Coyote tracks in the snow

Of Dogs and Coyotes

Our dog went out for her bedtime ritual the other night, and it wasn’t long before she was barking like mad to be let back inside. What on earth was going on out there?

I let her back in and put on my glasses to peer into the darkness. I noticed a large tawny coat just outside the fenceline. Was that a deer? We don’t see those around here! How exciting!

No, wait. It was clearly not a deer.

It was a large coyote, nonplussed by my barking dog or even the back porch light shining into the darkness.

Hubby went out the next day to learn that the coyote had been tracking dinner, in the form of a rabbit. Both had left tracks in the snow, making it easy to read their story. From our vantage point, it seems the bunny got away . . . this time.

I took my phone out and grabbed pictures of the tracks of both the dog and the coyote. Can you tell the difference?

What I thought was interesting is the way the footprints copy the behavior of each animal.

The coyote prints are neat and tight, and would almost perfectly fit in a teardrop outline. The dog prints are a bit messier, with the side toes more spread out.

The tracks themselves show the same–in a neat line for the coyote, who had somewhere to be; and all over the place for the dog, who was just checking things out here, there, and everywhere (until company showed up, that is!).

Coyotes are focused on survival. House dogs don’t have quite the same drive behind their behavior. Dogs may focus on pleasing their owner to get what they want, but it’s usually for the sake of a treat, not survival itself.

People Tracks

If we left visible footprints everywhere we went, what would they say about us? We may not leave tracks for others to read, but we do lead lives in front of an audience. What do they read by watching us as we journey along?

Are we focused or haphazard?

Are we self-controlled or impulsive?

Do we fight for “survival” (such as climbing the ladder of success to get more things in life) or trust our Master to provide what we need?

Our “tracks” are also left in our schedules and our bank accounts.

Where do we prioritize spending our time? Where does our money go first?

Now it’s your turn!

If your life left tracks in the snow, what would they say about the life you live and the priorities you hold dear? Would they be worthy of following?

One final thought from Paul:

Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Philippians 3:17-20 NLT

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