“Mom, I want a another dog,” my eight-year-old son announced. “A BIG dog.”
was a request I was willing to consider, even though I suspected that the “BIG” dog would become my“BIG”
responsibility once the newness wore off. In my experience, that’s been about three days tops.
We had a big
dog once before. A rescue, she was a three-year-old German Shepard-Blue Tick Hound mix, a sweetheart who loved children and
cats, minded commands and, above all, arrived housebroken. As long as the new BIG dog met those requirements, I was okay with
adding another four-legged family member to our multi-pet home.
Enter Jasmine. Lanky, long-legged, already 40 pounds
and three feel tall at nine months. Part Black Lab and part Border Collie, saying she’s spirited is like watching an
approaching tornado and musing, “hmmm, it might be a little windy today.”
An understatement extraordinaire.
much excitement and glee, my husband and sons ushered Jasmine into the house to meet “mom,”the introduction peppered
with heavy promotion.
CRATE TRAINED! GREAT WITH KIDS! LOVES CATS! WELL BEHAVED! And the big selling point…HOUSE
I just can’t stress what an issue that last requirement was for me. The carpet throughout my house
was only two months old. Need I say more?
Yes, the words “House Broken” closed the deal .
Jasmine has been with us for six months now. And yes, she’s house broken-- if that means breaking my house.
answered nature’s call in every room except one. (And I guard that precious, untreated room as though it contained the
answer to all of life’s mysteries.)
She’s greeted me with carpet thread in her mouth—thread still
attached to the carpet, requiring that I follow a frayed and raveled trail from her teeth to the point of origin, three rooms
Her diet has consisted of such things as…well, carpet, but also a bicycle helmet, a menagerie of stuffed
animals, trampoline netting, 64 ounces of tropical fish food, numerous Nerf items, a sheet, and a complete Mary Kay hand care
ensemble that included buffing crème and emollient gel.
My husband and sons act as though I’m supposed to be
okay with this. After all, Jasmine is “just a baby.”
I’ve walked with the Lord for many years. And
though I still struggle to get a lot of things right, I remember the days when I struggled to get everything right. When Jesus
interceded for me, I wonder if He ever threw that line in on my behalf.
She’s a baby Christian. Just a baby.
forever finding chewed-up bits and pieces of things strewn about the house—things identified as formerly G.I. Joe’s
head, a flip-flop, a remote control, sunglasses, a Fruit Roll-Up. Horrified, I once came upon a deluge of black feathers in
the living room, a sight that implied the need for yellow crime tape. Foul play (pun intended) appeared to be the case, and
I grieved for some poor bird that had met a terrible end.
Praise God, it was just the feather duster.
teething,” my husband said, cuddling this small pony in his lap. “We need to be patient.”
How blessed I am that God has plenty of that.
Exasperated, I’ve tossed my hands in the air and said to Jasmine,
“I give you praises and chew toys, treats and attention. And yet…you continue to mess up, over and over again.”
wonder, has God ever been tempted to put me up for adoption? Send me to the pound? Slap a muzzle over my mouth? Has He ever
shaken His head and said, “I’ve given you the Bible, Christian friends, unlimited access to my throne…and
still… you miss the mark.”
One night, a friend stopped by to give me a gift. I had been upset about something
for days, and this friend, anticipating a meltdown, bought a funny knicknack to give me when the storm hit. It barreled in
at 11 pm. My friend arrived, intending only to zip to the front door, hand me the gift, then zip back to her car, which she
left running in the drive way.
Jasmine, seeing an open door, bolted into the night, full steam ahead and blinded by
giddy freedom. Faster than a speeding bullet, she was Super Dog, bounding across the street and charging from yard-to-yard,
untouchable and unstoppable. And there was my friend in hot pursuit…
Wearing only her nightgown.
more, her car, low on gas, sputtered to empty while idling in the driveway.
And that’s just one tale of Jasmine—the
Queen of Trouble—holding a Great Escape. There have been many, most requiring that we hunt her down in the car, armed
with a leash and whatever temptation we can hastily grab from the pantry—Twinkies work best. Even so, capture is usually
the result of someone cornering her in their garage.
Looking back at my Christian growth chart, I remember times when
I darted into something that looked good. Times I got off course, ran in circles, went bounding into the night like an over-excitable
God came after me. Calling my name over and over, doing whatever it took to lead me back home. Even today, when
my free will wants to be exercised, God keeps me on a leash, not letting me get too far from His voice and His path.
wants to do good,” my husband insists of Jasmine. “She really does.”
I agree. Truly, discipline breaks
her heart. As her amber eyes peer into mine, I’m sure of one thing. If this dog could talk—if she could quote
scripture—it would be Paul’s words from Romans 7:15:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want
to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
What Christian can’t relate to that?!
As she matures
and learns more of what’s expected of her, Jasmine is finally starting to “get it.” The other night, as
she scampered through the house with a sponge in her mouth, I commanded, “DROP IT!”
And she did. Right
into my hand.
God is holding His hand out, too. Ready to take and put away those things we do that we don’t
want to do.
The jury is out regarding my sanity. In response to Jasmine’s antics, there are friends and family
members who gape at me with perplexed amazement.
“Why do you keep that dog around?”
If I, with all my humanness, short-comings and desire for clean carpet can feel this way about a dog…how
much more must our perfect Lord feel for the children He created?!
LOVE. That explains His patience…not only
during our “housebreaking” phase, but throughout our lives.
“For I am convinced that neither death
nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything
else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.
we become more obedient, older dogs in our Christian walk, may the Spirit of the Lord lead us in our dealings with Christian
pups. Remembering that we, too, might have had house breaking issues, may we show them what the Lord showed us.
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against
such things there is no law. Galatians 5: 22-23.
Our newest family member is a kitten named Blackjack.
I know, I AM crazy to take another animal, but how I could not? The runt of the litter, he looked like a little Beanie Baby
lying there. Saying “no” was not an option.
Now, three months later, we’re not sure if he’s
a kitten or a flying squirrel.
When his eyes dance dizzy-wild and his ears flatten against his head—just prior
to slam-dunking the Poinsettia—my husband and I have voiced the same concern:
Can kittens be possessed?
a whole other article.
c. Donna G. Morton 2005