Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Gentle Giant

I would have finished this post an hour ago, but Walter keeps trying to climb into my lap.  This big wobbly dog has been the perfect guest. He has not barked once. He compliantly goes wherever we drag him with his disjointed bumbling gait. When he sniffs, his poor nose bounces up and down as he tries to control the extraneous movements that cerebellar hypoplasia imposes on him. Despte outweighing all of us, he is gentle and sweet. Even grouchy Lucky went outside and played with him. Honeybun is a little leery and keeps looking at me as if to say, "I knew you had a few screws loose, but letting this special needs canine loose is not one of your more lucid moments."

HCF has trained me well though, and thus far, all the dogs appear to believe that I am alpha dog, and all of us remain unscathed. In a few hours we return to the Theatre Charlotte with Walter to man (dog?) our fund raising booth for the Sunday matinee. Walter was a hit last night at the Saturday evening play.  Children flocked to him like fire ants to my naked toes when they step on a nest (which by the way, did happen yesterday and I would highly NOT recommend it.) Walter licked them, and with his wobbly nose, tried to shove his face into theirs, and then flopped deliciously onto his back to let twenty small children rub his belly, bat his jerking paws, and lie down against his silky fur.

I knew HCF would not send a huge dog to a theater filled with live bait unless he was completely trustworthy. I know they are well aware of my inadequacies as they have known me a few years now. So while I would not have trusted either of my pets in this situation, I had been assured that Walter, the big clumsy lug would not remove even a tiny freckle from those cute little cherubs. 

You of course know that this sweet giant must have been a gentle breed, a lab or a Great Dane. But no. Walter is a pitbull mix.  The theater patrons were more well informed than I am about pitbulls. (Not that that requires an advanced degree or anything...)
"Did you know that they are the number one dog in shelters?" asked a young man, (that fact I actually did know), "And it is so unfair. They are a fantastic dog. When I grow up I am starting a pitbull rescue group."
"Did you know that they used to be the most popular dog in the 30s?" another woman who heads up a rescue group  herself told me, "They were a favorite pet because they are so good with children."
We glanced over at Walter who had his massive head in the lap of one child, and all 4 paws were waving spasmodically in the air. One little boy was timidly stroking the wagging tail.
"This breed has been given such an undeserved bad name," said another man who was rough-housing with Walter, "Is he up for adoption?"

I didn't open the money box, so I don't know if all the love Walter spread translated into donations, but I do know that a lot of people went away with a little bit different feeling about pitbulls.... me included.
My revelation regarding pitbulls is not unlike my coming to faith. I once thought that people who believed the "Jesus story" were stupid losers who couldn't deal with reality.  The Bible was a ridiculous collection of fairy tales. And then slowly, my eyes were opened as I read this Book that has changed so many lives, and prayed to this God that so many claimed had a personal interest in whether they bought wheat or rye bread.  And as I look back on now 25 years of trusting Jesus, I realize that He may have the power to chomp my head off, just like Walter, but instead He chose to die that the punishment I deserved would fall instead on Him, and He turns His belly up and invites me to trust and love Him.

Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

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