Posts tagged ‘dogs’

Judging

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This could be Epic, one of the family dogs of my childhood.

My favorite story about Epic (short for Epictetus) is that my sister won a prize with him at a community pet show. She asked him to do a trick for the judges, and he did so perfectly. He was taller than she was at the time, because she was only around four, if that old! He loved her that much. All of us, really.

I told a story about how Epic taught me about being who you are, deep down, soul level, truth level on Jennifer Slattery’s blog, Jennifer Slattery . (click here) What a pleasure that was. Enjoy!

 

 

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When the dog obeyed

02ed71835b650bc03097776c75c5599dThis is not the Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog) I had growing up, because we didn’t have cell phones, much less cell phone cameras back in those dark ages. Ha! But she looked similar to this dog. Her name was Honey, and before us, she lived in the kennel where she was born, her only consistent human interaction being with the teenage girl who fed and watered her daily. She was sweet as honey, but struggled to bond with anyone but me, since I was a teenage girl.

We did 4-H obedience dog shows together, spending many happy hours training. She would refuse to “talk” to me when I gave her a bath. She would throw up in the car unless we were on the way to a dog show. But, it was as though she read the dog training manual before each training session. Smart pup!

She slept on my bed at night.

One day, my Mom happened to open the garage door just as the newspaper boy came by. Oh, no! Not the dastardly newspaper boy!!! Honey dashed out of the garage to get away from this terrible, fearsome creature.

Couldn’t find her. Just couldn’t find her. About a week later, Dad was driving down a major, busy road two miles away (the one shopping mall in town), and saw her running back and forth in a panic, trying to cross the road. She almost got hit a couple times.

Dad pulled over.

Just as she almost dashed into traffic again, he yelled, “Honey, SIT!”

She recognized his voice and froze. Just long enough Dad was able to grab her and bring her home.

She didn’t sit, but her obedience training had kicked in to save her live.

Makes me wonder…how much obedience do I have in my relationship with God?

Do I hear and recognize God’s voice as Honey recognized my father’s voice?

And when I do…

Do I obey?

In John 14, Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”
(That’s in response to a question about how the world will learn about Jesus, by the way, but that’s a different blog post.)

Did Honey obey to make my Dad happy? No. She obeyed because she recognized his voice.

Do we obey to get on God’s good side?

No, God’s love is unconditional. Our obedience comes because we recognize His voice.

A voice we trust. And love.

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”

Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10)

Oy! Now I’ve got “Trust and Obey” that won’t get out of my brain!

Blessings,

Voni

Trail Leader or Command Leader?

Rich and I went on a short anniversary trip to Fairbanks this month, enjoying the beauty of the nearby Chena Hot Springs as well. While we were there, we signed up for a tour of Chena Dog Kennel, home to both retired and up-and-coming sled dogs as well as ones who love the trail, but just aren’t fast enough for the elite dog mushers.

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We didn’t tour the kennels too much. We were too busy enjoying the pup he brought indoors for us to play with and peppering him with a million questions. We loved it.

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(Rich is on the left, our tour guide on the right)

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It wasn’t even a spiritual conversation. Our tour guide didn’t mean to cut my soul to the quick during our “tour.” But he did.

He shared how there are two types of lead dogs: Command Leaders and Trail Leaders.

lead-dog

Trail Leader dogs know the trail so well they could lead the dog team without the musher. They don’t get lost. They don’t run off. They are trustworthy. They know their job and do it with alacrity and joy.

Command Leader dogs have that same alacrity and joy, but they may or may not know the trail, or they may be entirely off-trail. It doesn’t matter. They listen for their musher’s voice and respond. They can be trusted wherever the musher takes them.

It makes me think of parenting. What parent wants their kid to be one who is just along for the run, pulling their weight? Who even wants their child to be a leader, but one who simply runs the trail correctly? A wise parent wants their child to be Command Leader, attuned to the values and morals they were taught, so that no matter what the trail of life brings them, they can respond with alacrity and joy.

Since when has the trail of life ever been simple and unchanging, anyway?

And what about my spiritual life? Am I a Trail Leader or a Command Leader?

Do I check off all the Christian boxes? Church attendance, check. Read Bible daily, check. Pray before a meal, check. Run the trail as usual, check.

Or do I feel safe when God leads me off the trail into glorious, beautiful, mysterious parts unknown, because I am attuned to His voice?

John 10:27 “My (dogs) listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” — Jesus refers to us as sheep, not dogs, but the point is the same, lol.

Psalm 143:8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. —uh, Who else would we trust but our Creator?

May God lead you off the trail into glorious, beautiful, mysterious parts unknown as you listen to His voice!

Blessings,

Voni

PS. As an aside, life is like dog mushing…a leader is not the one in charge. The Musher is, as in Jesus Christ. Life is also NOT like dog mushing…a leader is not necessarily the one out front. There are many ways to be a leader and impact the world for good other than being out front.

PSS. After our “tour,” which lasted longer than expected as we asked question after question, we were invited to watch them prepare the dogs to take some tourists on a run. To keep the dogs healthy and engaged, they do this on wheeled carts year-round, even without snow. Rich was petting one of the dogs when she was not “chosen”—don’t feel sorry for her; her turn eventually came. The poor, silly thing literally climbed up Rich and began whining. These dogs LOVE to run.