Perhaps you have not met Charlie, he is our newest four legged companion. Charlie is a 9mo Portuguese Water Dog. He is 40 pounds of floppy, furry, fun. He is also the recipient of the well-deserved nickname, “Charlie Chaos”. To say he needs constant activity is an understatement, which is why we found ourselves on a wooded trail the other day.
We ventured to a local jogging/walking trail. It is well kept and a popular place for avid runners and novice hikers. The day could not have been any prettier. The leaves on the trees had begun to turn and several were losing their battle to hold onto their branches. Each small gust of wind sent multicolor leaves floating to the forest floor like huge snowflakes. Of course, this particular beautiful sight would prove to be a bit of a distraction for Charlie Chaos. Charlie is still in training when it comes to jogging on leash, so am I.
There are a few things to consider when jogging with your dog:
#1 You actually have to run…not just plod along as I usually do. We had to work hard to find a good pace, fast enough for him/slow enough I did not have a coronary or trip over a tree root.
#2 Your dog’s ability to focus is important. Charlie’s puppy level of attentiveness was a bit of a challenge. Any forward momentum would be easily halted or redirected each time Charlie saw a falling leaf, squirrel or bird. (which was OFTEN)
Over all, I’d say our adventure was a success. I define success by the fact that we both made it back to the car at the same time and no knees were scraped or squirrels harmed.
There were a few moments when we were jogging like pros…Charlie was scurrying a little ahead of me but with the leash still slightly loose. It was during those times that I noticed something. Charlie kept looking back over his shoulder for me. He was excitedly running and eager to see what was around each bend, but he wanted to be certain I was with him still. He did this throughout our entire jog. Never going too long without checking on me. I kind of laughed to myself as I wondered what he would do if he looked back and I was gone.
What if he looked back and I was on the ground, having fallen and hurt myself? I have NO DOUBT what would NOT happen. My goofy puppy would NOT run like Lassie to get help. There would be no use in telling him, “go get help boy” especially if there were a squirrel sighting at that moment. He is no Lassie! But that is okay.
His quick caring glances encouraged my effort to keep up. I was reminded I was not alone on the path. I liked that he wanted to know I was there, it made me feel good. I did not need him to do anything other than that. All I needed was for him to run and keep an eye on me, to care if I was there. It was enough. More than enough.
I have been thinking lately that sometimes our walk in life is like that…sometimes all we need is someone to look back for us. We do not always need someone to fix things or even say the right thing at the right time. Sometimes all someone needs us to do is to let them know we see them and we care.
I have been having a tough few months spiritually. Not an uncommon struggle, just losing my way sometimes and giving in to debilitating lies, self-doubt and discouragement. It is a personal struggle and difficult to share. It is also something no one else can fix for me. There is no “Lassie” prancing though fields to find my rescuer. There is no need. I know who my Rescuer is and He knows where I am. What I did need was to know someone was looking back for me.
It came in the form of a text. A simple text, like Charlie’s backward glance, letting me know I was on a dear friend’s heart. That was what I needed. Just a reminder I was not alone on the path, encouragement to keep up, and mindful of sweet companionship. She was no Lassie, but that is okay. She looked for me, she cared, and that day, that was enough, more than enough.