Monday, October 29, 2007

Stray Dog, pt V

 This had gotten out of my control. Out of my control”? Had it ever really been in my control? Oh sure, I’d enjoyed feeding Sin, but he’d always been the one in control. I answered to his whims. My cheek was cool where that thing had licked me. What if he ceased to be content with store-bought meat, and wanted something... more fresh? Would I be able to resist?

I contacted Animal Control. The officer who arrived–“Joshua,” according to his name badge--had apparently been doing this for quite some time. His hands and arms were scarred where he’d tangled with various creatures. Especially striking were the scars he bore on each wrist. I was about to ask him how he got them, when he nodded toward the porch.

“Is that him?” he asked. It was Sin, certainly, but he seemed to have shrugged off the rest his fur! As he stood there, naked in his pale grey skin like a lizard, every muscle twitch, every wrinkle now stood out with horrid clarity. He glared at the officer and snarled menacingly.

“I’ve scuffled with him before. He can be mean.”

Joshua approached Sin slowly. The thing stared intently back at him with that expression I knew so well. Joshua didn’t back down. Instead, he fixed his eyes on Sin’s and continued with slow steps toward him. Sin bared his teeth at the officer and barked. He raised his wings above his head and rattled them threateningly, but didn’t move from his place.

“We have collar and leash laws around here,” called Joshua. “Don’t worry, I brought one that’ll fit him just fine.”

Now within arms' reach of the animal, the officer produced a wide leather collar and fastened it around Sin’s neck. He went on growling, but he didn’t resist. Joshua attached a substantial chain to a large metal ring on the collar, and began to lead him, docile, from the porch. He stopped, and looked me in the eye.

“There’s an old proverb,” he said. “You do not feed the dragon you wish to slay. I strongly suggest that, in the future, you think twice about feeding strays.” He led Sin down the street, and they disappeared around the next corner.

That should be the end of the story, but it isn’t, quite. You see, sometimes, on those long quiet nights, when I hear the yipping of coyotes and dogs, I see Sin’s ugly, shaggy head in my mind’s eye, as he looked when he first appeared at my doorstep. I see those big dark eyes staring soulfully back at me, and I get the itch to go shopping for some nice juicy steaks. Then I resist the temptation and try to think of something else. I’m finding that prayer and meditation on Scripture seem to help, and each time I resist, it gets a little easier. I don’t know that the struggle will ever go away completely. I just know that never again do I want to be a servant to Sin.

Sorry this last part is arriving so late. I was teaching 4th graders today.

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