My wife and I recently opened our home and hearts to a Dachshund puppy. Okay, it was recent when I first wrote this, but now it's been almost 20 years. I know at the time that God wanted Dapple to be part of our lives. We learned a lot from him.
Walking him by leash around our neighborhood, I would see myself in the god role to Dapple, a multi-colored and short-haired, denoting the designation as a Dapple Dachshund. A previous owner decided to make his distinctive markings his name as well, so we call him -- Dapple.
On our walks, I see the dog representing me, on the leash, affixed to Almighty God. Dapple chases squirrels, birds, and just about any other moving creature that comes low enough to be at eye level. He also churns up the earth with his paws, sniffing his way into trouble.
Whenever we walk, I'm just the nuisance clutching the other end of the leash. My "NO" commands are irrelevant; only sharp tugs on the leash that pull him off his desired course make any difference.
The more leash I give Dapple, the more mischief he either finds or creates.
I see my relationship with God being like Dapple and me. I'm always chasing after my desires, and God administers the sharp tugs that pull my nose out of trouble.
A couple of times, Dapple has gotten loose in the neighborhood without his leash. Free and wild he runs, the only thing allowing us to catch him being exhaustion – his occurring just ahead of ours.
One evening the ultimate emergency arose: Dapple was loose, and heading across a 4-lane highway! My panic-stricken wife was in pursuit. Thankfully, Dapple crossed the highway safely, but not without frightening my wife, a woman whose heart he has captured.
Talking to this dog later as if he were a child – something my wife has taught me to do – I asked Dapple how he could torment the woman who bathes him, feeds him, buys his chew bones, and pampers him as if he were her first grandchild? He failed to provide an audible response, otherwise you'd be reading this in the National Enquirer.
In Dapple's silence, I thought about myself...running free from God, crossing 4-lane highways, oblivious to the danger, a grieving God in pursuit.
Are you familiar with the Ray Boltz tune:
Does he still feel the nails, every time I fail?
Does He hear the crowd yell "CRUCIFY" again?
In my walk with God, I know I make a leash necessary. And it's probably a short leash. Maybe He's showing me myself through Dapple?
I'm sure glad we didn't get a pit-bull.
POSTSCRIPT: The above story is decades old. When Dapple was 7 years old we added a Bichon Frise puppy. That's French for "little white dog. This little white dog has given us plenty of lessons, too. There's a 2012 photo below.
Unfortunately, on February 12, 2008, we had to say good-bye to Dapple, and the video below reflects how hard that was to do. Thanks for the love .... and the lessons, Daps.
– Terry Duschinski
Copyright 1999, Terry Duschinski