It’s been awhile since I’ve had a stream of coherent thoughts.  I offer you the reason why:

This here is Rex, the newest addition to our family.  For years we have talked about getting a dog but when I worked full-time it just didn’t seem right.  Now that I stay at home it seems more feasible.  What started off as a search for a young dog became a decision to get a puppy…  a decision that has its pros and cons.  At the moment, a pro:

The dog doesn’t necessarily take a lot of my time but with the daily walk/jogs, naps due to lack of sleep with late night barking to go outside to go pee, end of school year events with the children and me getting more serious about other things that I need to be – writing on my blog has taken a major backseat.

However, walking the dog today gave me two metaphors that I couldn’t wait to share.

  1.  Are we like sheep or dogs?

Rex is pretty good walking on a leash, or at least he’s got nothing good to compare to for me.  His predecessor was a complete jerk, to say the least.

This is Buddy.

Buddy was a two-year old rescue, maybe older, with street cred.  He didn’t care much for me leading him and the only way he was controllable was with a gentle leader.  While a decent companion as we continued to be childless (against our own accord), our few years together was a struggle.  The only way Buddy would behave in the home was with daily jogs (with his short stature – running, not walking.  That forty pound mutt succeeded in dragging our full-sized couch six feet off of the wall, shredding the fabric on the bottom panel to bits and chewing through many things in the house in the course of five hours.).

When we get started and when we are heading home Rex is a bit rambunctious.  I let him roam free on the way home now, no fear of him running off (which is a first of my dog experience).  Today he didn’t even sprint the entire way, he hung back with me most of the way.

During the walks/jogs he’s pretty good, staying right with me or even behind me.  The times when there are problems are when:

  • There’s a bird or squirrel around he wants to chase (after landing himself a baby bird, they’ve proved to be a tasty treat)
  • He’s afraid of neighbor dogs and tries to jump up in my arms for protection (pretty comical considering he’s nearing 30 pounds now)
  • When he’s paying TOO much attention to me that he trips on a curb or his own feet

I find all of this pretty metaphorical for our relationship with God.  How often do we try to take off and do what we want, only to find that it causes more trouble in the end (running ahead and getting yanked by the leash)?  Or when we trip and fall down while we run away being so fearful?  Or when we are stifled by not knowing what to do that we spend too much time looking for direction and trip?

The times the walking is good is when he knows I’m leading and he simply follows.  How much better is God leading me than I the dog, however.

2.  We need to teach our children earlier in life, they aren’t as trainable later in life.

The differences between Rex and Buddy are tremendous and yet they both still have the bad dog traits.  Both like to dig (I speak in present terms but Buddy is probably in doggy heaven what with all the car tire chasing and animal fighting he liked to get into).  Both like to roll around in other animal feces.  Both like to chase whatever, not recognizing danger in doing so.

Yet, with Rex we can try to mold and deter these bad habits (God willing, because the other animal poop thing is the ultimate of disgusting).  We can work with him to do better.  With Buddy we could not.  He was older and would do whatever he pleased.  Unless I was teaching him new tricks, Buddy was not motivated by food.

Of course, with this comes the dog breed and even though both dogs are part basset hound, Buddy displayed the stubborn temperament more.  Rex’s labrador temperament is dominate and for that I’m ever so thankful.

While the dog is a nice distraction he has come with many other distractions.  I’ve cleaned his kennel more than I care to.  I’ve stained the carpet with cleaner cleaning up messes.  My strawberries are going untouched because they are currently fenced up.  My swallowtail caterpillars are extremely light this year – I think Rex likes more than just birds.  We’ve spent more money on laundry detergent, hand soap and paper towels than we ever had.

It’s like we’ve inherited a baby, only one that comes without a diaper, needs daily exercise and likes to ruin our yard.  I do not plan on replacing him whenever he goes to the great beyond.  If I ever had any thoughts about my house being unclean before getting a dog, they were completely delusional.  I can say, straight-faced, that my house is definitely not that clean anymore.

BUT, he certainly is cute and I see the benefits in having a dog with the children.  My daughter’s fear of dogs has become balanced and much more manageable, both kids are learning how to care for a dog, both kids are learning how to properly treat domesticated animals, both kids have a play companion when the other doesn’t want to play.  Also, I get to see a side of my husband that I haven’t seen since my children were babies.

With all of this rambling, however, I’m glad we are more like sheep… dogs are nothing to aspire to.