How do you know when you have gone too far?
A few months ago, we adopted a young dog and I realized the importance of rules. In 1997, our wonderful five pound poodle died at the age of 17. We have since added three rescues and now see how the original Bear had organized our household.
The cats knew their place and how close to approach Bear’s food. They didn’t venture into his space at bedtime but were on cordial terms during the day. Bear told us when it was time to go for a walk or have dinner. He was also able to tell us when it was time to say goodbye at the end of his life.
When we acquired our first new dog, the rescue worker advised us to keep him on a leash for a while. It seemed odd and unnatural to us, but I can’t remember better advice.
Without that leash, the dog’s life with us might have been short-lived. He saw the cats as sport, wouldn’t eat the food that Bear did, and shot like a bullet out the pet door after anything that moved. So, on with the leash.
The leash kept him close to Howard during the day and close to us at night. Keeping him close kept him out of trouble and we discovered that it added an element of security for all of us. During those first few days of keeping the cats out of the house, he would snap at us during the admonition while he made his own way to the dog cage we kept in the living room for time out. He could not tolerate loud voices. When his behavior deserved it, we would whisper, “KD, go to your cage.”
He reached a point where he recognized his own bad behavior and would go to his cage if I simply pointed to it.
At night, we keep KD on a leash to prevent him from going off the races at the sound of a feather in the wind or a squirrel on the roof. When lights out arrives, he seems to welcome the latching of the lease, knowing everyone was in for a good night’s sleep. We have followed suit with our two subsequent pals, Jonathan and a “new” Bear.
While the idea of being on a leash is not a pretty picture for us humans who have the free will to explore, imagine or experience, I think we can all relate to having gone too far in some areas of our lives. A leash would have been a great idea.
When I depart from the straight path and doing things that are good, I get off balance. Examples are eating right, eating too much or too little, worrying, skipping the treadmill, reading daily devotions or church. That leash is a good thing. It keeps us out of trouble and away from dangerous places. Just might work for children, too.