A Mighty Fortress is our Dog…

I lean near the window staring at my beloved beasties as they stand watch ever faithfully at the end of our driveway.  One on each side of the drive staring out into who knows what, prepared to investigate any who dare come near.  This is their home, we are their people and the job of protection is one each takes very seriously.  To see them sitting there invokes images of the Chinese lion dog statues found in many Buddhist temples.  Often I’ve considered getting a pair to denote the entrance to our home but found them cost prohibitive.  Besides who needs the ceramic version when we have the real thing.  Only cost is dog food some occasional rawhide chews and snacks from my dinner plate when my wife isn’t looking.

We have Chow Chows.  Most people are familiar with the breed from a distance but few know of the massive heart found in this pet.  To say these dogs are loyal is like saying there’s some water in the ocean or a limited amount of sand can be found at the beach.  The depth of loyalty in this breed can only be experienced not described.

Many know of the purple tongue and furry coat and the perpetual snarl that seems to frame this dog’s face.  Chows are tricky.  They have no interest in befriending anyone other than its owner, as a matter of fact; they would be quite at peace having no outsiders ever come to visit.  They live calmly in a very Zen-like state where seldom are they in a hurry to do anything and seem to meditate for extended periods of time without moving even the slightest bit.

What kind of instinct lives in the bold heart of such a dog?  What makes him want to care and protect me so much even to his own harm?  Stories are written of Chows who have attacked and chased off bears and wolves so as to keep their owners safe.  Their bravery is unmatched as is their devotion to family, their own people family.

We stopped worrying about locking the doors to the house.  It’s just stuff anyway and if somebody wants it so badly they chance coming into this fortified home, it’s there’s for the keeping.  No questions asked.  But I strongly recommend not coming in uninvited.  These dogs take protection very seriously.

When they are on duty very little can distract them from their appointed responsibility.  If observed one will see the ears slowly maneuver around if a sound seems out of the ordinary.  If the sound seems to approach them then the head will adjust sideways and around until they get just the right angle to hear this intrusive sound.  If the foreign sound continues then a posture is taken that resembles a border guard awaiting an upcoming vehicle, fully attentive, ready to determine the value of this sound getting closer to the dogs master.

Then, if a visual sighting occurs, a slow approach to the person or vehicle to discourage coming any closer.  I’ve seen my dog stand between the car and the driveway disallowing entrance until I’ve told my protectors its ok for the intruder to pass.

When no one is around and I give my Chows my undivided attention, then people can understand why the breed is so cherished.  Wrestling, chasing, running, tackling, and all around buffoonery come to life.  This is the side visitors will seldomsee as a Chow never shows this to anyone except those he loves and trusts.  To look deep into the eyes of such a marvelous creature is to see peacefulness.  Animals can teach us much about life and about God.  Somehow many have lost the ability to learn except on Sunday’s and that’s a shame.  God speaks to me often through this beast, maybe not verbally, but certainly through my spirit.  I see what God wants from me and my person by interacting with my dog.  He wants me to be very much like him; to be at peace with my world and those around me.  To be able to sit still and consider all that surrounds me and know I belong to this place.  To see, understand and appreciate the connectivity of life.

I feel safe knowing my dogs are on their watch.  Knowing nothing is going to happen while they are protecting us.  It’s thoughts like these that take me back to a loving creator who says these same words about him.  You’ll be OK under my care, no need to live in fear.  Feel free to live openly and lovingly, I got this.

I’m not sure one way or another about the afterlife for dogs.  But just in case, I’m building an altar in my heart for these two.  Maybe they can come along for the ride.