MY DOG ENOCH
“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalms 104:24). “But ask the animals, and they will teach you” (Job 12:7).
My first dog Suzy, whom I had since childhood, died shortly after we got married.* My wife Brooksyne and I had both had dogs growing up and we wanted another dog. Neighbors in the rural area of southern Missouri we lived in had a litter of mixed breed pups they were trying to find good homes for and were giving away. We figured we were a good home. The puppies were weaned and ready to go. The mother was a Chow and looked like a bear. We don’t know what breed the father was. We picked out a cute male from the litter and being spiritually minded Bible School students named him Enoch. Why shouldn’t our dog walk with God.
At the same time we got Enoch we got a kitten that we named Coon (because he looked like a Raccoon). Enoch and Coon became fast friends and didn’t seem to know that dogs were supposed to hate cats and vice versa. They chased each other around the grounds and had a wonderful pet childhood together. On the hot summer days we didn’t have a screen door on the little country church we pastored and they had a problem staying outside while we had a church service. But those dear country folks just smiled when they came in.
Enoch loved to ride in the back of our old blue Datsun pickup on the wheelwell with his head hanging out facing the wind. We just couldn’t get him to stay down. One time we were heading down a country highway about 45 miles per hour and heard a loud thump. Looking in the rearview mirror we saw a ball of fur tumbling down the highway. We stopped and thought that this would be the end for Enoch, but as soon as he stopped rolling he got up and ran toward us with a look as if to say, “That was fun, let’s do it again!” However Enoch never fell out of a pickup again, although he did continue to ride up on the wheelwell.
When Enoch was about a year old we moved from Missouri to Pennsylvania to plant a church in St. Marys. We moved in a big U-Haul truck and towed the Datsun behind us. Because we didn’t fancy that long of a trip with Enoch, who was by now a big dog, in the cab with us, we placed him in the cab of the Datsun. Once when we stopped a trucker came and told us of the funniest sight. It seems Enoch was riding in the cab with his paws up on the steering wheel so he appeared to be driving!
When we got to Pennsylvania we rented an apartment on a busy street in town with houses all around us. Enoch was home sick for the good farm life of Missouri. Shortly after we moved Coon ran off and Enoch was forlorn. He spent hour after hour lying in the back of the truck. Once I had done some work on the truck and failed to chock the wheels. The truck slowly started to roll back toward our apartment and just before it crashed into the back porch Enoch jumped out. He never would spend time in that truck again!
About a year after moving to Pennsylvania we bought a mobile home and had it placed on a lot near the beautiful Pennsylvania woods. Enoch was revived! We went on long hikes into the woods. Enoch would always run ahead of us and turn around as if to say “Are you coming or not?” We were near lots of wildlife and periodically had deer and black bear in our yard. A couple of times Enoch got in a tussle with a porcupine and my, did he yelp out when I pulled out the quills!
One of our concerns when we got Enoch was that Chows were known to be very protective of their owners and not very friendly to outsiders. We liked to have a lot of people around and didn’t want Enoch to be a detriment. He never was. He loved everybody and I suspect wouldn’t have been much help as a watchdog! During that phase of our lives we kept many foster children and I reckon to this day most still remember Enoch.
Enoch was always glad to see us. Any time we would be gone for more than a short time he would run out to greet us when we returned. He always acted like he hadn’t seen us for days. That’s a great feeling isn’t it? I don’t recall him ever being in a bad mood or grumpy. However deep in sleep he might be, if I indicated I was going for a walk he would get up and shake himself and be ready to go! There are times we had to discipline him and it sure seemed that he had shame and knew he was in trouble. But regardless of how severe the punishment he always got over it real quick. Dogs just seem incapable of holding a grudge.
Enoch’s most remarkable achievement is that he was an ordained minister. Yup, he had his own fancy certificate to prove it. He got it through the mail with some denomination I never heard of out in California. They offered free ordinations. Now for the sake of honesty I must divulge that I did help him a bit with the paperwork. Enoch couldn’t spell very well and that was before they had spell check. He was seven years old at the time and I did convert that to dog years or 49 on the application. In a couple of weeks he got his very own certificate of ordination and even began to get mail addressed to Rev. Enoch Weber. He could have been a doctor through the same outfit but that cost $25.00 and I just couldn’t stand him having more titles than I had.
Enoch was never neutered but didn’t appear to have much interest in the ladies. He was able to roam free but we never had a problem with him running off for romance. That is until late in his life when he was about 9 years old (that’s 63 in dog years). He had a dalliance with a beagle up the road. We found out later that he was a father. Some people we knew got one of the puppies and we were thus able to see Enoch’s offspring for some time after Enoch died.
Enoch had a habit of laying under our car in the shade. This was no problem since he would always immediately get up when we came out of the house to go somewhere. But when he got old he was arthritic and deaf. Once when Brooksyne went somewhere he didn’t move and his legs were injured seriously. We took him to the vet but his condition, along with his age at the time (about 70 dog years), was just too much and the vet send him home to die. We tried to keep him a while longer but he was pathetic. He was unable to walk but would still try to painfully drag his back legs and follow us around. Maggots were beginning to eat at him from the inside out. But I was mired in inaction regarding what I knew needed done.
A couple of compassionate neighbors saw my plight and volunteered to take care of it for me. They placed Enoch on a wheelbarrow and went back into those woods Enoch loved so much. They took a shovel, which I told them was unnecessary, but they insisted. They said if he were their dog that they’d want him buried. A few minutes later I heard the loud report of a deer rifle and knew that my dog Enoch was gone.
I know writing about my dog may seem unspiritual to some but I have been blessed by these creatures created by God and as Job observed they do teach lessons. And I sure hope you’ve had some good pets!
* I’ve also written a story about my first dog Suzy.