2016 didn’t start out with a bang for us. It started with a bark.
On January 1st my wife woke up before me to head out to the mall and do some post-Christmas shopping. Just as I was waking up and heading to the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, I saw her walk back up to the door in the garage.
She was holding something completely unexpected – a puppy.
The dog had ran out into the road as she was heading to the store. Being the incredibly kind-hearted woman she is, she pulled over to see if she could help the dog back home.
The dog had no tags, no collar and no one was outside looking for her. So Kate brought her home.
We took her to the vet to see if she was microchipped. We called local shelters to see if anyone was looking for her. We posted in Facebook groups for pet owners. We drove around surrounding neighborhoods looking for posters.
We found nothing at all that led us to believe we could find this dog’s owner.
So as of last weekend we gave Rosalita a name and decided she would be part of our family. If only we could help her to understand that.
You see Rosie likes our house. She enjoys playing with our other dog The Roc. She loves running around in our backyard. She gobbles up the food we give her and cuddles up with us on the couch each night.
But we’ve already almost lost her a couple of times. The fence in our backyard isn’t all that secure. The wind blew the gate open one day and she bolted outside. We were lucky someone was walking into the church across the street and was able to help us wrangle her.
Even when the door is closed she peaks through any opening or crack trying to squeeze her way out to explore.
Rosie doesn’t knew what an incredible situation she’s been adopted into. She thinks there may be something better on the outside.
She doesn’t understand that she’s not a stray dog anymore.
Roc used to be like that too. In the first few months I had him he ran away a few times. I chased him for miles. I used to have to be incredibly careful not to leave an outside door open or even cracked for fear that he might get out and run away again.
Nowadays I have no problem leaving the door open. I let him walk around the yard with me without a leash sometimes. I know he’s not going anywhere.
Part of that is because he’s older and slower than he used to be. But Roc also doesn’t run anymore. I think he knows how good he has it at his home. I think he knows there’s nothing better out there to explore.
I think many of us have a hard time letting go of our stray dog mentality when we get adopted into God’s family.
We like the many gifts He gives us. We like it when He feeds and rewards us.
But when we get let outside the temptation is there to run around and explore our other options. We sniff around to see what the grass on the other side of the fence might be like. We dream of running away unleashed.
The truth is if we run away unleashed and unsupervised from our Master we’re only going to get hurt. We will get lost. We will become hungry and scared.
Though it may seem restrictive our Master’s home is the best place for us.
We’re not stray dogs anymore. We are true members of God’s family. The sooner we stop trying to see if there’s something better around the corner and instead take comfort in our new home the happier we’ll be.
As the song we named Rosalita after says, “One day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”
I know Rosie will come around. It will just take time, plus lots of love and affection and training on our part. Even though her attempts to escape frustrate us we’re not going to give up on her just because she doesn’t understand her new family yet.
God doesn’t quit on us just because we try to escape from time to time either. He continues to chase after us until we no longer have the desire to run.
On that day we’ll be able to sit back with our Master and laugh at our foolish ways, basking in the comforts of our forever family, and eternally grateful that He never stopped trying to bring us home.
Have you ever tried to train a stray dog? Do you ever feel yourself slipping into a stray dog mentality?