06 October 2009

Doggy School Dropout

Check out Peter's Blog Carnival on Obedience.

Families have secrets. Transactions and embarrassments they only whisper to each other, humiliations they shutter at the thought of telling non-family members.

My family definitely has secrets.

If we can believe scripture, and I do, all our secrets, events hidden from peers, will be brought out into the light one day.

Why wait.

Brothers and sisters, today I am shining a light on one of my family’s humiliations. Please do not judge us too harshly.

Our dogs, Max and Nina, the dogs we love and call family, flunked
obedience training. They are to our shame. . . doggy school dropouts.

There I said it… The tension is leaving my body as I confess… I feel soooo much better already…

Max and Nina wanted to be
obedient, they tried, but the pleasures of the world proved too tempting.


In the cool of a subtropical Saturday morning, a salty breeze coming off the ocean, Max
Sits. He stays in the ready position for nearly three minutes. “Look at me master!” his eyes say, seeking approval.

Max is the first to see a family riding down the beach on their bicycles. He strains at the temptation, body tense, eyes watering like an addict needing a drink.

“Stay Max, stay boy. You can do it.” But the sirens’ call is too strong. Max springs down the coastline chasing the bicycles, barking, tail waging, tongue hanging out of his mouth like a pork-chop. “Come back Max! Come BACK!” too late…

Nina’s habits are more . . . invasive.

A neighbor walks to the mailbox, or the FedEx driver asks us to sign for a package, perhaps a man bends over in his driveway to pick up his newspaper. – And our sweet Nina, with no malicious intent, trots over to say hello and sniffs aggressively parts of his or her anatomy we normally do not discuss in polite company. The shame.

She knows she is doing wrong, she wants to be
obedient. But, she cannot stop herself.

We still love both dogs, despite their


I am a doggy school dropout, too.

How many times have I wanted to do the right thing, wanted to be
obedient to my Master but failed. …Daily?

With our Father’s guidance, I have improved over the years, but I am a work in progress. Like Max and Nina, I want to
obey, but I simply cannot, not to His standards anyway.

And despite my shortcomings, and despite my lack of ability, and despite my open rebellion when I take off running down the beach, chasing empty promises like Max . . . He still loves me dearly. My God still loves me.

Here is another family secret for those who do not already know. – All I can offer God, all He requires, is Faith, faith in His son Jesus Christ. In return He gives me everything.

I am not His pet, I am His child.


  1. Good morning! I really like how you linked up both stories.

  2. Having raised both disobedient dogs and children (and being bit of a disobedient dog myself), I've come to realize, a little too late, that there is such comfort and safety in obedience. It makes us confident and secure, where we don't feel the need to run away and sniff. I loved this!

  3. "I am not His pet, I am His child." Nice.

    Obedience : "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments."1 John 5:2

    Confession: 1 John 1:9"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. "

    Grace : But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

    You sure know how to say alot in a little story about your dogs.

    Good job.

  4. I went through obedience training with my spaniel. I flunked. However, he did manage to graduate as salutatorian in agility.

    Nice post.

  5. I can relate to this post on every level! I love the humor and the seriousness of being God's child...not his pet!
    Thank you...great post!

  6. I'm smiling. Because "pet" is exactly the affectionate word God used for His own Son: "Lamb of God." This is the first time anyone's pointed out Him using it of us. I like that.

    This seems illogical to me, but even Jesus learned obedience: "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8)

    So if Jesus Himself had room to learn ...

  7. Wow, wonderful post.

    I love the way you linked the dogs and yourself.

    I'd be a doggy school dropout too... but they wouldn't even let me in!

  8. "I am a work in progress." AMEN! I am reminded of this every day! :)

    Great thoughts on obedience Russel!

  9. not his pet but his child... wow, this is most touching. i'm glad God's love for us is not based on our obedience quotient. if it was, where would we be now?

  10. Helen --> Thank You!

    Candace --> Great point. There is a lot of comfort and power in obedience.

    Doug --> Thanks Brother. I learn so much from you.

    Glynn --> Thanks a lot man for reading the post and giving feedback!

    Hey Bridget --> Your feedback means a lot to me, I always enjoy taking a look at you blog.

    Anne --> Maybe Jesus was experiencing temptation. Perhaps He was learning what it "feels like" to be human. And, we know He did so without having sinned. That blows my mind.

    Peter --> Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks . . . Naaa,. You're still a spring chicken. Thanks Bro...

    Kevin --> We are all a work in progress in the service of His glorification. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    Jojoaot --> You hit the nail on the head. What I was trying to say all along is that we have to be careful that obedience does not become a works based doctrine.

    Christ's Luv to you all...

  11. Oh wow, this was so well done!

  12. Okay, I loved how you finished the post with being obedient to God - that was awesome.

    But if you had just left it as a post about dog obedience school? HA! I would have given you mad props for being silly.

  13. Billy --> Thanks Man. That means a lot coming from you.

    Katdish --> Never fear, I'll find some way to restore my silly reputation. :-) Thank you for reading and commenting on the post.

    Blessings to you both.

  14. Great post and great illustration. I gave up on wanting a dog for now because I know I don't have time to really train one. Thankfully God doesn't give up on me so easily!