RC was a beautiful dog who was part of our family for over a decade. He was a Chow/German Shepherd mix who had the reputation for being very vicious. He was a vicious dog when my husband brought him home from the construction site where he was working back in 1975, but my son Tyler could lay on RC’s belly while he drank his bottle or watched TV. The message on Sunday morning was about following God’s path because He’s the one who set us free. I immediately thought of that beautiful red dog that loved my husband with a loyalty that I’d never seen before.
RC had been chained to a cement block in the middle of yard filled with hard, red clay mud. His sole purpose was to scare off intruders, and he did it very well. His master was a mean man who gave him enough water and food to keep him alive and poked at him in order to teach him hate. As a result, he attacked anyone who came within reach of his chain. He made the mistake of turning on his owner one day, and that would prove to be a turning point for this dog who had never known love.
My husband was doing some work for the dog’s owner when he informed him that he was going to kill that @#$% dog because he was out of control. Billy couldn’t bear to think about the dog being killed, so he said he would take him home. The man told him he would be sorry, but Billy decided he couldn’t just stand by and let this poor dog die. When I heard Billy come home that afternoon, I went out to meet him. I quickly slammed the door shut when RC came at me with teeth bared, hackles raised, and barking as though he were going to kill me!
Billy managed to get past RC and in the house, leaving him on the front porch barking. He began to explain the whole story to me, but I was shaking my head no and telling him there was no way we could have a dog like that with our tiny apartment in town. Our landlady would never agree, and the neighbors would surely be upset. RC had calmed down by this time, and I went out with Billy to look at the creature he had rescued. My heart went out to this pitiful animal that had been abused and used as a guard dog since birth. I had to admit he was beautiful, and I knew he was also very hungry.
I learned about food and love from my mama, so I went after a peace offering. He swallowed the large piece of cornbread in one bite and looked at me with pleading eyes that said, “More! Please!!” So, I went inside and fixed a plate for him. I know it wasn’t the right way to feed a dog, but I didn’t have any dog food. We became fast friends, and RC made it clear that he would literally kill anyone who came near me. For that reason, we had to keep him contained. We always made sure he was comfortable, and Billy took him wherever he went. There was nothing RC loved more than riding in the back of Billy’s truck.
We moved, and Tyler came along. RC was more protective of him than of Billy and I put together. We let him run free unless someone was coming for a visit, and he always walked back and forth in front of Tyler as if to form a line that better not be crossed. RC knew about boundaries and lines, and he made it clear to all that Tyler was not to be touched. Tyler would hold on to RC’s fur when trying to stand up. RC would whimper, but he never so much as frowned at little Tyler.
I used to tell Billy that he was RC’s god. He didn’t like that analogy, but it was true. Billy set RC free, and RC followed him everywhere he went. I thought of their relationship on Sunday and realized that I should be more like RC when it comes to following God. His devotion and love for Billy is a beautiful model to follow. RC so wanted to be free, and freedom meant following the one who set him free. It is really what Psalm 119:32 is saying. It was a beautiful message on Sunday and a sweet trip down memory lane for me this week as I thought of an old friend who lived out his love and loyalty in a way that I should live out mine.
RC hasn’t been in our lives for a very long time, but there are many stories I could tell you about his adventures. It was nice to remember him today. This isn’t a picture of the real RC, but this sweet dog looks just like him. Thanks old friend for the sweet lesson in love and loyalty. I needed it today.