By Gary Miller
For the most part, I’ve never been afraid of dogs. There’s only been two times I’ve gotten bit, both by Chihuahuas. I think they both had some type of little-dog complex. But since deer hunters consistently go to and from their tree stand in the dark; if the neighbor or the local farmer has a dog, it will inevitably locate your movement and proceed to let the whole county know you are there. On one particular farm I hunt, I have to go by three dogs. I’ve discovered over the years that each one of these have there on sort of motivation for chasing my vehicle. One is the lead dog. He really doesn’t care what the others do. He is going to chase, bark, and even try to bite the very tires on my truck. The second one simply chases me because the lead dog is doing it. However, he does have his own leadership tendency in that there are times he will stay on the porch. And the third one is all about chasing the dogs. He couldn’t care less about me but had rather run circles around the other animals in sort of a fun-loving way.
But all of the dogs are only willing to chase and bark either until I park or until I drive from their immediate area. There is also one other tendency I have noticed; over the years as they have become older, I have become less of an attraction. They truly have learned that sometimes it’s just better to stay on the porch even if they still can “run with the big dogs.” Since I’m not the dog whisperer, I can’t explain the nomenclature of dog activity, but I do know this – out of all of the years of barking, biting, and chasing after me, it has proved fruitless and futile. I still come and go, park, hunt, and even stay and visit with the owners. All of their efforts have really been in vain. But their activity is not too far off a picture of my own life.
Unfortunately, as I look back, I find that I spent much of my time in pursuit of things that really didn’t matter. I was strong and full of energy. My bark was loud and my bite was real even if it was a result of my own complex. I chased after things I thought had meaning and substance only to realize that substantive things are really not things at all, they are people and relationships – family and friends – God. Today I am much older and have realized that many of those things that I once barked at and kept at a distance were God’s way of introducing me to new people and relationships, and to Himself. I missed out on these because I was too busy protecting things that had very little value. I choose now to stay on the porch, not because I have stopped pursuing that which has value but because I discovered the most valuable things will be found on the porch.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.