View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Alpha Dog

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”.  Rev. 22:13

Dateline Fallbrook, Calif.:(Feb. 2004)  As I write this we are still ministering to Jeri’s parents.  The last month has been a roller coaster of ups and downs.  We were able to get both of them home for all of 5 days before Jeri’s dad fell and ended up back in the hospital.   No broken bones but pneumonia was discovered.  Yesterday he was transferred back to the Skilled Nursing Facility where he was a month ago.  He is actually weaker now than before, so we have lost ground. 

But through all of this a positive thing has come out.  Jeri has promised never to complain about me being a picky eater.  Her parents have taken over that title.

While Jeri has been staying with her mother, Quincy, our Doberman, and I have been spending a lot of time together.  He thinks he is human and expects all the rights that go along with that distinction.  It has been a 7-year battle between us in determining who the Alpha male is in this family.  I am winning, but it hasn’t been easy. 

We started making gains when Jeri found this book about why dogs do the things they do.  It explained that there are reasons why dogs bark, always want to be in the front, first out the door, etc., etc..   Most of what he was doing was establishing his position as the Alpha male.  Our challenge then was to change that. 

First thing we did was to start feeding him after we finished our meal.  In the wild Alpha males are the first to eat, then the rest of the pack, according to the pecking order.  Therefore, we started feeding him twice a day, after breakfast and dinner rather than just put food out when ever his bowl was empty.

The second challenge was to make him stay back when we went through a door and then let him follow.  We’re still working on that one. 

The most frustrating challenge has been when he is on the leash and we want him to “heel”.   He insists on being in the lead and pulls on the leash like a Clydesdale.  I have worked with him to the point of shortening the leash, stepping on his feet, turning into him, jerking him around, all to no avail.  He is determined to be the point guard, no matter how painful it is.

Over time, Quincy has become fairly obedient.  When we go on our morning walks on the golf course, he is kept on the leash until we reach the golf course and then he is free to run.  He has earned that privilege over time as he has become more reliable in responding to my whistle or call.  He runs out about 75 yards in front, checking everything out, runs back to check on me, checks behind to make sure nothing has sneaked up behind me, and then runs out in front again to start the routine over again.  I walk two or three miles, he runs five or six.

His one weakness is cats: He hates cats, loves to chase them and totally ignores me when I try to call him off of a chase.   Therefore, when I do get him back in control, he is returned to the leash for the remainder of our walk, much to his chagrin.

Overall, I think he understands who the head of this household is (it is not Quincy) but I also believe that he tolerates the situation only because I control the food and take him for long walks on the golf course, which he dearly loves. 

It is interesting how Quincy’s and my relationship parallels a Christian’s relationship with God.  I look back at my younger days and much of what I was doing with God was trying to establish myself as the Alpha male.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I was reluctant to give up control of my life to God.  I was praying for guidance but was really asking God to pave the way that I wanted.  Once I was able to give complete control to Him, asking only that God would direct my life in the direction that would be best for me and within his will, then I finally found peace. 

Who better to guide and direct my life than the one who created me and knows intimately what my gifts, talents and abilities are.  What on earth ever processed me to think that I knew what career I would be suited for?  God is not there to assist us in accomplishing our every wish and desire; we are here to worship Him and accomplish His agenda. 

God is the Alpha and the Omega.  It starts and ends with Him.  The sooner we learn to accept that fact, the sooner God will be able to use us in accomplishing His will.  The key to all of this is obedience.  As we become more obedient and trustworthy, our desires will more closely be aligned with God’s will.  And then peace will follow.      

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