, Corbin, KY

August 26, 2013

Learning from our new puppy

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — Since late spring and the early parts of summer, my wife, Carmen, and I had been looking to adopt a puppy.

We got married about 11 months ago and decided it was time for a new addition to the Hall household.

We checked out some area pet stores but the prices for puppies were a little out of our range. We also checked a local shelter but they had promised most of their puppies to an animal rescue group.

So without much luck, we decided to hold off until after our Sept. 22 anniversary, and start our puppy search again.

However, last weekend, one of Carmen’s friends shared a picture online of a 10-week-old puppy she was giving away for free. It was one of the cutest dogs we had ever seen so Carmen told her friend we would take him if he was still available.

Two days later, a black Chihuahua/poodle mix puppy had joined the family.

That day also happened to be my mother-in-law’s birthday so we got to show the new puppy, who we named “Skipper,” off to some of our family who had gathered for the occasion.

Everyone fell in love with Skipper’s cuteness and how playful he was.

But after we all played with him and took pictures of him, it was time to start teaching him what — and what not — to do around the house.

First, we have been trying to house-train Skipper and teach him to use the bathroom outside on the grass instead of decorating our floors.

Then once he is outside, we have to teach him it is not a good idea to go chasing after cars as they go driving down the street.

When he gets hungry, we have to teach him to munch on his own dog food rather than our cat’s food or whatever he can find lying around.

And when the cat is around, who is much larger than Skipper right now, we have to teach him to not terrorize her unless he wants a cat’s claw to his little nose.

For now, he sees all of these activities as fun and entertaining, and doesn’t like being told not to do something. But he doesn’t realize the dangers he could be wandering into.

Chasing cars and picking fights with larger animals could hurt him. Eating anything in sight could make him sick.

As a caretaker of Skipper, I realize all of these things more than he does.

This is a lot like us in a way in our relationship with God.

We may be asked by God to do certain things or live certain ways even though we may not see the benefit of it.

Or we may be told by God to not participate in activities we believe are fun and enjoyable.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The same way Carmen and I know what is best for Skipper, God knows what is best for us.

Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at You can also visit his blog at