I read a passage in the Old Testament this morning that reminded me of a sermon I heard years ago. It's the only time I ever saw this particular young man, since he was a guest speaker; but I always remember good sermons.
In the passage (Exodus 15:22-27), Moses is leading the Israelites through the wilderness. Three days pass without any water, but finally they find some in a place called Marah, which means bitter. The water was so bitter they couldn't drink it, and they began complaining. Moses throws a piece of wood in the water and it's no longer bitter. There's another sermonette in this, but I won't go into that, because I'm pretty sure nobody comes to my blog for a sermon.
The story goes on that when they left Marah, they came to Elim, which had twelve wells of good water and seventy palm trees.
When the preacher came to this part, he told us that he and a friend of his, when they fell on hard times, would tell one another, "Elim is coming!"
And ever since that time, if things are going bad, I tell myself, "Elim is coming!"
Isn't it peculiar that some speaker I only saw that one time impressed me with a story I've never forgotten?
OK, moving right along, I'll once more sing the praises of my dog: I'm always up two or three hours ahead of Cliff, so Gabe and I spend a lot of bonding time then. I take him out as soon as he's out of the kennel, then one more time before I wake Cliff. He evidently knows this routine well. I'd taken him out for the second time; he was on my lap this morning when I said, "Get down; it's time to go get Cliff up."
He jumped off my lap and ran to the closed bedroom door. When I opened the door, he went around to Cliff's side of the bed and put his paws up on the bed to look at Cliff. Really? He knows what I'm saying? If I ever teach him to bark on command, I'm just going to send HIM to wake Cliff up.
I have complained that Gabe is the hardest dog to housebreak I've ever had, but I think the truth is that I sometimes don't see him when he needs out. See, he sits at the front door and stares at me when he wants out. My chair is situated in such a way that my back is toward him when he does this, so he's telling me in his own way that it's time, but I don't know it. Then an accident happens. That's my theory. If only he'd bark to get my attention! I've had several people tell me to put a bell at the door and he will learn to ring the bell when he wants out. Where would I put the bell? On the doorknob? I know it works, because people tell me they've done it.
Now, if you're one of my Facebook friends you can just cruise right past this next story, because I've shared it there. But many of my readers aren't on Facebook, or aren't my Facebook friends. Here it is:
When I first got Gabe and was trying to teach him some basic commands, he refused to come to me when he was loose outside because he was having too much fun. In the house, he'd come. Outside, not so much. I googled everything I could find on the subject and somewhere came across this advice, which I can't quote word for word: If your dog is heading toward danger and you don't yet have him trained to come on command or obey "no", lay on your back, wave your hands and feet in the air, and yelp like a puppy.
Hmmm, I thought.
I tried it in the house and it worked, but who knows what would happen outside; sounded too good to be true.
This morning, since the ground is frozen (no mud) and Gabe hasn't been off-leash outside for days, I let him loose and he followed me to tend to the calves. We hadn't been out long when a neighbor's white dog that shows up here a couple times daily came into our yard. Gabe saw him and happily went running toward him. The white dog turned toward home, Gabe following fast. I yelled "Nooooo" loud and long; he stopped and looked back at me, then turned and ran to follow the dog. I could see I probably would have to walk to the neighbor's to retrieve him, because he really wanted to play with that dog. I could see Gabe heading for life on a leash forever.
Then I remembered that crazy advice I'd read.
It takes me awhile to get down on the ground, but I managed, and then I rolled on my back and began kicking my feet (sort of like peddling a bike), waving my arms in the air, and yelping at the top of my lungs.
As soon as I did this, Gabe turned and ran toward me at the speed of light. At the same time, the neighbor lady opened her door and started calling her white dog.
So now I know the trick works, but here's my question: What were the neighbors thinking when they saw their 73-year-old neighbor lady laying on the ground kicking and waving and making loud, piercing noises in these single-digit temperatures? Did they think I'd had a heart attack?
That's the part that makes me laugh.