

I’ve lived with Jack a lot longer than hubby Kim. He has held out hope that Jack is akin to the collie mix he used to own. Devoted, watchful. . .smart. Yeah, well, like I indicated, Jack’s intelligence is up for debate. It’s hard to tell whether he’s dumb or just out for himself like so many small dogs. And I suspect his “devotion” (read: dogging our footsteps in the house and staring at us incessantly) is more from insecurity and a need to be adored than from being a watchful family guardian.

So last weekend Kim was working outside and took Jack with him so they could have some time together. That was Kim’s first mistake—thinking Jack wanted to be outside so they could be together. Instead, when Kim wasn’t looking, Jack followed his nose out of the open gate. When I heard Kim yelling for Jack, I knew what had happened.

Unfortunately, Jack wasn't wearing his collar. He has a collapsing trachea, so we don’t like to keep anything around his neck inside the house for fear he’ll get caught on something and choke to death. Our bad. He does have a chip under his skin with our information on it, but that entails someone having a chip reader.

So the search was on. I drove up and down the road, talked to a couple of men. Hubby searched the trees behind our property and then took his truck to go looking further. I called a friend to pray. My biggest concern, besides my little dog being killed, was the potential guilt my dear husband would live with the rest of his life if something happened to the dog on his watch.

This story has a happy ending. Hubby made another drive down the street and woman came out of her house and asked him if he was looking for a little tan dog. She said a friend of hers across 32 (a very busy road) had found a little dog. Sure enough, it was Jack. When Hubby got there, Jack was shut inside a car to protect him from their big dog (who wanted a piece of Jack).

Jack was obviously glad to be home. I was so relieved. The thought of the little guy lost outside, alone, and afraid, really bothered me—even though he did it to himself.

I was reminded of the parable of the Good Shepherd.

Matthew 18: 12-14:  What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

When Jack left our yard, he was no longer under our protection. He was in the world, threatened by traffic, other dogs, and who knows what. He could have ended up in the pound or worse, smashed on the road. But we searched until we found him, then brought him home to warmth and safety.

Isn’t that like us when we move out from under the Lord’s protection by sinful action or thought? Sometimes we don’t know how to find our way home. Worse, we’re trapped and the enemy of our souls is snapping at us, threatening our safety. But Good Shepherd comes to find us. He picks us up and carries us back home. What a beautiful picture.

(And we’ll be buying a harness to replace Jack’s collar. I’ve decided he’ll have to wear it all the time.)