Little Dog, Lost–in the Deep Woods

Last Monday, I headed to the woods behind our house to walk our two dogs. The air was so cold it stung my eyes, but I hadn’t brought my big coat. I didn’t think we’d be gone long.

We entered the three-minute long path.

A huge group of deer startled me.

Clyde, our Lab, ignored them, but little Ellie, our Morkie, went nuts. She took off chasing them like a bullet. Within seconds, the deer were gone.

So was Ellie.

Just like that, she’d disappeared. I called her over and over.

Without warning, everything changed. 

The sky turned slate gray. The wind kicked up, whipping through the bare trees. It started to snow.

I ran home. Put on my coat and gloves. Grabbed my phone.

Outside, the snow fell heavier, swirling, like my thoughts.

My son-in-law’s a police officer who’s training a German shepherd. He and my daughter thought Ellie’d be safer with us.

She’d slept under my arm the night before.

How could I explain what happened? Sorry. I lost your dog. 

Deep in the woods, I screamed her name over and over.

No movement. No sounds. Except for Clyde beside me.

Surely he doesn’t understand the problem. If the deer keep running, we’ll probably never see Ellie again.

Then a tingly-feeling idea came.

What if I ask Clyde for help?

Does he even care that she’s lost? 

“Clyde, where’s Ellie? Go find Ellie!” 

Does he know her name?

Instantly, he dropped his nose to the ground.

He ran in odd patterns, circling trees, with me trying to keep up. I stumbled and hurt my knee, but Clyde kept going.

Twenty minutes later, I had no idea where we were or how to get home.

Everything was the same color. Sky. Trees. Leaves.

The only thing I knew for sure was that Clyde was with me. 

He entered a clearing and stood perfectly still.

He’s not trained for this.

We’re wasting our time. 

From out of nowhere, I saw Ellie creeping toward me. “Oh, baby, there you are!” Humbly, she dropped at my feet. I picked her up. Inhaled her sweet doggy smell. “But now I’m lost.”

Could Clyde help me one more time?

“Clyde, go home.” He turned around and went in the opposite direction.

If you can’t see the 15 second video below, click here.  

He led us to an unfamiliar fence.

If you can’t see the 13 second video below, click here

Standing near the fence, I spotted the green tin roof of our home.

“Thank you, buddy! You knew what you were doing, didn’t you? Sorry I doubted you.”

Poor little hardheaded Ellie.

She’d run herself ragged.

We both had.

Sometimes, when the situation appears hopeless, I forget the Helper never leaves me. Click to tweet.

Have you ever lost your way? Or lost your faith? Or chased after the wrong things?

Love,

Julie

 

There’s Something about a Tenderhearted Man

I guess you’d say my husband Rick is a man’s man. He drives a truck, works with his hands, and has always had big dogs–Labradors–dogs that serve a purpose–never a little frou-frou dog.

Katie, our 31-year-old daughter, went through some life changes this year. She remarried, became a stepmom, and their house is on the market.

A few weeks ago her husband, a police officer, began training a new dog for the K-9 department–a German Shepherd who just so happens to be an alpha dog.

And Katie has an itty bitty Morkie named Ellie. 

(Morkie = Yorkie plus Maltese)

Ellie’s scrappy and determined, and she’s also smart. Every time the new dog came near her, Ellie trembled and hid behind the furniture.

We’ve kept Ellie a few times over the years. Each time Katie picked her up, Rick said, “If Smelly ever needs a new home, I want her. I love those little black eyes”

I thought he was kidding until two weeks ago when Katie made a really hard decision–

To let Ellie come live with us.

For now, she’s ours.

Or rather, she’s Rick’s.

Katie’s house, homecoming day.

“Here. I”ll hold her,” I said on the way home.

“She’s fine. I’ve got her.”

I fell in love all over again. 

Laid-back Clyde said, “Come in, Ellie. Everyone’s welcomed here.”

Ellie found her spot at  porch parties.

According to the Great Dogs website, “Morkies are lapdogs to the core and try to please their owners.”

But Ellie doesn’t have to work to please Rick.

He fell in love the first time he saw her.

Keep your heart open. 

Sometimes love strikes unexpectedly like a summer storm.

A 30-second video. Ellie’s checking out her new home. You’ll hear one of our roosters welcoming her. 🙂

If you can’t see the video, click here. 

Have you ever fallen in love in an instant?

What is it about a tenderhearted man? 

Big dogs or little dogs? 

Love,

Julie (and Rick) 🙂  

Comfort, a Clothesline, and a Dog Named Clyde

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m sharing a little secret about my mother. She’s sort of like The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. She knows what animals are thinking.

Here she is with her husband the day they adopted Thor, their rescue dog.

Last week, I called her to see if she could psychoanalyze Clyde, our Lab. He does the strangest thing when I hang out the sheets.

“Mother, you know how Clyde wants to be with us all the time?”

“Of course. He’s a sweetheart.”

“Yes, but he’s a scaredy-cat. He never wants to be alone. He looks worried after Thomas (our 23-year-old son) leaves every morning.”

“That’s not so strange.”

“That’s not my question. I’m just explaining what kind of dog he is. He stays right beside us during our porch parties.”

(Every morning my husband and I sit on the porch together.)

“He even shares chairs with us.”

“He’s just a good dog, Julie. That’s all.”

“I know he’s good. Here’s what doesn’t make sense. The only time he’s not clingy is when I hang out the sheets. He sits by the clothesline and watches me, and then–”

“That’s not weird.”

“I haven’t gotten to the weird part yet.”

“He doesn’t follow me back in the house. He stays near the sheets.”

“The only time Clyde’s brave is when the sheets are on the line.”

“He even falls asleep out there.”

“So, what is it about the sheets?”

“A dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times stronger than humans. He’s picking the smell of you and home and safety from the sheets.”

“Huh. That makes sense. Okay, so what’s he thinking?”

“He’s thinking, It’s so nice and warm today. And I can smell my people close by, so I know I’m safe. I’m just going to relax a while in the sunshine. Everything’s fine.”

“I bet you’re right.” I paused. “You know, I think God has a message here for us.”

“Me too.” Mother said. “Whenever we’re afraid, we need to stay close to the Comforter.”

As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. Isaiah 66:13 MSG

There are a couple of situations in my life that are a tad bit scary. What about you? Let’s cuddle up beside the Comforter.

P.S. Are you like my mother? Do you know what animals are thinking?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

Love From a Yellow Lab Named Clyde

I didn’t expect to fall in love so fast.

We’ve always had dogs, but I’ve never been a real Dog Person until now. Meet Clyde.

We got him when he was six weeks old. Here he is on his first night at home with us. Look at that face! All those precious wrinkles~~~~

Here he is under my husband’s arm. 🙂

Clyde is now fourteen months old, and even though he’s a typical puppy, there’s something special about him.

He’s completely loyal. So faithful. He just wants to love and be loved by us.

The other day my mother came over and I put him outside for a few minutes.

“Won’t he run away?” she said.

“Watch. You’ll see.”

Clyde stood at the sliding glass door with his eyes fixed on me.

Look at that humble body posture. He’s quietly begging to come back inside.

Clyde knows we have woods near our house. Surely he hasn’t forgotten the little creek at the bottom of the hill…the squirrels he could chase…the sound of the barking dogs down the street.

But that’s not what he wants most of all.

He wants to be with me.

Maybe I have something to learn from Clyde’s amazing loyalty.

When worries and distractions clamor for my attention, I should keep my eyes fixed on God.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 (ASV)

Has anyone else learned a sweet lesson from your pet?

Love,

Julie