About six months ago, you may recall if you’re a faithful BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever) – and a HUGE thanks if you are – wee Yaz came to live with us.
He was a mystery mutt, with no history of his previous two years on this earth to accompany him into our family. All we knew about him was that he had apparently been living from paw to muzzle on the streets for a long time before someone trapped him and turned him in to animal rescue.
He was afraid of everything and everybody.
When Yaz first arrived at the Coty home, he kept his tail tucked between his legs 24/7, cowered pitifully at every noise, and fled in terror from every person or animal he encountered on our neighborhood walks (evidently in his previous existence, stranger danger was a fact of life and people and other animals were more murderous than merciful).
He continuously tried to scratch off his collar and had no idea how to walk on a leash.
The poor little fellow never barked, would not fetch or play with toys, and began hiding his food as soon as it was served. He even looked totally confused when a chew bone was placed before him, like what in the heck am I supposed to do with this?
No, Yaz didn’t seem like a real dog. At least no dog I’d ever known. I began thinking of him as a sort of wooden puppet who wanted to be real but didn’t know how.
In fact, I strongly considered names like Pinocchio, Geppetto, and Figaro when I was naming him. (But Yaz is easier to spell.) The line the animated Pinocchio delivered with such pride and passion in Shrek movies still resonates in my brain: “I’m a real boy!”
So began the arduous task of helping Yaz become a real dog.
After millions of tossed balls, hugs, squeaky toys he couldn’t resist, verbal affirmation, taunting rodents (he’s still scared of snakes but the irritating squirrels have teased him one time too many), me picking him up so frightening humans can pet him, walking mile after mile perfecting a leash and learning to tolerate that pesky leather necklace, he has indeed come a long way.
The more time he spent basking in my love and attention, the more secure and confidant he seemed to feel and the more dog-like he became. He began to bloom in his magnificent dogliness before my very eyes.
Yaz transformed into the audacious creature he was meant to be.
In fact, today when he chases squirrels, holds his spindly little tail erect, and stands his ground barking at a German Shepherd across the street, I proudly announce to passers-by, “Yaz is a real dog now.”
And sometimes on those days when I’m busting my buttons over how incredible his transformation is, I’ll think, wow – I wonder if Papa God is saying the same thing about me. I hope He is. I want so desperately to be a REAL Christ-follower, yet so often I feel like I’m just a wooden imitation.
But you know what? The more time I spend basking in His love and attention, the more secure and confidant I feel and the more Christ-like I become.
And I know it’s probably going to take thousands more hours of training, but one day I’m determined to become the real deal.
A real dog is showing me the way.