Don’t Beat the Dog!

Don’t Beat the Dog!

Reblogged from Words in High Def

Sitting in the truck while my husband was inside paying, at a gas station in Mexico, I was watching a very old, scruffy man. He sat on a rock by the side of the road. He looked tired and sad and lonely (that’s how my imagination viewed him at least).

Soon an old street dog walked gently up to him, tail wagging wildly. My heart sang as I felt grateful for a bit of mutual affection between these two displaced souls.

The fragile old guy began to beat the dog…. Over and over he hit this innocent creature. My mouth dropped open in horror and I almost blasted out of the vehicle, but it was over before I could react. The poor pooch dropped down and rolled over trying to avoid the open-handed smacks, but didn’t run.

She simply wanted to belong to someone at any cost. The man soon stopped, relaxed and seemed to forget about the animal nestled at his feet.

I’ve been on both sides of that equation–never physically–but emotionally beaten or beating. When we’re going through a really stressful, painful or fearful time our emotions can get out of control. Few of us (with a shred of sanity remaining) take this out on the credit card company, demanding boss, inconsiderate co-worker or even the presumptuous neighbor. We hold it in, stuff it down like buckshot in an old gun and unload—on the people who love us the most.

The arsenal is aimed at the wrong target, but at least the pressure is released for a bit. But at what cost?

If you’re feeling overly frustrated, angry, lost, confused, helpless, hopeless or hurt; pause for a minute and don’t beat the dog! God is strong enough to take every hit, then sweetly invite us to collapse into His comforting arms. That’s where contentment is restored.

On the other hand, allowing loved ones to injure us because we don’t want to lose them is as wrong as that big ol’ dog who stuck close to the side of her abuser. When we’re being treated unkindly by a loved one, it doesn’t benefit them to just “let it go.” The most loving thing we can do is call them out on it (when the explosive moment has passed) then set boundaries while offering to get them some help.

There is too much undeserved pain being spread around. Take it to God (and maybe a wise, compassionate pastor or counselor), but don’t beat the dog!

*Are you bold enough to share about a time you’ve experienced (or inflicted) mis-directed emotional pain? Comment and share this post!

  • Joan Webb

    Wise advice, Diane. Indeed. Thanks for sharing.

  • Diane Meehl

    Beautifully written, wise words, as always!

  • Hester Christensen


    This is a great post. You’ve done an excellent job through example and word picture. You’ve made some really good points. 🙂 Thank you for blessing us with your wisdom today.

    Love, Hester

  • Jenn

    The opening of this story about made my mouth drop open as well. Not to mention a few tears quickly sprung to my eyes. While the opening was a bit hard to read without getting emotional it was a great way to capture the reader to further the message. It really makes you step back and evaluate how you, yourself, handle these types of situations. Very Impactful! I think this message will stay top of mind for sometime to come!

  • I am really impressed with your story telling style and your story as well thanks for sharing