I am into week four of puppy ownership! It has been both fun and challenging, to say the least. One thing I can say for sure is that I am learning a lot, both about dogs and myself. I initially thought this puppy, who we named Crowder, would fit into our lifestyle. However, it has been more like us adjusting to his.
One of the adjustments we had to make was the number of items we needed for this adventure. The best puppy supplies I purchased for him were a puppy playpen, several chew toys including a Kong (a huge help when I have to go to work), a stake with a tether line for our front yard and of course a leash. Each item has helped me somewhat control Crowder’s actions and his ability to make good choices, which in turn benefits me and my husband’s sanity.
I have found the leash to be very important not because Crowder likes to go on walks but because he doesn’t. You see, Crowder is a Springer Spaniel and thus is bred to be a hunting dog. All he currently wants to do when we head out is search for things. So our “walks” consist of stopping every few feet for the leaf, stick or something that smells weird. Thus, the leash becomes very helpful in pulling Crowder back into focus and, with eyes on me, we proceed to our destination or the next distraction, whichever comes first.
I am not only learning more about the importance of having a leash for Crowder but the importance of having what I call my leash of faith in God. This is because Crowder and I are alike in one primary way; we tend to wander. He gets hyper-focused on the small things that cross his path. I can get overly focused on the influx of bad news that crosses mine. Both of these will head us in the wrong direction.
One of my favorite hymns called “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” has a line that hits me every time I sing it “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love” I feel the truth pierce my heart with every word. Now, as I watch my puppy be that way too, this truth cuts deeper.
I am desperately trying to teach Crowder that I am his “fount of every blessing,” so he won’t pull on the leash so much. At the same time, God is whispering the same lesson to me so I won’t tug on my leash of faith. We both need to learn that a strong leash keeps us safe. It keeps us heading in the direction of a good Master who loves us and wants the best for us.
At this point, I can only keep trying to get Crowder to know of my “goodness” so he will understand the importance of his leash. As for me, I must, amid the bad news, remember the goodness of my God and let this leash of faith be the fetter that “binds my wandering heart to Him.