The chase

I’ve had my dog, Waylon, since she was about eight weeks old. She’s now eight years old, and I can’t begin to tell you how much she fills my life with joy and entertainment.

But she’s a Beagle, which means she’s also (often) the source of great consternation. If she’s not eating the cat’s food, she’s begging for mine. She hogs the bed, and gets sassy when I try to move her over. I can’t have a bread box or a cookie jar – or any food at all – on the counter, because she’s Super Pooch and can jump up there and steal every last morsel. Walks around the neighborhood are a hysterical and humiliating sight, as this 30-pound powerhouse drags her owner down the sidewalks, sniffing and grunting and baying that signature Beagle howl.

One of Waylon’s favorite tricks is the art of escape. It’s not an exaggeration to say she’s busted out of every crate, kennel, or fence she’s ever been in. My girl is a crazy mixture of smart, stubborn, and strong, and it gets her into quite a bit of trouble.

I thought we’d turned a corner on the escaping. I made some adjustments to the backyard fence about 10 months ago, and she hadn’t gotten out since. (I admit to feeling pretty proud of myself.) But last night, it happened again. She went outside to potty at about 1:45 a.m., but didn’t return when I called for her.

I stepped out onto the deck and called her name again. Nothing. Repeat. Silence. I couldn’t see well in the darkness, but at that point I realized she must have figured out a way to push through the gate and venture out into freedom.  It was time for search and rescue. I slipped on a pair of shoes, grabbed her leash, and got into my car. (Waylon, you see, prefers to be driven home after her bandit adventures.) By the time I drove down the street and back through the next alley (her usual path), she was chasing me back to the driveway. And almost as quickly as this ordeal began, we were home again, fighting over the bedcovers.

Light of day revealed that she’d found a patch of dirt beneath the fence juuuussstt big enough to dig at, which allowed her to push through some loose boards on the backyard gate. As I drove to work I was thinking about what I needed to do to make a repair, and kind of laughing at myself for being the kind of person who would just throw on a pair of shoes and drive around the neighborhood like a crazy woman at 2 o’clock in the morning whisper-shouting for her rotten dog.

And then it hit me.

That’s what God does.

Pajamas and crazy hair and all, He chases. There’s nowhere we can go where He won’t follow – no place we can hide where His love can’t reach.

The parallels here are too much. How I must seem to God like my ornery little dog. I get muddy. I dig holes. There have been times when I’ve run away. But you know what? He never just waits on the porch. He gets in the car. He searches the neighborhood. He goes beyond city limits, if necessary. And soon, we’re back home again.



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