Yes, He’s a Retriever…and a Chewer

It finally happened. Doug caved in, which translates: Seeing Eye puppy #25 arrived two weeks ago. He’s adorable. He’s soft and cuddly. He has puppy breath. And he chews on everything. Mornings are the worst. He is so full of energy, anything that gets near his mouth goes in it.

I realized right away that he prefers soft toys over bones or rubber toys. So, Amazon to the rescue. Practically before I hit the “place order” button, two boxes of soft toys were on my doorstep, awaiting Mr. Alligator Mouth. He loves the toys, but when the sun comes up, he’s right back to chewing my slippers, throw rugs, boxes, baskets, the sofa—really anything in front of him. And he becomes a vacuum cleaner too, picking up everything on the floor, most of which I didn’t know was there. I retrieved a paper clip and a dime from this Retriever’s mouth just this morning.

Frustrated, I ask him, “Why? You have all these great toys that you love.” He doesn’t answer, just cocks his head in that adorable way puppies do, which is why they get away with so much. Not in my house. I will not be taken in by the cuteness. Some of these things could seriously hurt him. I caught him chomping down on a light cord. That could be shockingly awful. As for the things he swallows, let’s face it, no one wants to search through poop to make sure all the loose change is accounted for. Every time he’s chewing on an inappropriate item, I replace it with one of his toys, and he’s happy for the exchange, at least for a few minutes.

This weekend, he went along with us to a workshop called Safe Tech. I know I need to know more than I do about technology and using it safely. But the presenter really challenged me in ways I didn’t expect. He said God has told us in his Word what we are to think about. “…whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8 paraphrased from ESV). That immediately cuts out a lot of screen time.

God has set up boundaries for us for our own good. And he gives us blessings like peace, joy, love, and contentment when we live within those boundaries. But I find myself pushing outside the boundaries and reaping discontentment, greed, envy, even hatred (social media can do that pretty easily).

Unlike my new puppy, I know the dangers and pitfalls, yet I still make bad choices for my life. God has given us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1 ESV), if I would only take hold of the gifts he offers—like the great toys I offer my puppy. Peter’s letter goes on to say that we should add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, and love. If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful. Since my goal is to be as fruitful for God’s kingdom as possible, I really need to honestly evaluate how I’m spending my time and what I’m allowing into my mind and heart.

I welcome this new challenge to evaluate my choices based on God’s Word and keeping my new puppy from making choices that could cause him harm. Right now, I have to go because the puppy just ran by with a glove in his mouth. Where did he find that?

For more information on Safe Tech, go to

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