Two things that I’ve read about white German shepherds is that they are smart and they are peaceful. The only one I ever knew was Thor, and he was neither smart nor peaceful. In fact, he was just the opposite. He was stubborn, stupid and mean.
Growing up in the country, I was exposed to quite a few different breeds of dogs. My friends across the street had a cute little red cocker spaniel. After visiting the cute little redhead, dad decided he was going to become rich by breeding and selling puppies. He chose miniature Schnauzer which is a breed of cute little indoor dog similar to my friend’s cocker spaniel.
For some reason that I didn’t understand yet, liter after liter of dad’s puppies tuned out to be mutts that looked more like the neighbor’s long haired Siberian Husky than a Schnauzer. Both the neighbor’s husky and our mutts had the prettiest blue eyes you ever saw on a dog. One thing I learned from dad’s puppy mill was that purebred dogs with papers can be worth hundreds of dollars, while mixed-breed mutts are only worth whatever love and affection a kid can get out of them.
I also learned that most country folks prefer larger dogs such as the Irish Setters who marched into church one day right in the middle of our vacation bible school. Country people also like big dogs like the Dobermans at the local junkyard or my friend’s German Shepherd which could take a baseball size chunk out of an intruder’s fleshy hind parts. My first hint that Shepherds are not as smart as many people think is when my friend’s Shepherd confused my hind parts to that of an intruder. After that experience, I didn’t care much for dogs.
It wasn’t until the roommate merger after my first year at DeVry that I would once again have a dog around the house. Phil Hughes and I lived the first year in housing that the school recruiter had arranged. To get to Greenbriar apartments from DeVry, you had to drive through Bexley. Bexley is one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Columbus. There are huge stone-faced houses with a beautifully manicured landscape. The mayor of Columbus at the time lived in a huge mansion in the middle of Bexley. It was a beautiful suburb and right next door to where we would be living.
Little did we know that Greenbriar Apartment complex was the center of the drug trafficking trade of Columbus. Phil and I rarely ventured out of the house except to go to school for fear of being murdered. Hardly a day went by when there were not several police cruisers or fire trucks in the complex. We never hinted to our mothers that we lived in such a dangerous place. Anytime they came to visit, we drove through the heart of Bexley and then locked them in the apartment hoping they wouldn’t notice the gangs of murderers and drug dealers in our back parking lot.
The day that our one year lease expired, we both moved in with my buddy Brian Myers and his roommates. Steve Shreves had just moved home to Virginia to get married and fulfill his lifelong dream of raising enough kids to start a football team. That left only Brian, Buzz and Paul E Bratz Jr. in the house at Rotunda Court. With Phil and I, it was a little cramped, but splitting rent 5 ways, and getting out of the war zone at Greenbriar was good.
Soon after the merger, Paul decided that we should have a pet. Paul was a city boy from the state of Deleware and wasn’t quite as experienced in the knowledge of dog breeds as I was. Instead of a cute little indoor breed such as a Schnauzer or cocker spaniel, he chose a Shepherd. Given my previous experience with Shepherds, I was not too keen on the idea of having a large dog living in an already crowded townhouse. Even though he was a cute little white fur ball when Paul brought him home from the pet store, I knew that he would grow up fast.
In the country, dogs have wide open outdoors to run and play. Thor was destined to be a city dog, but he wanted to run like a country dog. From the first day Paul brought him home, he turned our house into his own personal race track. Starting at the top of the basement stairs, he sped down the front stretch into the dining room. Quickly he flew around turn one under the dining room table, then turn two into the kitchen. He ran down the backstretch into turn three through the living room. In the living room, he would run under the coffee table, out the other side into turn four and back to the front stretch. He would run laps around this circuit every day. Day in, day out. Week in, week out. Thor continued running laps as he began to grow older and taller.
I’ll never forget the day he grew a little too much to fit under the coffee table. That morning, he ran the course the same as every other day until he came out of turn three. He sped to the coffee table tunnel the same as every other day. Today, his head went smack into the side of the table. Seeing as how white shepherds are supposed to be a smart breed of dog, you would think that a headache would teach Thor to go around the table, but this wasn’t the case. Every day on the racecourse brought the same results, the same headache, the same THUMP into the coffee table. Another day, another headache. Day after day, headache after a headache he continued. Despite the pain of the coffee table, he continued willfully thumping his head because of his stubborn habit.
We may think that we’re smarter than dogs, but don’t we sometimes do the same stubborn things over and over even though we know better? Hebrews 10:26 tells us that if we continue willfully sinning, that there will be no sacrifice to cover that sin. How does a child learn what is right from what is wrong? Good parents will allow a little pain to discourage bad behavior, and offer some positive feedback to reward proper behavior. THOR ignored the pain over and over and continued the actions that brought more pain. God sometimes will use the painful situations in our lives to change our behavior. When God reveals the truth, we need to turn from our sin and walk in the light. Ignoring the prompting of the Spirit will only lead to continued pain and separation from God.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,