Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Great (07/06/06)
TITLE: Whose Right Will You Choose?
By Melanie Smith-Taylor
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“You know you must do the right thing. You must put her down before she hurts someone.”
“I’m sorry but we can’t accept anyone like that here. Your best bet would be to put her to sleep.”
“An animal like that will never be adoptable. Here’s the name of one of the best behaviorists in the country. Get his advice and follow it.”
Hope waning, I called this man and he told me to kill her. Everywhere I turned death was the pronounced fate of my frustratingly beloved pet. How could this be?
Cheyenne entered my life on Labor Day in 2004. She was to help me over some rough spots and be my faithful companion. I had purchased this bright eyed, flame colored bundle of joy sight unseen and eagerly prepared for her arrival.
Within hours of her flight, Cheyenne had stolen my heart. Within months I was at my wits end trying to train up this rapidly growing, severely separation anxious puppy with a strong prey drive. Instead of helping me heal mentally and physically, I had become a prisoner in my home bound with fear of what I would find upon my return. Would the crate bear the stains of one demanding to be free? If left confined to one room, would the tiles have been ripped up and chewed again and would the molding be gnawed? Had she eaten her puppy pads again? The place would look like a miniature tornado had blown through. I might as well live in Kansas I cried to the Lord.
Being on the verge of insanity and finding no help amongst the experts, I finally clued in to trying the One who created this puppy. I figured that if He knew every hair on my head, then God must know about the hairs on Chey’s body. Why DID He choose to send me an animal like me? I thought that Mastiffs were supposed to be peaceful.
On the day that Cheyenne was scheduled to die a few months past her first year of life, not knowing how I could possibly make a difference, I decided that she would live. I partnered with The Almighty and have discovered the depths of the knowledge of God. Intellectually I knew that great was His faithfulness; because of my working with Him to train up a creature sentenced to death, I know for myself that God resurrects those who are willing to take up their beds and walk.
No longer is Cheyenne untrustworthy in being home alone. In fact, she is alpha dog to several other pack members and they are learning well from her the rules of the house. I am learning to rely on God when situations seem hopeless and to patiently await His timing instead of demanding that He adhere to my schedule.
Cheyenne desires to rescue animals in cages, no matter what kind they are. I see that to her, a crate is a prison and not all training advice works well with every dog the same way methods of teaching must be altered to reach some children. I must be moldable to train my animals the same way God works with each of us differently as we require.
Through training Cheyenne, God has shown me that I am still useful although I no longer teach. He placed in me the skills and talents to train animals, especially those who others sentence to death.
Last November, God brought another one, much like Chey, to me from an animal shelter. Gabriel is a bully breed and after the adoption was complete, I was told, “We are glad that you came. His time was up and he was scheduled to die tomorrow.” Gabriel has been much more challenging than Cheyenne because he is a senior dog and a prior fighter who is set in his ways. While his hardheadedness has been maddening, and I have wanted to put Gabe down, God has reminded me that His mercies are new every morning to all of His creatures and that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Just last week, when I was at my wits end, Gabriel turned the corner and his obedience suddenly greatly improved. Now, he too is a joy to be around. I have learned that great is God’s faithfulness to those who trust and obey.
Writers Note: Mastiffs are peaceful. Cheyenne is a Mastiff Mix.
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