Thistle off-leash!

Tomorrow is Thistle’s second birthday. Not long after we adopted her I remember thinking that we should be able to hike with her off-leash by the time she was two.  We’d enjoyed off-leash time with our three senior dogs in the woods and I wanted to do that again. So last weekend we gave it a whirl.
I was VERY nervous. I mean, here’s my distractable dog who isn’t fast compared to greyhounds and whippets at the dog park, but who can outrun me in about two seconds. What if she chased a rabbit and got lost? What if she refused to come? What if we ran into a mean dog or wild animal? What if, what if, what if.
But that still, small voice said it was okay. (Oh, for a big, booming voice!) So off we went. With a pocket full of training treats and a prayer in my heart, I unsnapped the leash. And she did wander and she did disappear after some critter once, but it never took long for her to respond to my call of, “Thistle! Treat!”
Back in the car at the end of the hike I turned to my husband, smiled and proclaimed the outing a success. He said he wasn’t sure “success” was the word he would use.
“Hey, we have a dog in the car with us,” I said.
And isn’t that how we are with God? Except He always allows us to run off-leash. If we’re smart, we never get out of his sight and circle back to Him for treats like prayer, scripture and worship. If we do head off down a rabbit trail and get into trouble, He always waits for our return.
And when the day is done, and we head home scratched, bruised and covered with dirt, all that really matters is that we’re with Him. That, I think, is success.