“Corky just graduated from Good Citizen training,” explained proud dog owner, James, who had been talking with his friend, Roger. Both were at the playground with their children. “I didn’t know if he would make it because he’s so young, but he has done just fine. “ The tan labrabor sat quietly next to his owner as James pushed his two-year-old in the swings.
“Wow. Any other dog would be jumping around. Look how quietly Corky sits,” commented Roger as he watched his pre-school daughter soar high.
“That’s because he has learned to obey commands.”
Rex, the park caretaker, chuckled as he overheard that. He could say much of dog and owner behavior as his park was a popular spot for walking dogs. “Just watching is a crash course in Dog Walking 101,” he commented to the men. “But I can spot the obedience-training ones. They just walk quietly alongside their owners on the left side and leave some slack in the leash—just like Corky here.”
Rex continued, “But I’ve seen lots of dog walking here and it’s mighty interesting.” He explained that he had seen family dogs leashed to a stroller with a mom pushing. The pet would be zig zagging behind her, straining to savor the smell of a clump of grass, pulling the stroller and Mom off course.
He’d seen dogs pull their owners around the walking path for three laps before slowing down and letting their owners grab a breath.
He added the story of his last day off, when he headed down a two-track dirt road to his favorite trout spot. “There I saw the bar-none most one-of-a-kind way of walking dogs. This white-haired SUV owner had stopped at the turn-off, got out of the car leaning on his cane, and then opened the hatch to let the two huge Great Danes off their leashes. Then he drove down the road without them! That made me hopping mad! I thought, ‘How dare he just abandon those dogs!’”
“It would make me mad, too!” Roger added.
“But the Danes giddy-upped after the car. I guess he knew just how fast to drive. When the car reached the lake, the guy stopped, petted the panting dogs, poured them each water, and opened the back hatch to let them Danes back inside for a ride home. They knew who took care of them. They knew who loved them. They knew who they belonged to. The pet owner just had another way of walking them because of his own problems,” Rex concluded.
Jesus knows who belongs to him, too. “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” [John 10:14, 10:25] Listening to his voice and following the Good Shepherd. That’s even better than Good Citizen training.
He assures us in our every day challenges this ironclad promise, which spoken to leader Joshua. It applies to our lives today, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” [Dueteronomy 31:6]
And like the white-haired driver putting a different spin on Dog Walking 101, God may put a spin on our walk with him. But he loves us and knows to stretch our abilities just far enough for us to grow stronger. Like the senior, God knows just when we need to stop and ride for a while.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold. Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, buttontogod.dev.]