Joseph Herrin (10-06-2015)
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It has been some time since I have given an update on Champ, the rescue dog that Yahweh gave to me back in June of 2012. You can read about the remarkable way in which Yahweh brought Champ into my life in a blog post at the following link.
Champ and I have been together for more than 3 years now. We have shared many good experiences together. I have often taken him for runs using a recumbent trike. This has provided good exercise for me, and has allowed him to experience some freedom and mobility outside of his yard. We have a five mile circuit down the dirt roads here that we use for our normal route. Because it is a rural area, and few cars are encountered as we are on our outings, I normally allow Champ to run off of his leash just as soon as we get passed the neighbor’s yard.
Champ and My Trike on Jekyll Island in 2013
For the past two years I have had my bus parked in a rural location adjacent to a rental home that my daughter leases in a farming community in South Central Georgia. It has been an ideal place for me to spend my days in quiet, writing books and blog posts, attending to a growing prison newsletter ministry, and corresponding with people from all over the world through the Internet. It has also been a great place for Champ, though I have regretted not being able to allow him to run loose off of the leash. Champ appears to have some Pit Bull ancestry, and he tends to act aggressive around strangers. When he was young and we had first moved to this location, I allowed Champ off the leash. He went over to the neighbor’s yard and began to growl at the neighbor. The man sought refuge in his pickup truck, and came over and informed me about what happened. Since that time I have kept Champ on a 100 foot runner alongside my bus.
Champ warms up to most people rather quickly, especially if they play fetch with him, or take him for a walk on the leash. He seems to know that whoever holds the leash is the boss, and he submits to them. In a short time he has become friends with many people and then wants to play with them, but he continues to be aggressive when he first meets people. He has never shown any aggression toward other dogs, however. He acts like he longs for companionship. Champ whines whenever the neighbor’s dogs wander over toward his area. The neighbor has several small dogs. One is bold enough to come and sniff noses with Champ from time to time, but most often they all remain at a distance which causes Champ to whine terribly as he badly wants them to come over and play with him.
Champ has been a loner for a the past two years since we have been here. I feel sympathy for him at times as I will look out the window and observe him staring down the dirt driveway. My daughter’s landlord has a home about 1/4 mile up the road and they have two dogs. One is a German Shepherd and the other a Pit Bull. The German Shepherd used to come over and visit with Champ when we first moved here. Champ was terribly excited whenever he would see the German Shepherd coming down the driveway. When the landlord’s son got the Pit Bull, a mature male who is used for hog hunting, I had to bring an end to the visits.
The Pit Bull started coming over with the German Shepherd, and he acted possessive of the German Shepherd. He did not like Champ showing attention to him. One two occasions the Pit Bull started a fight with Champ, and being an older and more experienced dog, and a bit more of the alpha male personality, he seemed to come off the victor in these encounters. Pit Bulls tend to grab hold and will not let go. The last time he tangled with Champ, it took me about 5 minutes to get him to let go of Champ’s jowls. I thought spraying some bleach on his nose would cause him to let go of Champ, but it had no effect on him. I ultimately had to go find another leash and hook it to the Pit Bull’s collar. Pulling with all my might I was finally able to get him to turn loose of Champ. Somewhat surprisingly, the Pit Bull (his name is Buck) has never been aggressive toward me. His aggression is towards other animals. He tore up the German Shepherd’s tail during a time when he was establishing the social order between them. He bit the Shepherd’s tail, refusing to let go. The tail ended up having to be amputated. Now the German Shepherd has a bobbed tail, but the two dogs remain inseparable companions.
Because I knew the Pit Bull would always accompany the German Shepherd when he came to see Champ, I had to dissuade them from coming over anymore. I did not want Champ to continue to get in fights with the Pit Bull, for even though Champ is now a fully mature dog and outweighs the Pit Bull, he doesn’t seem to have the killer instinct of the other dog. Champ is more bark than bite, though he can certainly appear intimidating to strangers when they come up. The only time I have ever seen him act aggressively toward another dog is when they approach his food dish when he is eating. Then it is “game on.” Champ will enforce a territorial boundary around his food.
To dissuade the Pit Bull from coming around, I purchased an Airsoft Pistol which shoots plastic BBs using air pressure. Although I was certainly aiming at the Pit Bull’s flanks, I don’t think I ever hit him with a BB. He got the idea, however, and he quit coming over. Sadly, the German Shepherd also quit coming, so Champ has been very much a loner for the past two years.
