Molly's bark was heard before the cause for its sounding could be seen.
Now, before we go any further and get to the cause of Molly's barking, let me give you some historical context.
Molly has two distinct barks. Well, three, but for the first part of this story only two need to be addressed. First is the "Alert Bark." It is a lower pitch bark sounded in short bursts to receive the attention of nearby humans. In the past Molly has employed this bark in the dire circumstances she has faced when inadvertently trapped behind a closed door.
Molly's "Alarm Bark," the second in her sounding repertoire, is her attempt at being the family's security system. Beware UPS Man, my house is guarded by a fifteen pound Schnoodle. If only he could see her cowering and shaking during thunderstorms then I don't think her
Alarm Bark" would alarm him. Or anyone else for that matter.
But back to our story.
On this particular barking occasion Molly sounded her "Alert Bark." Both Mom and I came to attention, assessing the location of the sound. There was a pause the two more alerts. We both assumed she was stuck out on the back deck behind a closed door or maybe standing at the top of the steps on the other side of a mountain of dirty towels. After checking all around we still had no sight of Molly.
"Roughh...Rough..." From her hidden location, Molly increased the frequency of her "Alert Barks."
"Maybe she's out on the front porch." I suggested.
For more story context, Molly has discovered holes in screens all around our house and freely maneuvers her way through them at her leisure. She never travels outside of the yard. Well, except when the meter-reader comes near the property. Then she takes off like an alligator out of a mote on a mission from the queen to protect her castle.
But Mom and I looked out on the front porch and Molly wasn't there either. Perplexed she went walking back around the front of house and through the side door and that's when I heard it. Mom's "Panic Scream."
"Oh my golly, there is a squirrel in the house!" She yelled out from the living room.
Turns out it was not a squirrel. It was a chipmunk. But the panic was still warranted.
This was one instance where Molly's "Alarm Bark" could have come in handy but apparently she didn't find it alarming when a furry intruder comes sneaking in through the screen door. According to Molly, chipmunks are welcome, especially if she can play with them.
This is the scene in which Mom discovered in the living. The poor chipmunk was barely breathing, laying on her back underneath the shadow of a very satisfied schnoodle. Molly looked up and practically smiled at my horrified Mother. Apparently Molly was not alarmed by a chipmunk perishing on the living room floor.
Mom, on the other hand, saw something very alarming. After scolding Molly she was, deliberately, placed in a bedroom with the door shut to serve time for her murderous actions. Back in the living room Mom escorted the chipmunk outside, praying that some sunshine and fresh air would revive the innocent animal. On her way out the door Mom made more whimpering sounds than the cardiac arrested-critter.
There wasn't a single scratch on our furry intruder and not a drop of blood but, I'm said to report, the chipmunk didn't survive the run-in with Molly. Mom is convinced she died of shock.
To honor the fallen chipmunk she was placed underneath some trees in the front yard. No service was held.
In lieu of donations we are taking any offers for a new security system - one that sounds for chipmunk intruders.
Back in the house, on the other shut of a closed door, Molly employed her third, most pitiful bark. The "Remorse Bark." It is sounded slowly, with the lowest pitch of all Molly's barks and it is downright pathetic and sad. It is more of a whine than a bark really; a canine plea for forgiveness.As Molly cried on the other side of the door, barking to be released from her place of punishment and welcomed back into the family fold, I heard my own desperate cries for forgiveness.
Just like Molly, I have made fatal missteps that have resulted in spiritual death. My carelessness has trampled on life and squashed beauty. With reckless rebellion I have destroyed the vines of God's good fruit. I've been careless. I've been thoughtless. I've been heartless.
The sins I have committed have put me on the other side of a shut door, separated from God and all that is glorious about His presence. Trapped away in the torment of my sin I have missed the peace and serenity of being united with God. And I've cried. Oh, how I've cried. In tears I've fallen to my knees, longing to be set free from the punishment of my sin and released into the freedom of forgiveness.
From the other side of the door God has heard my plea. My cry of remorse has met His ear and He has come to set me free by the blood of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice has released me from the bondage of condemnation so I am not doomed for eternal punishment.
Once and for all Jesus died a death He didn't deserve to free me from a guilty verdict I did deserve. On the cross He opened the door, freed me and welcomed me back into His loving arms.
And don't worry, Molly's been forgiven and released, too.