Last updated: February 28. 2014 10:48AM - 745 Views

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There are three main characters in this story: Dakota Red, a full-blooded AKC registered bloodhound; my brother Philip, Dakota’s master; and a small black and white flirtatious female dog who I’ll refer to as Dolly.

For years Dakota has lived happily within the boundaries of his master’s yard. A wireless pet containment system ensures Dakota’s safety by ‘beeping’ if he gets too near the established boundary. If he steps outside the boundary, which he’s only done a couple of times in the past two years; a ‘zap’ from his collar reminds him to return to the safety of his master’s yard.
Several nights ago and unbeknownst to Philip and his family, Dolly began making a ‘move’ on Dakota Red. Late at night after the family went to bed, Dolly would sneak into the yard to visit and ‘flirt’ with Dakota. She’d end her visit at sunrise the next morning. (So says a neighbor after this story occurred.)
Dakota Red is a very sociable bloodhound. Every day he plays with his two best buddies Pork Chop and Buster. Dolly became Dakota’s first female friend. Perhaps that explains how she was able to entice him. Alas, this past Monday, Dakota gave in to the lure of temptation and ran away from the safety of his master’s provision and home when he took off with Dolly at the end of her visit.
To put it plain and simple, Philip loves Dakota. Philip’s wife and children love Dakota. Every year the family celebrates Dakota’s birthday and he’s always prominently featured on their ‘Family Photo’ Christmas cards. It is no exaggeration to say Dakota is a pampered pooch.
Knowing this, perhaps you can imagine Philip and his family’s anguish when Dakota ran awy. Within just a few minutes of his disappearance, Dakota’s photo was posted on Facebook, and family members and neighbors were alerted to be on the lookout. Up and down the local roads Philip drove … searching and calling for Dakota. Late Monday night, Dakota was still missing when the family stopped the search to get some much needed sleep.
Around 6:00 the next morning, Philip resumed his search for Dakota. A few minutes later, he ‘spotted’ Dakota with Dolly. But when Philip called for him, Dakota still determined to ‘do his thing’ … took off running in the opposite direction … completely ignoring his master’s call. Broken-hearted and with no time left to continue his search, Philip went to work.
That afternoon Philip returned home from work and straightaway began searching for Dakota. A short while later Dakota was seen in a nearby field. Philip called for him and this time Dakota responded to his master’s call. What a joyous time it was to see the smile on Philip’s face as he returned home with his beloved Dakota by his side.
Have you wandered away from God to ‘do your thing’? If so, He’s calling you to return to Him. Tell me please, how long do you plan to ignore your Master’s calling? I hope it won’t be much longer. Actually I pray you’ll do it soon … very soon. For you see, the plain and simple truth is … God loves you.

“So Jesus used this illustration: “If you had a hundred sheep and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found.

“Well, in the same way heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who haven’t strayed away!”—Luke 15:4-7 (TLB)

Debra Wallace can be reached through her website at www.debrajoywallace.com.

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