As a car whirred past me during my morning power walk, I barely heard my Dad's voice through my ear buds, "How's Sperry?" Although the words were tough to hear, I could hear the small smile on his face.
Sperry. Our cute dog. Our "bundle of mischief." He couldn't have asked at a better time. "Sperry's on my list!" I exclaimed as I pressed onward up the hill towards the busy intersection with mini-vans and school buses nearing the elementary school.
"Uh oh!" Again, I heard my Dad's smile as it grew across his face followed by a soft chuckle.
Over a year ago, David and I rescued a sweet little puppy from Little Rock Animal Services. Honestly, he's still just as cute as he was then. Like my dad says, "Cute dogs can get away with anything." And Sperry seems to be no different.
I recount to my dad how Sperry has learned that there are times when we leave food unattended on the kitchen counter and that if he stretches just right, he can reach it. In one week he'd managed to steal two chicken breasts and at least a third pound of ground bison left-overs. I walked into the kitchen, horrified, by the sight of that expensive bison strewn all over the kitchen counter, under the Keurig, and across the white-tiled kitchen floor.
He'd done a few other things lately that were out of character. Too much, and really not important enough to write about here, but basically, after it all, I'd decided that Sperry was going to become an outdoor dog. No forgiveness. He was a dog, after all. He could sleep inside and come in and stay downstairs if it got too hot, but I'd had it.
I informed David of my decision, and he reminded me that banishing Sperry outdoors wouldn't fix the problem. He'd still jump and steal meat off the grill if we didn't address the issue directly.
I knew he was right ... on so many levels.
So, I resolved to permit him to maintain indoor/outdoor status ...
Later this afternoon, as I plopped myself on the living room couch and opened my laptop, I felt a heavy, hot, furry mass lay itself on my feet. I looked down and saw Sperry tenderly put his paw over one of my feet while resting his head on the other.
I remembered a comment David had made to me several weeks ago when I'd gotten mad at Sperry and threatened to send him to my in-laws new farm ... "Lindsay, we adopted him. We made him our responsibility. We're not giving him away when we can teach it out him."
Teach it out him. Here I am supposed to be teaching this dog, and as he nuzzles my foot I realize how much God's using this dog to teach me.
It doesn't matter what I do to him (leave him outside, threaten to give him away, or haul him to his crate for punishment when he eats my leftovers), no matter what happens between us, Sperry always loves me. When I shower, even when David is home, Sperry lays in front of the bathroom door as my protector. When I'm working, he lays nearby between me and the nearest door. And in these moments of complete ignorance, when I don't know or care where he is, He comes and sweetly reminds me he's there, and he wants to be my buddy.
Isn't that how God is? When I go a week without doing my quiet time, the whole day without praising His name, or when I doubt His plan, He is the same God who stood at the door of my heart and knocked and knocked and knocked. He's the same God who forgives me over and over again. His love never fails, even though I don't deserve it.
My foot begins to fall asleep under the weight of Sperry's head, but I let it stay there a minute more. I reach down and rub my cute dog's head and am grateful for a Lord who is faithful, a husband who is steady with a heart after God, and a dog who occasionally drives me crazy.