August 23, 2013

The Doggone Truth

He quivered in the corner, this dog. The others clamored for attention, their frenzied barks thickening the air and their scrambling paws uselessly digging at the chain link door. But this dog, he cowered under our soft words. And this dog, when we took him outside, away from the mess, the noise, the chaos, he approached us with suspicion, his fear obvious in the slink of his form, the tuck of his tail, the wet that marred the dusty yard as we reached out to love him. This dog was broken.

This dog.

While yet he was still unlovable, we loved him. We gave him a name. We treated his fleas, his worms. We allowed the furless, cement-scarred patches on his elbows to heal. We were gentle. We were patient. We taught him how to walk on a leash. We taught him how to fetch a ball. We fixed what was broken.

And then we went to work on his heart.

We tried to teach him that hands could be gentle, could be trusted. We tried to show him that this love and our family were forever. We tried to make him see he had a purpose. A place.

And when he wet the carpet when one of us walked past him with a golf club, we were disheartened.
Why doesn't he see that we'd never hurt him? we asked each other.

And when he dug out of our backyard in a frantic attempt to find us, we were dumbfounded.
Why doesn't he understand that we'd never really leave him? we asked each other.

And when he pawed a shallow hole in the dirt for a nap, we laughed in bewilderment.
Why does he cling so fiercely to his past, even when we are offering so much more? we asked each other.

And God, His strong arms gently enfolding my stiff, stubbornly-resisting self, looked at me pointedly and raised an eyebrow. Tenderly, compassionately, he untucked my tail. Smoothed my hair. And smiled into my soul.



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