“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Ps 139:14 NIV)
Our golden retriever, Salida, has many positive attributes. When you come home after a long day at work, she is always waiting for you at the door, her tail wagging eagerly-if she isn’t too tired, that is! She will chase the sticks you throw for her, and if she feels like it, she will even bring them back to you. She always comes immediately when you call her . . . Okay, “immediately” can have a number of different meanings, especially if there’s another dog around, or a particularly foul smell that might not be there next time . . .
In general, it can truly be said that Salida enjoys life to the fullest. Her most precious trait however, is that she loves people. In fact she loves them so much that if a burglar decided to visit our home, she would let him in and help him in his hunt for our treasures!
Yes, many good things can be said about Salida, but it couldn’t honestly be said that she works. But then, dogs don’t work! It’s not in their nature!
Or is it?
Up in the far north you will find several breeds of dogs that are renowned for their work ethic. I’m not kidding! We generally lump them all together under the name “Husky”, but if you want to be precise, you will find the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute, the Samoyed, the Eskimo dog and the Greenland dog! (I had no idea some of these breeds even existed. Did you?)
These dogs are bred to work, and when not working, they generally don’t move all that much. They want to conserve their energy for the important things of life! Really!
What’s amazing is that the blood vessels of these dogs are quite different from dog breeds of the south. This permits them to stand, run and sleep on snow for long periods of time without frostbite. They don’t even suffer from the “frozen-paw-stuck-in-the-snow” scenario! In addition, they have the ability to eat less than other dogs their size, all the while being able to work much harder! It’s my kind of a dog! (Sorry! I don’t have any for sale. What am I saying? I don’t even have one!)
Another neat attribute of the husky is that it does not require shelter, even in sub-Arctic temperatures. They have extremely thick fur, and just like in the movie, “Eight Below”, they curl up with their noses under their tails and let the snow bury them. This provides them with much needed insulation and shelter. They even have thick fur growing between their toes, providing them with the insulation they need for their feet!
The coat of the husky actually lies in two layers: The soft undercoat, which provides the warmth that they need; and the silky outer coat, which gives protection against wind and water. It could be said that they come completely equipped for the winter! No winter boots for them! (Yes, I’m ashamed to admit that my dog has her own boots for the winter . . . And a coat, too! She truly is spoiled!)
Huskies generally can carry at least half their body weight, and they can pull twice their weight over miles and miles of snow and ice. When used to pull a sled, the husky will assume a specific, steady, fast trot that they can keep up for hours with very little effort. Some have been observed, for short distances, to haul up to 2000 lbs (907.2 kg for those like me who do not understand the concept of “pounds”).
Of course huskies do have their downsides. They aren’t really known to be the “golden retriever-familial” kind of dog, if you know what I mean. They love to be petted, but most huskies have a streak of independence, much like their cousin the wolf. Although they work hard, most of them refuse to fetch, track or do little tricks. But if you look at it from their point of view, you would understand. After all, they are bred to work, not to be clowns! That would be far too humiliating!
We can learn from both classes of dogs: the `golden retriever’ types, who enjoy life and love people; and the `husky’ types, who work to their full potential. God asks us to do both! To love people as Jesus loves them, to enjoy the life He has given us, and to work to our full potential, as if we are working for God!
“Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.” (Eph 6:5-7 The Message)
If we had both of these attitudes, there is no way we would ever find the time (or the reason!) to grumble and complain. Wouldn’t that go far towards attracting more people to God?