It's a Dog's Life

August 01, 2004 | Fresh Start | Karl Haffner

Everyone in the family adored the lovable ball of slobber and fur that my cousin, Rick, adopted. “And his name shall be Shazzer,” Rick pronounced, “for this dog will grow strong and mighty.”

It didn’t take long for the prophecy to be fulfilled. In a matter of weeks, the animal was as big as a Volkswagon. Only he was much dumber.

“What kind of dog is he?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” Rick replied, “but I think he’s part St. Bernard, part German shepherd, part great Dane, and part Hugh Hefner as well.”

“Hefner?” That was a new one on me.

“That’s because he’s got a serious impulse control disorder. He can’t keep his paws to himself. No matter how homely a dog in the neighborhood, Shazzer is obsessed with pursuing the relationship. The neighbors are ticked because my dog insists that he should be the father of all nations. I should have named him Abraham.”

To curb Shazzer’s insatiable appetite for female pooches, Rick installed an invisible fence. By burying wires around the perimeter of the property and attaching an electronic collar to the dog, Shazzer got shocked if he attempted to leave the yard. Now mind you, Shazzer still enjoyed five acres of freedom within the boundaries, but even that was too restrictive for him.

Whenever Shazzer noticed a girl dog sauntering down the street, his thighs quivered. Only now, he had to weigh the benefits against the costs. He knew the benefits of relational conquest all too well—but there was pain involved in crossing the fence.

I’d love to pursue that relationship, the mutt was clearly thinking, but there’s a cost to crossing that fence. Maybe if I get a good running start I can blast through that shock zone and then I’ll nab the girl of my dreams. But is it really worth it? Cocking his head at an angle almost parallel to the ground, Shazzer concluded,Yeah, it’s worth it.

So Shazzer built up steam, galloping at Mach 10 toward the fence.

At impact, the shock knocked him unconscious (because Rick had revved up the juice to the highest power). But the momentum carried him beyond the border.

After resurrecting from the coma, Shazzer shook himself off and chased down the girl dog.

But the relationship didn’t last.

None of Shazzer’s relationships lasted. He always returned home because there was no better place than his doghouse and no better master than Rick. But soon he’d forget and go through the whole electrifying ordeal the next time some old poodle pranced by. Not once was the fling worth it, but Shazzer never learned.

Only a dog, right?

Not so fast, cowboy. God designed each of us to live within certain boundaries. Blow by His fences—whether it’s in the area of sex, drugs, drinking, honesty, etc.—and you will experience consequences that leave you disappointed and disillusioned. The Psalmist writes, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7, NLT).

That’s why God gives you rules. He loves you too much to make you grope through life in darkness. So He provides guidelines in His Word that illuminate the pathway to joy and life. Follow His counsel, and you can avert disillusionment and enjoy security, refuge and peace. Isn’t God great?

What else would you expect from man’s best Friend?