Rock-Eating Dogs

savanna after surgery

Politics aside (we were just kids), my sister and I were appalled by something President Lyndon Johnson used to do; he picked his beagles up by their ears. I use that memory in my newest cozy Christian mystery, “Herding Bats.” Also the frustration of dealing with dementia. But back to President Johnson’s dogs.

If he were still alive today, I would have to apologize to President Johnson for my harsh judgment of him for allowing his beagles to eat rocks. As a kid, I couldn’t imagine anyone letting their dogs eat rocks. Now we have a rock-eating dog.

Our blue merle rough collie puppy started eating rocks, a symptom we have since learned of Epi, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Savannah will have to take enzymes with her food for the rest of her life. Her rock eating spate thankfully stopped after the enzymes started.

I don’t know why the Prez’s beagles ate rocks. But I do know that I was stupid and judgmental, a habit just as ugly, dangerous and damaging as eating rocks. “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” James 4:12 warns . I hadn’t read it when I was a kid – and sadly – I tend to forget it now as an adult. But having a rock-eating dog has humbled, taught, and reminded me. God has a right to judge. I don’t.


My Running Coach is a Dog

DSCF5476      With Alan in the ministry, we’re a low budget family. Kindhearted folks in our church realized that when poor Little Red got smashed by a Glasgow Taxi and couldn’t be repaired. In an amazing, touching, and heartwarming gesture, they gave us a car. It has half the mileage that Little Red had and it’s simply awesome in every way. We are truly blessed. We call Red’s replacement “The Jesus Car,” because Jesus provided it.

Low budget or not, exercise is vital for good health. So I insist on keeping my running coach. She’s simply awesome and amazing. She doesn’t work for peanuts, but she can be bribed with treats. My running coach is our dog.

I didn’t want to run today. It was one of those rare Scottish days of sunshine and warmer than usual temperatures. Our garden had a surplus of dandelions. I love the cheerful yellow flowers that God plants everywhere. Our neighbors don’t. To keep peace, the dandelions must go. After a day of crawling around on my hands and knees pulling up the nearly impossible to uproot “weeds,” I didn’t want to go running. I’d had enough exercise.

Along came my running coach. “Woof, WOOF,” right into my face. Loosely translated, that meant: “get off your computer and go running. You need the exercise. I’ll supervise.” So we ran. As we ran, I began to feel guilty.

This is the weekend that the United States celebrates Memorial Day. Son Luke Parker is in the U.S. Marine Corps and has given up more than anyone other than God will ever know to serve his country. He and others like him have joined the military and fought for the freedom that allows me to sit at this computer and write. My freedom has been purchased with their blood, tears, heartbreaks, lives. With all the sacrifices they make on a daily basis, how could I possibly think I was “too tired” or had “worked too hard” to run? My sacrifice compares to theirs like dandelion fluff to an oak tree.

Thank you, U.S. Troops. God Bless and Keep You. May your sacrifice be rewarded with the attainment of every dream you cherish and every goal you set. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. May Jesus be your constant Guide, Protector, Healer.

And if any of you need a good running coach, I can recommend one. She’s relentless – and affordable. If you don’t mind four paws and long strands of dog hair sticking to the carpet, she’s perfect!