20 August 2008

A Tale of Two Bones (and "sinner dogs")

So on vacation I had to buy some more dog food for the beloved Porthos and Gimli. While carrying the small bag of Purina One lamb and rice formula for adult dogs to the check out line, I decided to get a couple of rawhide bones to keep the dogs busy at some point.

Since I view vacation as time to put my brain in neutral as much as possible, I thus neglected to pull the rawhide bones out of the "dog box" (the box in which we kept the dog food, leashes, toys, etc. during travel) while still enjoying "vacationland." But I did remember to give them the bones over the weekend, after we had returned home. I guess my brain is coming out of neutral and, at least, getting into first gear!

Somehow Porthos and Gimli know that the sound of unwrapping the bones is for them, or perhaps they even smell the rawhide through the shrink wrap. As I revealed the delectable treats for them, they did their usual dancing, jumping, and salivating, eagerly trying to get to the bones. As usual, I had them sit on their carpet just outside the kitchen. I placed the bones in the normal spots where each of them receives their food - Porthos on the left and Gimli on the right (no, there's no indication of political leanings there, I assure you :-). After the "come and get it" signal - my hand whisking toward the food spots - they each ran to claim their prize.

What ensued next shows just how far original sin has tainted God's good creation, even for beloved Beagle pets. Each dog had his rawhide bone in his mouth. Each one raced around looking for a secure place to savor and chew, and certainly not too close to the other for fear that the other might come and, well, you know, take what belongs to him (potential 7th Commandment infraction here, folks).

We chuckled at the racing and the jockeying for turf. Then we noticed something else. Very soon the two dogs were down to *one* bone! And there hadn't been enough time for either one to have rapaciously chewed his bone to the last nub. We in the RAsburry clan commented on how Porthos, as his habit, must have quickly and surreptitiously hidden his rawhide only to return and pester Gimli for his (certainly a 9th Commandment infraction now).

Then the real battle ensued. Porthos would try to go for Gimli's bone. Gimli would growl and turn away, often taunting Porthos as if to say, "Just try to snatch it from my steel trap like jaws, bro!" Then the racing turned to chasing, the chewing turned to ducking, running, and evading - all with wagging tails indicating that they both loved this form of canine tug of war.

I went searching for Porthos' bone, but, alas, I couldn't find it in his usual hiding spots. Later that evening, as I went to get ready for bed, I discovered where Porthos had hidden his rawhide reward for being, well, just a beloved pet (despite also being a rascal). It was under my pillow! And no, it hadn't left a slobbery mess. In fact, it had hardly been touched - it was (pun intended) dry as a bone.

The next morning I again gave both bones to the dogs. The competing and jostling resumed and continued for another day or two. Finally, Porthos settled down and simply chewed up his own rawhide. Gimli, however, has yet to dig into his. That rawhide has now become (pardon another intended pun) *the* bone of contention. Porthos wants it too! But so much for sharing among dogs. :-) The jostling and growling, chasing and hiding, the taunting and the sitting watch over the single bone continue, even this evening (see picture).

Not only do my beloved Beagles provide some humorous entertainment in their growling and taunting each other, but they also remind me of the extent of sin's stain and infection on God's good creation, the stain and infection that we humans, the crown of God's creation, have wrought on the world. Even Beagles love to be selfish! Yikes! I see so much of myself in my dogs (okay, no slams about appearances or halitosis, now! ;-). And while I'm sure I won't see any hint of Porthos and Gimli in commentaries on Romans 8:20-24, this tale of two bones and my "sinner dogs" certainly reminds me of creation's subjection to futility and longing for eternity's freedom from sin.

"For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Romans 8:20-24)


Liz said...

Well, I think your dogs are highly intelligent, (especially the one doing the hiding, naturally). I love beagles. And a friend, knowing this love, recently gave me a great book, written from a beagle's point of view! Give it a look: Dog Park Diary.

Orianna Laun said...

Apparently you and Veith have the same idea. Check out his blog today regarding doggie morality.

Randy Asburry said...


Looks like a great book. I'll definitely put in on my Christmas "wish list"!


Thanks for the tip on Dr. Veith's blog. Since he asked for "dog stories," I hope he doesn't mind me suggesting that his readers visit my blog for my "learn-theology-from-my-dogs" story! :-)