Captain’s favorite sight, yes, even more than a bone, is of me picking up the leash. He turns into a begging kangaroo, jumping in circles and bounding as high as my chin, overjoyed to be on his way down the lane. New smells, a possible dog fight with the neighbor, romping with the pups, chasing a cat, he never knows what excitement might await him. Captain absolutely adores a walk.
However, he will turn his head as soon as the leash, removed from the wall peg, nears his nose. I have to grab his head and hold him still while I place the gentle lead around his muzzle. Captain both loves and hates the leash.
The leash stands for excitement and new possibilities, but it also means giving me the control. I don’t have any mean ulterior motives in my walking Captain. I want him to enjoy the walk, maintain his health, have some new experiences, and stay near my side. I slow down to let him smell things. I run next to him (don’t tell my chiropractor) when he is feeling extra energetic, and I let him explore new areas.
I don’t, however, let him into the muddy ditch. There are ditches I do allow him into, but some ditches are off limits. He may go into the water-filled ditch and get a drink. He may crawl through the weed-infested ditches to satisfy his beagle nose. He may dig in ditches dried from sunshine and lack of rain. BUT, he may not get into muddy ditches.
Why not muddy ditches? Because he will have to have a bath. He cannot bring the filth of the ditch into my house. And in my house is where he wants to be. When darkness falls and temperatures drop, Captain wants the safety and warmth of my house, but the only way that is allowed is if he is clean, smelling only of dog, not old manure, dead animals, or skunk.
And that is where the leash law comes in. If Captain follows the laws of the leash, he will stay by my side enjoying the walk, experiencing all of its delights, and then he will return straight home to my livingroom. But if he doesn’t obey the leash laws, he cannot come in until apologies are made and stink-stains are washed.
Sound familiar? The Master leads with the loveliest of leashes. Wear the leash.
“Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. (29-32)
“I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. (44-45)
“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (165)
“May my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost pup (sheep). Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commandments. (169-176)” Excerpts from Psalm 119