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

 

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 and a Lab Named Levi

I grew up going to church every Sunday and memorized lots of scripture. Who would think Levi, my daughter’s Lab, would refresh my understanding of God’s love for me? Here they are a few years ago–Katie and Levi.

We kept him over the weekend. He stayed at my heels, and sat under my desk while I worked. He’s so sweet, but he missed Katie and wouldn’t eat.

“Levi, please eat.” I held the bowl near his face. “Yummy. Don’t you want some?”

Years ago, I worked for a vet. I knew the rule. If a dog doesn’t eat, take the food away. He’ll eat when he’s hungry. 

Looking into his chocolate-brown eyes, I just couldn’t do it. I decided to try another method.

Unconditional love.

I sat down beside him on the kitchen floor. Petted him. Talked to him. “If I stay down here with you, will you eat?”

No matter how he responded, I’d still love him.

He looked at me. But I miss Katie.

Love flooded me. “I know you do, buddy. And I won’t leave you. I promise. Come on. You can do it.”

Slowly, he put his face near the bowl, sniffed his food, and began eating. 🙂

“Oh, you’re such a good boy! I’m so proud of you.” He smiled at me and finished all his food.

Putting his empty bowl away, I sensed the Still Small Voice.

That’s how I love youGod seemed to say.

My love isn’t measured by how well you perform. 

Nothing you do or don’t do will change my love for you.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I hugged Levi. Thank you, sweet boy!

God loves me. He loves us. He really, really loves us! He’s a gentle Master.

Love,

Julie