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

 

Young Love and a John Deere Tractor

When we moved into our log house in the woods, my husband said he needed a tractor. A John Deere tractor.

“What for?”

“Wait ’til it rains. You’ll see.”

It rained for days that spring. Our long gravel driveway turned into a mud slide. “Uh-oh. What now?”

He grinned, hopped onto his tractor, and drove up and down the driveway. The gravel miraculously surfaced. The path to our house returned.

He was right about the tractor.

That John Deere has been faithful after all our storms. Dependable. Strong. It’s helped him in the garden, moved heavy things, and even made us smile.

My beautiful niece Libby, 10 years ago.

Last week I developed an even stronger love for the tractor. 

We’d had days of rain (again) and my husband hadn’t had a chance to drag the driveway. Driving slowly and carefully over the deep gullies, I made my way toward the street.

When I got back home from the grocery store, this sight caught my breath.

Our son and his fiance dragging the driveway together.

They couldn’t hear me following them.

I crept along, thinking.

Remembering.

Newly married, 36 years ago, we couldn’t possibly imagine the road ahead. The twists and turns. Steep hills and valleys.

Watching Brittany and Thomas, a prayer rose.

Lord,

When it rains, go before them. Smooth out the rough places. Protect them. Keep them close. 

When they reached the house, I jumped out of the car and thought about that old country song by The Judds, “Young Love.”

“Oh, y’all! Stay like this. Side-by-side. No matter what.”

And you’ll do just fine. 

There’s nothing like riding a tractor with someone you love, no matter your age.

If you can’t see the video below, click here. It’s worth watching. I promise.

What matters most in your relationships?

How is love like a John Deere tractor?

What have you learned about love?

Have you ever ridden a tractor (or skied, or run a race, or swam a river) with someone you love? Tell me about it!

Love,

Julie