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The Ugly Gray Dog

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

I’ll never forget him. He may have been the ugliest dog I have ever seen. If there was ever a dog that needed an extreme doggie makeover this was it.

The first time I saw him was at my buddy Brad’s house. We worked together and I often went over to his house after a hard, hot day of roofing for some Mountain Dews, Elk burgers (don’t ask) and movies. One day during our regular routine this ugly gray greyhound came cowering up to us. He crawled up to us on his belly with his head down.

This started happening everyday. Whenever he would crawl up we would throw him a part of a burger, pat him on his ugly gray head…he would cower and shiver and just lay there by our side. And then, when he had had enough elk burger and attention, he would disappear, sulking off into the sunset.

Brad lived in a rural area where dogs ran a little more wild and free. But this dog came out of nowhere and disappeared into nowhere almost every day. After awhile we decided to name the ugly gray dog. After much deliberation and creative brainstorming we settled on the name “ugly gray dog.”

Once in awhile Brad and I would ride horses. The ugly gray dog, being a greyhound, would run with us and sometimes around us as we galloped along. This dog may have been ugly but he was fast, super fast, super freaky fast. What he lacked in beauty he made up for in horsepower.

One day as the ugly gray dog cowered by our sides a huge white Malamute came trotting into Brad’s backyard, barking his dominance. The ugly gray dog shivered and then started crawling out toward the bigger dog. At first I kind of laughed. Watching that long, skinny homely dog drag its torso across the rocky ground toward the alpha dog was kind of funny. But then I started to worry. I told Brad, “Ugly Gray Dog is going to get shredded if he doesn’t stop crawling out there.” He didn’t. He kept crawling and cowering. The closer he got the more the Malamute barked. The raised hair on its big, broad back told me that something bad was about to happen.

It did.

U.G.D. got within a few feet of the Malamute and then something unexpected happened, U.G.D. bared his teeth and began to growl like an insane, genetically engineered pit bull. Our ugly greyhound-gone-bad hurled himself at this bigger dog and began to bite him so hard and so fast that the Malamute had no idea what was going on. U.G.D. was all over the bigger dog as fur and dirt went flying. In just a few seconds this once proud Malamute fled like a scared Chihuahua. The cloud of dust was still settling as the U.G.D. turned with bared teeth back toward us. As our eyes met, the dog got back on the ground and submissively crawled back to us hoping for a treat.

Not only did we give him a treat, but we renamed him. From then on we called him Mister Ugly Gray Dog.

Brad and I had no idea that within this greyhound beat the heart of a doggy warrior. When he crawled out to meet the Malamute on the backyard battlefield I think he was trying to protect us. Over the weeks this dog had become our adopted companion. And there was no way he was going to let a bigger, badder dog hurt those he loved.

Kind of makes me think of little David on the battlefield. He was the forgotten one, the shepherd boy, the runt of the litter. And when the Malamute named Goliath came barking onto the battlefield, little humble David came out with his head bowed in humility on the battlefield, bared his teeth, swung his sling and took him out. Why? He was protecting the honor of the One whom he loved so much. He was not going to let some bully taint the name of the God that he served day and night.

What does all this have to do with you? Maybe you feel like an ugly gray dog. When you face the giant temptations that are seeking to get you to discredit God with your life you don’ t have to cower. You can bare your teeth in the power of Jesus Christ and attack those giant Malamutes in your life and watch those big dogs tuck their tails and run.

But there’s another lesson here. The next time an ugly gray dog crawls up to you give him a treat.

Ruff. Ruff.

Unlikely Fighter

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The story of how a fatherless street kid overcame violence, chaos, and confusion to become a radical Christ follower.

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