Guidelines: Dogs and Polecats

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With the outside temperatures creeping up just slightly, and the daylight hours growing a little bit longer each day; the trails in the snow around our little farm have been converted to little boot prints in the mud.  The kids in our herd love to be outside, and I think it comes to them by divine heritage.  When they are in the house, they are like caged badgers.  The moments are few that pass by without a nerf dart whizzing through the air, a superhero careening off the couch, or a tennis ball clambering down the stairs.

With weather permitting, our boys spend copious time outside.  They love to journey out to “the fort” where they can slay pirates, hunt wild beasts, and perform secret spy missions!  I appreciate our faithful dog who tags along as their sidekick, mascot, and draft horse for the wagon.

I joke around about our dog being better at catching mice out of the haystack than the cat is, and I scurry him off the back porch more than I should have to, but I am grateful to have him.  He has warned my kids of snakes, alerted us of danger, kept angry cows in check, helped me hunt birds and rabbits, and has been a faithful protector and friend to my little ones.

Not long ago, my family and I went on a walk, and our dog had trickled along beside us.  As we came to a particular corner of the trail, out in front of us, our dog stopped at the edge of the path and held very still.  As we approached, he would run a circle around us and bark, go back the same place at the edge of the trail and hold perfectly still.  As we got closer he continued to do this, and it was obvious that something was making him pretty nervous, so we stopped.  As we looked very closely through the bushes where we were about to walk, there sat a large skunk.  I am sure that it would have had no trouble serving a dose or two of an aromatic pungency!   Needless to say, we quietly but abruptly altered course and went around the potentially odoriferous landmine.

It just goes to show that as we go tromping down the paths of life, we may find ourselves in some unexpected situations.  Sometimes the warning signs are obvious, and other times they are more subtle.  Upon occasion the warning may come from the least likely of sources, and sometimes we must change course to avoid a bad result.  But if we keep a watchful eye on where we are going, and look for the signs, we can come out of life’s many situations smelling just fine.

Have a great week, and remember; when it comes to skunks in the grass, keep your nose to the wind and your dog ahead of you on the trail!  Life is good!

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