It really was a simple morning task; let our dog, Libbie, outside for one last watering of the lawn. It’s the last act of my pre-work routine. In lieu of regular work shoes, I put on some casual flip-flops to take her to the tether we anchor into the ground.
For some reason, though, I forgot about the tether!
I guess, in my silly head, I thought that she would honor our routine by faithfully walking out on her own.
Nope. She did what most any dog in that situation would do. She ran.
Libbie is a German Shorthair Pointer (GSP). I’ve read they can run about 35 to 45 miles per hour. That day, I saw it first-hand. I knew I was in for a terrible time chasing her down.
Also, I immediately thought of all the bad that could come from the situation. She could get hit by a car on our busy street. She could run so far off that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I certainly could not go into work until I had her safely back home. She could get in a fight with another dog. She could get taken in by someone else and we’d never see her again. This is all in addition to the fact that I would lose unpopularity among everyone in the family — except the cat, of course.
I thought about all this as I chased her three houses down and then back to my own. She kept running the other way and – by the time I was through another neighbor’s yard – she was on the other side of the pond! I did the only thing I could. I screamed for her to get back home.
To my surprise, she started coming back!
She stopped at the patio of a neighbor’s house and looked in. I had hoped they would see her and come out to grab her collar. No such luck. She was off again.
She ran out front and was heading for an even busier cross street. Along the way, she tried to befriend a bicyclist who repeatedly told her to get away as he tried to pedal past her. Despite my pleading for him to “grab her,” he was uninterested despite Libbie’s continued badgering.
Finally, she came racing back to me.
I caught her, and as I held her collar, she tried to wiggle free. Fortunately, despite my exhaustion and panic, I was able to keep a strong grasp on her and guide her home. I saw some neighbors had come out to either cheer me on, help out, or perhaps laugh at the buffoon who was chasing the dog while wearing flip-flops.
I thanked them for coming out the best I could as I passed them and did my best to save face. Not only was I embarrassed, I was beaten. I went in the house, sat down and prayed I wouldn’t have a heart attack as I resumed breathing and pulled my dew soaked socks off my feet. The remainder of the day (and for a few afterward), my knees ached from the sudden sprints and my lungs felt like chambers of smoldering crud.
We are Slaves to our Natural Instincts
As much as I wanted to resort to primitive disciplinary actions against Libbie and “teach her a lesson” about running, I didn’t follow through. She’s a dog. Though she’s smart and has been through training enough to be at least a little obedient, she’s a dog. For all she knew, since her idiot owner didn’t bother to hold her in his grasp, she ran.
She’s a dog. It’s her nature to run.
Thank God for Our Tethers
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-29
Since that time, I can’t help but think about how it parallels our human nature with regards to sin. We start our every day by venturing out into whatever area (perhaps we could call it a pasture) where God has providentially placed us. He’s tethered us to His word and given us the opportunity to be obedient. And just like Libbie pokes her nose in my garden or digs in the ground while she’s tethered, we too find ourselves being disobedient by continuing to sin.
Considered in this perspective, I think it’s fairly certain how most of us would behave and react if we suddenly found ourselves unattached – even momentarily – from God’s grasp or released from His tether. I think about that, and then I am so thankful that He’s promised never to allow that to happen!