The Trophy

Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie still qualify as puppies. They are 9 month old litter mates, rambunctious and wild as…well. young bulldogs. I was going to say March Hares, but bulldogs probably would not appreciate being compared to any variety of rabbit. They would admire their speed, but rabbits don’t possess those iconic bulldog fangs, something of which the bulldogs are justly proud.

A favorite game of theirs is to grab the scruff of the other’s neck, a particularly loose area of skin on bulldogs. One will grip the other, usually while they are in full gallop, Then let the wrestling begin. The grabber pulls the grab-ee down, they roll around for a few minutes and, turnabout being fair play, the grab-ee returns the favor. Doodlebug drags Miss Sweetie across the yard. Miss Sweetie takes her turn doing the same.

The whole game appears rough. It is. And they love it. They are best friends for life and their tit for tat is continually forgiven.

But Miss Sweetie may have gone a little too far during one of their games.

When it was time for them to come in from play to avoid the brutal heat, I opened the back door and Doodlebug rushed in, sans his new collar. Great. Okay. The search was on.


It didn’t take long. Out in the yard, refusing to come in, was Miss Sweetie with Doodlebug’s collar hanging from her mouth. I caught up with her and retrieved the stolen collar. Its latch was broken. She had grabbed him, not by the scruff of his neck, but by his collar. So much easier.

Her powerful jaws had cracked one side of the latch and she let her brother go, preferring to keep his collar as a trophy of victory. Doodlebug is stronger than she is and it is rare that she comes out on top in their contests.

Still, to her credit, she never gives up. This time she came away with something to prove her triumph.

Trophies are iffy things. Not everyone who has one deserves it.

I am reminded by Doodlebug’s broken collar –

It’s not much of a trophy if I tore it out of the rightful owner’s hands.

It’s not a victory if I claimed what was not mine.

It’s not a true victory if I didn’t play by the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5)

Did Miss Sweetie compete lawfully according to bulldog rules? I don’t know. They have not deigned to include me on those details. Perhaps someday I will understand them.


Copyright 2016 H. J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


Keep On Tugging

Our bulldogs love sticks. They are connoisseurs, taking great pains to choose just the right one for their purpose. For example, one stick may be great for relaxed chewing while another may be suited to a game of “keep away”. With our dogs, sticks are not commonly for fetching. Oh, you can throw it and they will run for it, maybe even pick it up, but the chances of the stick ever coming back to you aren’t good.

There is another stick-centered game that they enjoy -Tug of War. One bulldog grabs the end of a carefully chosen stick of the right thickness and length; another latches onto the opposite end. May the best tugger win.

Of course, Tug of War doesn’t have to be limited to sticks. I retrieved a knotted rope toy from the yard only to notice that it became unusually heavy as I walked back toward the house. I looked down to find a 50-pound bulldog attached to the loose end, pulling away. Okay. I’m up for a good game of Tug of War every now and then. What a great workout for my arm and shoulder.

I kept walking, eyes straight ahead, until I noticed that the rope suddenly doubled its weight. I looked down to find two 50-pound bulldogs gripping the end of the rope with their bulldoggy mouths. Could I pull this off?

It wasn’t like trying to lift or pull dead weight. Their eight legs fought me and shifted from side to side to pry the rope from my hand. All I could do was add my other hand and fight for every inch.

I was engaged in a Tug of War with one of the most tenacious breeds of animal ever to grace the planet, a dog bred for one purpose – to hold on. How could I give up and quit? The honor of the human race was at stake.

I had limited advantages. I weighed more than the bulldogs combined and, although they had eight legs to my two, my legs were a lot longer and gave me greater leverage. So the battle was on. The goal line was the backdoor.

I am proud to say that neither side ever gave up. I inched my way to the backdoor where I declared victory. The bulldogs couldn’t have cared less. They got to bulldog a rope across half the yard. Always a good day.

So I learned something from two bulldogs. The weight may increase; the opposition may grow; the battle may be longer than you expected. Hold on and keep tugging.

“…be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV)


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.