My dog is unique. He's smart, soft, friendly, and the perfect size. He's the best damn dog in the world, and I'm not quite sure how I got to be his lucky owner. That is, I know the mechanics (it was a package deal when I got married), but you know what I mean.
My dog is great with kids. He's tender and gentle all the time, and toddlers seem to have a special affinity for him. I think he has helped rehabilitate a lot of kids who were previously scared of dogs! When it comes to other animals though, he's a complete wuss. I've seen him startled by rabbits before and high tail it away before they can capture him in their evil clutches. Let's just say some of his instincts are a little mixed up. Anyway, this is all to say that his personality is sensitive and guileless. And every once in a while it reminds me of myself.
The relationship between me and my dog is a metaphor for my relationship with God. And now that I'm sans family for a while, I can't help but think I'm just like my dog off leash. He loves the opportunity to let loose. He'll sprint until he can't sprint any more. If I call him, he will come. Most of the time. But if he really wants to explore and he's feeling a bit oppressed, he'll take his time coming when he's called. If he's out of sight, he might not come at all. And when he's off leash and having a hey day, he might even roll in something smelly. I often wonder if there isn't a better way to help him understand that I call him to come when he is in danger. He doesn't realize how easily he could be hit by a car around here. He just thinks "come" means an end to his fun. An end to his freedom.
When he finally does come and he's covered in duck crap, I can be pretty pissed off. But I can't scold him because he did come after all. It would be a mixed message. I bathe him and help him get cleaned up again. And then when he's dry we'll snuggle in a frenzy of reciprocal affection. And I just try to remember to reinforce his obedience by rewarding him when he does come and letting him know that I love him regardless.