Fire Dog

Bo by the fire

This dog would never ride an engine to put out a blaze.

This dog would never sit tall on a seat in a station.

This dog would never keep watch for sparks of danger.

But this dog is a fire dog.

She stretches every night by the fireplace in the den.

She rotates front to back, right to left, for even heating.

She twitches and jerks in her toasty, roasted dreams.

Our Bo is a fire dog.

Too Cold to Poop

brrr-17 degrees, -29 wind chill.  It’s too cold to poop.  Our dog, Bo, can’t stand it.  She can’t keep all four paws on the frozen ground at once.  Can’t stop dancing long enough to squat.  Can’t think about anything but getting out of the frigid air and back into the house.  Tug, tug, tug on the leash.  No poop.  Too cold.

I love how extreme weather conditions shut down activity.  We all think we’re in charge, with our to-do lists and responsibilities.  But really, we have no control over this world.  It’s good to be reminded of that from time to time.  I prefer extreme days — they make us slow down.  Those other days when it’s cold but not too cold, snowy but not too snowy, icy but not too icy — those days you have to carry on despite the elements.  But a blizzard or an ice storm or an arctic blast, they make you put up your hands and surrender.  “Ok! I’ll leave my pjs on all day!  Uncle!  I’ll sit by the fire and read all afternoon!  I give!”

Sometimes it’s nice to be told what to do.  Usually I like to be the boss, plan my day, decide what’s next.  But sometimes I like to be told, “No”.  And just give in.

Bad Dog

A few months ago I wrote about Bo, our Boggle (Boston Terrier/Beagle mix). (See July 20, 2010 post)  But there’s something I didn’t tell you about Bo.  As Sam observed this week, Bo is a really good pet, but she’s a really bad dog.

It’s like this: Bo is always sweet around us, her family.  She likes to play and fetch and curl up next to whoever is lying on the couch.  She sits and shakes paws and greets us at the door with tail wags.  She rarely barks and a doo-doo mistake in the house is highly unlikely.  Bo has never bitten anyone and only showed me her teeth once, when I tried to take away her food.  Understandable.  She’s a really good pet.

But when Bo gets anywhere near another dog, she turns into a bloodthirsty maniac.  The hair along her spine rises up and she begins to schnuffle (a barking/snorting thing).  Bo must give off some kind of offensive aura because other dogs also turn into bloodthirsty maniacs in her presence.  In our one attempt to go to the city’s dog park, we cleared it out in a matter of minutes.  Nobody likes to play with Bo.

When we go out for walks, she prances right beside me and smiles up at me….until another dog approaches.  Then she goes into attack mode and I can barely control the ferocious beast.  Quite often, I will turn around and go the other way when I see a probable confrontation converging.  Her reputation in the neighborhood isn’t good.  Nobody knows she’s really a sweet thing, except those of us who live in the house with her.

 Bo looking out the window.

      Bo looking out the window as a dog walks by.

Is this behavior limited to canines?  Do human beings have similar issues?  I mean, do people sometimes act sweet and loving in the house of God and then snarl and schnuffle at others on the street?  Are there some folks who just give off bad vibes and seem to bring out the worst in others?  I’m not pointing any fingers; I’m just asking: are there some really good church-goers who turn into something else outside those walls?

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.  1 John 4:20-21  (Message)