Sunday, January 25, 2009


Panda, Hope and I have been enjoying excursions to the Bark Park since last July when I purchased their required “Pooch Passes.” One frigid, 24 degrees morning, I donned my long johns, insulated socks, and boots, grabbed a hat and gloves, and loaded my eager, fur-clad companions into the car.

Panda is always uncontrollably excited when she recognizes the Bark Park and I have to let her out of the car first. Hope, on the other hand, waits patiently for her turn. I leashed Panda and she pulled me over the icy pavement to the park entrance. The gate has a keyed entry, but it was standing wide open.

Panda dragged me to the second gate and sniffed the fragrant ground as I unhooked her leash and released her into the park. I turned to leave to retrieve my other retriever—and my gloves, hat, and cell phone—and discovered that the gate had swung shut. I grasp the handle, but it didn’t budge. So I stuck my key in the keyhole and was puzzled that the lock didn’t open. “Maybe the lock is frozen,” I hypothesized, so I removed my key and tried again. No luck.

There I stood, shivering: no hat or gloves; no cell phone by which to call for help; nobody in sight to rescue us. I had visions of my thirteen year old dog freezing to death, paws frozen to the ground. What to do? Against my better judgment, I decided to climb out.

This is quite a dilemma for someone who is klutzy, afraid of heights, and recently underwent microfractive knee surgery. But I rose to the challenge, driven by panic, frigid air, and stinging, snowy mist. My “Center for Fight or Flight Operations” took over, flooding me with adrenaline and reducing my brain to that of a cave woman fighting for her life.

Facing my Mt. Everest—a six foot chain link gate—I began my ascent: right foot on lower gate hinge; left foot on support bar; s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g up; left hand grasping top of left gatepost; right hand grabbing the chain link. Utterly amazed, I heaved myself atop the gate.

“Now what do I do?” I’d only thought of how to ascend, never dreaming I’d make it this far. With my right leg dangling, my left leg scraped across the chain link, throwing my weight over and down. Gravity claimed me, and unbelievably, I landed on my feet. Granted, my landing was not graceful, but I’m certain that angels were involved. With the assistance of a very nice man at the Animal Shelter, I retrieved my senior retriever and all was well.

This adventure got me thinking about when it’s my time to approach the Pearly Gates. I believe that the Gate himself will be there to welcome me with open arms.

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
He will come in and go out, and find pasture."
John 10:9 NIV

1 comment:

conarnold said...

It seems like we're given extra strength and courage at times, and I'm sure your angels were watching over you! Glad you and your dog survived safely and you shared this insight of passing through the Gate!