When Nicholas was staying with me this past year for 6 months, he brought home two different dogs. Neither one of them was a good companion for Champ, however. The first dog was a small breed, and it was afraid of Champ’s size, though Champ only wanted to play with it. It was also a high maintenance dog. It was a lap dog and wanted constant human contact. Nicholas was rarely home, so after a few weeks it was apparent that he needed to find someone who wanted a lap dog. My daughter found a very good home for it.
A month or two later Nicholas brought another dog home. This one seemed more suitable as a companion for Champ, as she was a small Pit Bull mix. Champ was certainly interested in her, but she did not appear to have any interest in playing or interacting with Champ. She was also an escape artist. I could not keep her on a leash, or in a kennel. I even purchased a double harness that was advertised as escape proof, but she got out of it. She was always wandering off. Some months back, when Nicholas moved to his own rental, he took the dog with him.
Yesterday I looked out the window and saw Champ sitting and looking wistfully down the long dirt driveway. I felt a pang of sympathy for him. Dogs are social creatures, and for most of his life he has not had any other companionship aside from me. Due to the busyness of my life, I am unable to spend much time with him. I often walk him down the road and back, and when the weather is permitting I take him on trike runs, but much of his days are spent by himself in the yard.
When I saw Champ looking down the driveway yesterday, I felt compassion for him. I prayed that if it were Yahweh’s will that He might provide Champ with a companion. Within the hour my phone rang. It was a man I came to know some years back when we both stayed at the same RV park. We have kept in touch with each other, and usually speak several times a week. On most days I do not answer the phone during the morning and early afternoon, as that is my prime hours for productivity and I like to devote them to ministry. If someone calls early in the day I will often wait until the evening and call them back. I felt an urge, however, to take the call this time. Ken told me that a female dog who appeared to possibly be a Boxer mix had come up to the RV park he is staying at. She had been hanging around a couple days. One RV neighbor had taken her around to every campsite to see if she could find the owner, but was unsuccessful. Ken thought of me and wondered if I would be interested in having the dog to be a companion for Champ.
When I pray specifically about a matter, and something unusual like this occurs a short time later, I am immediately mindful of the Father’s faithfulness to hear our prayers. In the nearly 4 years I have known Ken, he has never called me to inform me of a stray dog that might be a good companion for Champ. Ken is not a believer, but he told me that he felt God had impressed upon him to call me and let me know about the dog.
“Lady” is a young dog. I do not believe she is more than one year old. She has a lot of puppy playfulness in her. She is great around people and other animals, not showing any aggression at all. Everyone is her friend, and Champ was very much interested in being her “best-friend.” He has the normal male urges and made it known at once that he wanted to be Lady’s boyfriend.
Happy to Meet You
Lady is not interested in mating, but she does want to play. She seems to interpret Champ’s advances as play, so they are spending much of their time romping with each other in the yard.
Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun
I am actually somewhat surprised that I have been able to keep an outdoor dog these past 3 years and 4 months. I was staying at an RV park when Yahweh sent Champ my way. I had no idea I would be moving to the country soon. Most RV parks are not suitable for keeping an outdoor dog. Many will not even allow a dog to be left unattended outside. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that Yahweh will have a provision for every need.
On another note, the car Yahweh led some brothers in Christ to purchase for me has been a timely god-send. We have had abundant rain here in Georgia for the past couple weeks. I would not have been able to get to town using my trike, and this is at a time when I am finding it necessary to make trips to town with increasing frequency in order to keep up with all the newsletters and correspondence I am receiving from men in prison. Because I am a full-time RVer, the only way I have been able to provide men in prison with a permanent address is to rent a Post Office box. This requires that I make the trek to town to collect my mail. My P.O. Box is filling up quickly these days.
I was able to sell the passenger tires that came on the RAV4. In their place I purchased some all-terrain tires that handle mud very well. I have not had the least bit of trouble getting in and out, even though the dirt roads have been in about as bad of shape as I have seen them. The RAV4 with its high clearance and the addition of the mud tires has handled the slop very well.
General Grabber AT2
I mentioned some time back that I was considering getting a custom tag for the front of the RAV4. In Georgia the state only requires a license plate on the rear of the vehicle, so people frequently use the front of the vehicle for a personal message or image. I had considered some message that would emphasize the name RAV, which in Hebrew means “teacher,” being a short form of the word Rabbi. After further consideration, I decided that God had already placed that message on the car, so I would not duplicate what Yahweh had already done. Following is an image of the message that now adorns the front of the RAV4.
This is a proverb that came to me some years back. Its message has guided my ministry over the years. Vehicles often symbolize ministry, and this message now is at the forefront of the vehicle Yahweh gifted to me.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063