You Can’t Pee On Every Tree (and other lessons I learn from my dog)

“You wanna go for a squirrel chase?” and every fiber of his seven pounds vibrates. Little brown eyes widen, the pink tongue licks his nose as he barks, “Yes! YES! I do!”

photo credit: Abby Harris

The Situation

Every little canine fluff of joy enjoys naps, walks, and treats for tricks. They delight in scratches on their bellies, under their chins, and behind their ears. But #SCOUTTHEWONDERDOG loves to hunt squirrels above almost anything else in this world.

As we walk the mile to our Madison Park hunting grounds where squirrels abound in the trees, I keep having to pull Scout back onto the path. Even though he knows that “park squirrels” are our goal, he often gets sidetracked. Hmmm.

He reminds me of me.

As I walk, he teaches me some lessons I can apply to my own life.

The Lessons

  1. You can’t pee on every tree.  First off, there are a lot of trees out there. And posts. And random places you’d like to mark as yours. But honestly, you just don’t have that much urine. There’s only so much inside each of us. Make your mark where it counts.
  2. Stay on the path. If you’re going to hit your goal, you can’t wander aimlessly. You might run through the muddy creek or get caught in the brambles and where does that leave you? MESSY. Having your master pick thorns and seeds out of your fur is painful. You’ll need a good brushing and a bath to get yourself back in order! It’s just easier to keep to the sidewalk until you get to your destination.
  3. You need a leash and a good handler.  It helps to have a handler with a higher vantage point to see the big picture. Whether you’ve got your nose to the ground sniffing out every dog that’s gone before you or you’re just caught up in smelling the roses, having a mentor/boss can alert you to things coming your way, both good and bad. If you get into the street, that’s dangerous; they can pull you out when you get too close to the cars.
  4. When you poop, you gotta clean it up. No one wants to step into your mess in their yard or on the sidewalk and then track it all over the place. The solution involves your handler with a plastic baggie… seriously. (I think to myself, What messes have I gotten myself into? What have I been powerless to fix for myself?)
  5. Size up challenges. What do you do when something bigger and more aggressive comes at you from outta nowhere? You can either stand your ground, attack, or jump into the arms of your handler. (At the moment, Scout decides that standing his ground and barking ferociously at the giant black lab across the street is the right move.) However, it is important to judge the challenge correctly. Is the challenge wagging his tail to play or are her hackles up, ready to make you a chew toy? The lesson here for me is this: By how you respond, you might end up making a friend, creating an enemy, or becoming a snack.
  6. If you get there, running free and chasing squirrels is what brings you the greatest delight. God created you for this! You feel freedom as the wind whistles through your furry ears and the smell of squirrel dazzles your olfactory senses. You’ve reached the squirrel park and it’s even better than you remembered it from yesterday. Haha! Where’s the next… SQUIRREL!
  7. Do you ever wonder just what you would do if you actually CAUGHT the squirrel? Naw. You’d own it, you’d kill it, and and the sweet taste of success would be yours.

For more stories like this:

What DOG Teaches Me About GOD, Lessons, How To Fulfill Your Calling, ODE TO GRETA: The Orneriest Chicken, and How To Be Who God Created You To Be.