The HellHound 

Dogs hate me. That’s just a given. Or rather dogs hate me when I’m running. I don’t know if I give off an unpleasant, sweaty odour or it’s my garish collection of ‘hi vis’ running tops. Either way when I go hurtling (plodding) past them they invariably go boogaloo and appear hellbent on having my running shorts for lunch. And, believe me, that would not be a pleasant experience for all concerned.

Horses are utterly unimpressed by my marathon training. Cows are more interested in grass consumption. And cats are well….just cats. But dogs give me their undivided and ferocious attention. Big or small, pedigree or mongrel once one sets eyes on me approaching he alerts his canine neighbours that the afternoon’s entertainment is approaching. All I can do is pray that they are locked up in their yards. Barking I can take. It’s when they run loose that problems occur.

My arch nemesis is a black Labrador who resides half way round a 2.5 mile loop round our village that I regularly run. I don’t know his real name but I affectionately refer to him as HellHound. He has eyes that glow red like the fires of Hades itself. His claws are like daggers and when he barks and announces his presence the ground itself shakes. He is evil personified and hates me with a cruel intelligence that borders on the unnatural. 


We are sworn enemies. He is Moriarty to my Holmes. He is Dr. Evil to my Austin Powers. He is Homer Simpson to my Ned Flanders. I always pick up my pace and cross the road as I near the laneway to his house. Often he is locked up but, by his frantic howls, I know he smells my fear. On those days I scuttle past, nervously looking over my shoulder until I am out of harm’s way.

On other occasions I am too far past the laneway when he careers out of it in hot pursuit. He will only go a certain distance past his laneway and then stop, snarling and seething as I live to run another day. Sometimes it is a close run thing. I can sense him closing with every step and have only escaped from the danger zone by the skin of my Nike Airs as he screeches to a halt, mere inches away from sinking his fangs into my calf.

He had never caught me despite a few hairy moments and I grew increasingly confident that he never would. The loop was my favourite run and I wasn’t going to let some psychotic pooch get the better of me. Until last December. I misjudged my run past the laneway. Thinking I was out of danger I relaxed. The next thing I knew his claws were raking down the back of my trailing leg as he simultaneously sunk his teeth into the juiciest part of my thigh.

I think the shock outweighed the pain. Anger overcame my fear and I turned on my heels and ran screaming at my assailant who promptly tucked his tail between his legs and scarpered back up the laneway. There followed words with his largely unimpressed owner (who suggested I must have provoked the family pet who wouldn’t hurt a fly) before I limped off with my pride and right hamstring in tatters. 

Now for the twist….

That afternoon I had post run plans. I’ll not go into the details but suffice to say it was wrong and sinful. I had told myself for days I wasn’t going but had been backed into a corner where I felt I had no other option. I convinced myself it was the lesser of two evils and concocted a web of deceit and lies from which there appeared no escape.

HellHound put an end to that. He had never caught me before and he has never caught me since. But on that chilly December afternoon he was a dog on a mission. A mission not from Hell, but from Heaven. Call me naive but I honestly believe he was sent to save me from myself. I had to cancel my plans given I had only one good leg. Because no matter how dire your circumstances might appear, no matter how deep a hole you have dug for yourself, God can and will intervene. If you will only allow him to.

He afforded me an opportunity that day, an escape route that I took. It still didn’t stop me from screwing up at a later date but that was my choice. He has given us the gift of freewill. Otherwise we would just be mindless automatons. He provides us with an alternative route. It is up to us as to whether or not we take that path.  But never say He is not real. Or that we don’t have a choice. He is all around us every minute of every day.

We just need to tune into his wavelength and notice his signs and promptings. Some are ever so subtle. A whisper on the breeze. Others are less so; like a rabid Labrador with a serious chip on its shoulder. But He is there.

God works in mysterious ways after all….

Proverbs 15:3 – ‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.’

Are there any psychotic pets in your neighbourhood?

What’s the strangest way God has ever caught your attention?

24 thoughts on “The HellHound 

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  1. This was truly hilarious, brother! I am sorry about your painful experience, I grew up with black labs and know how ferocious they can be. We had a man try to break in one night, our black lab busted through two layers of glass window to tear him up. She got hit by a car, and survived without a scratch. I’m not sure what they’re made out of, but it’s not natural.

    My daughter is some sort of dog whisperer, and as a homeschooling parent I’m never without her. So anytime there is a dog, no matter the breed, within a hundred yards of her, she will find it and she will love it. They usually ignore me, and b line it for her. I’ve never so much as witnessed a dog growl at her from a fenced in yard, they all melt at her arrival. As long as I’m with her, I think I’m safe. 😅 God help me when she grows up and moves out!

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  2. I really enjoyed this. And while not as bloody as this, I have experienced GOD giving me a way out when I’ve felt backed into a corner. I also relate to the sinning or screwing up later part. Thank you so much for this post. Soo so good.🙃

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  3. Good stuff! Your tale reminds me of a scene in C. S. Lewis’s “The Horse and His Boy.” My craziest dog story is about our first dog. My husband wanted to get a purebred, and being a cheapskate, I talked him into getting a dog from the pound. But she was possessed of the devil, I swear it, and had the apt name of “Sable” to boot. She once attacked me when she was loose in the yard, hackles raised and jumping for my throat. No joke! Unfortunately for her, I had some training in judo which apparently kicked in, because I managed to grab her by her neck and slam her to the groundm, all without taking a single scratch. She was soon rehomed to a junkyard in need of a guard dog…

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  4. When my oldest daughter, with her two boys, moved 9 hours away, I thought I wouldn’t be able to see them but once or twice a year. Then my husband got an assignment to that same city over the year. He had to keep going and I went with him. Our hotel was paid for, also the gas and some money for food. We got to visit her very often and then she got another and better job and moved closer. I knew God made all that possible.

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  5. Oh, this story is awesome, in a very twisted way! I completely agree… the powers that be tell us when we are going astray and should correct course, sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly. We don’t have to listen; we can recklessly continue on our path (goodness knows I have done this plenty of times).
    I think that usually the message is a little more subdued than a HellHound sinking its teeth into your calf, but if that’s what it takes…..:)
    Great story!

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  6. Amen, thank you for sharing.

    There was a time when I was teen I struggled heavily with conviction, but I knew at that moment, I wasn’t ready to not cave in. I was young, and very low on self esteem and confidence. Feeling this way, I crumpled to the floor against my door. I knew I was hurting God. I felt like I deserved to be abandoned by Him, He would have every right.

    But, I had pictures of calendar months on my walls, and they either had scriptures or quotes. As tears fell down my face I looked up to a picture I had right above me. It’s a scripture in Psalms, and I felt God speaking to me. “Even if I settle on the far side of the seas, even there, Your hand will still guide me.” It was like He was telling me that He would get me through it. Even if I didn’t deserve it.

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  7. This was quite an interesting read. I’ve always had a morbid fear of dogs. I was once chased by 3 dogs, since then I have learned to avoid them.

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