Keep Your Eyes on the Master

Keeping his eye on his master’s face

  One fun thing about being out and about is observing  the “slices of life” that happen all around. We wandered along an Oregon beach a few weeks ago, watching the waves roll onto the shore and also watching other people enjoy the sand, the breeze, and the water. Suddenly a long-legged Black Lab galumphed past us, frolicking like a pup but looking back over his shoulder all the time, keeping his eye on the young man with a camera who trotted along behind him. The young man called to the dog, telling him to sit. He posed the dog looking out to sea, then moved away a few feet and squatted to snap the picture. The obedient dog  stayed sitting, but he squirmed in place until he faced his master. I snapped a picture of photographer and subject, and the young man laughed. “I take more pictures of him than anything else,” he said. “And in every one, he’s looking at me.”

    I thought of Sharon, the Irish Setter who was a loving part of our family for fourteen years. We got her when she was a pup and we thought she’d never grow up. Irish Setters are known as the clowns of Dogdom and Sharon was no exception. She was a beauty, and she loved to run. She had the setter characteristic of following her nose, literally. Muzzle to the ground, she’d zigzag across any open space and through the Alaskan woods, in hot pursuit of the scents she’d discovered.

   When we moved to Anchorage, we lived in a house that backed up to a huge storage yard full of lined-up road equipment. Since it was fenced all around the perimeter, we’d let her off leash to run to her heart’s delight. She’d race off to the far end of the yard, then turn to be sure we were still there. When she decided to run around the end of the row, my daughter and I stepped back between two big machines and waited to see what would happen. Moments later we heard her pounding toward us and peeked around the tires. Sharon skidded to a stop at the spot she’d last seen us, stood up on her hind legs and frantically looked around for us. When she spotted us, she dropped to all fours and trotted away as nonchalantly as possible under the circumstances. But after that, she made sure to keep us in view.

    We, too, have a Master who knows how prone we are to trouble if we don’t keep our eyes on him. His words to us:
     When you said, “Seek my face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:8 (NSB)
    Psalm 25:15 My eyes are continually toward the Lord, For he will pluck my feet out of the net.   

Sharon the Irish Setter guarding the back yard

Keeping watch for their master

A Gift from Cosmo

Lenora and Steve couldn’t have loved a human child any more than they loved Cosmo, their big, sweet-tempered Border Collie mix.

Dog-loving people have a built-in bond with other dog people. Over the years, Lenora had made many friends as she and Cosmo went for their daily jogs in Seattle’s green parks. One of those friends, Steve, fell in love with Cosmo and then with her. Shortly after she and Steve married, Steve’s job took him away from her beloved city, back to his home town of Tucson, Arizona. Lenora stayed to sell their house. Then she and Cosmo set out on the long drive to their new desert home.

Cosmo made the adjustment easier for her and helped his people get acquainted with their new neighbors just by being his own friendly self as they walked around their new surroundings. Eventually, arthritis slowed Cosmo’s gait. Still, they walked every day.

Lenora and Gretel One hot morning, Cosmo pulled them toward the shade of some nearby eucalyptus trees. They heard what sounded like the cries of a baby bird. Cosmo looked up and woofed. Clinging to an angled trunk above their heads was a tiny kitten with outsized ears and feet. She was barely old enough to be away from her mother. How had she managed to climb that tree?

Gently they pried the terrified kitten off her perch. Hungry and dehydrated, she trembled in Lenora’s arms. An extra toe on each white front paw made her look as if she wore mittens.

None of the neighbors claimed the kitten, so Lenora and Steve took her home and fed her, then took her to the vet for a checkup. Before the day was over, Gretel had helped herself to Cosmo’s food dish and played “ride ‘em cowboy” on his tail.

Cosmo and Gretel Then, ignoring his disconcerted expression, she curled up against his fluffy chest and purred herself to sleep. The aging dog had a new friend, and Gretel had a new family.

When Cosmo succumbed to a sudden illness, Lenora and Steve were heartbroken. But Gretel, with her winsome, playful ways, did her best to distract them from their grief.

Sometimes I wonder. Did Cosmo give Steve and Lenora a gift by drawing them to the right tree at the right time? Or did God use Cosmo as an agent to bestow the gift from His own divine hand?