Biting The Hand That Feeds You

Searing pain ripped through my fingers and spread to my hand. Blood streaming, I jumped back in shock and agony.

“You bit me?!” I cried out, more out of emotional anguish than physical since the incessant throbbing had not yet begun. 

My good, sweet, gentle 11-year-old lab had just growled at me and bitten my hand as I tried to wrench free some garbage contraband from his mouth. He has never bitten me. He’s never even nipped me. I can count on one hand the number of low growls he has voiced over his lifetime, and those were exclusively uttered in times of severe discomfort. 

I was angry

and hurt

and offended.

I know – it’s a dog – how offended should I be?

But I was. He is the baby I raised from a pup. Vividly I remember the nights he lay on my chest when we first brought him home, whimpering for his litter-mates and mother. Very quickly, he became part of our family and, we, his pack. Never in a million years did I think he would bite me. 

Hopping in pain as I ran my hand under the water to wash off the wounds, I kept shaking my head in disbelief. The water pressure hurt too much, so I filled a bowl with water and poured in copious amounts of salt to disinfect it and stop the bleeding. And still, I could not get over the fact that he had bitten me. 

Why?

It was so unlike him. 

ME?

I mean, ME?

Something had to be wrong. I wrapped up the cuts and wracked my brain. Using my left hand to type out the question burning in my mind, I discovered that it was most likely one of three things: old age, pain, or dementia. Indeed, he is old – the soft white hairs blanketing his muzzle would tell me so even if the calendar did not. Pain – quite possible as he has issues with his hips and hind legs. The most disturbing, though, was the thought of dementia. It was not something I had considered. Yet, the more I read about the symptoms, the more I realized that it was a distinct possibility. It made sense; he must have lost his damn mind to bite ME. 

Really. Who bites the hand that feeds them? 

Well, we all do — actually, quite a lot. 

How often have I “bitten” the hand of God? How many times have I been blessed only to turn around and do something antithetical to His laws? How often have I become enraged when it seemed God was taking something away from me that would harm me? 

My heart hurt, and I whispered a prayer for forgiveness. 

Sitting on the floor next to my dog, stroking his head gently, he looked up at me sheepishly, sniffed my still-oozing hand, and licked it. 

How often had I come before the Lord the same way? 

I love my dog and will not abandon him now in his twilight years, nor did I stop loving him because he repaid my love with a chomp. How grateful I am that I have a God that will do, and had done, so much more for me. 

They repay me evil for good, to the bereavement of my soul. Psalm 35:12

But Jesus responded, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?” John 10: 32

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