He only weighs six pounds so his survival depends on vigilance. That’s why he watches feet.
My smallest chihuahua Andy is a plucky little guy who loudly defends our property, but feet are his focus. When we walk to the mailbox every day —quite a hike for Andy since our house is a quarter mile from the road— the other three dogs wander around the property, letting every new scent carry them to the next clump of grass. But Andy follows me, four feet behind, watching my feet as I lead him to the mailbox, then back to our front door.
In addition to avoiding the obvious danger of being stepped on, Andy’s habit is a response to an event that occurred years ago when he was very young.
Back then he only weighed three pounds, and we knew within an hour that he was gone. He didn’t come in from the backyard with the other dogs, and then we saw it—a small strip of fence where it didn’t reach quite all the way to the ground, just high enough for a rat or a small rabbit—or Andy—to slip under.
We went door-to-door. We called his name. We looked under every bush. No Andy.
By the time it got dark, I was getting frantic. We had to stop looking because it was too dark to see anything.
I made flyers that night and printed a hundred of them. Early the next morning, I went door-to-door, handing them out or attaching them to the resident’s door handles.
I just prayed that someone had found him. It had been around 50 degrees the night before, which is really cold for a chihuahua with little to no hair.
I took the day off from work and passed out flyers all day, going to every house within a two-mile radius. As I walked, I eyed the hawks circling overhead and tried not to think about how much Andy looked like a gray rat.
That night around 9 p.m. my melancholy mood was interrupted by a phone call. It was a neighbor who lived about two miles away. He’d seen our flyer and he’d just seen Andy! He was at a pond—really more of a swamp—near the man’s house. He tried calling to him, but Andy got frightened and ran away.
My husband and I jumped into the SUV and drove to the place Andy had been spotted, but he wasn’t there. We drove slowly down each street that surrounded the pond with the windows unrolled and called loudly for him.
Then my husband said, “Look behind us!” I looked and there was Andy, trotting behind the SUV as fast as his little stick legs would carry him, trying to catch up.
We had a joyful reunion. Andy celebrated with a chicken dinner—his favorite—which he gobbled down like a ravenous wolf.
And he never wandered away again.
Today I was reminded again of Andy’s focus on feet and thought what an excellent inspiration he is for all of us—and how we should follow Jesus the same way Andy follows me—with complete trust, knowing with certainty that no matter where I’m going, that’s where he wants to be.
I wanted to share his story, along with a poem I wrote, which was inspired by one of my favorite Bible passages:
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:21-2
The Feet to Watch
Watch my feet. Your trust will grow
and you will know which way to go.
Don’t try to find the road alone.
Don’t try to do it on your own.
Just pray and follow, I advise.
I’ll take you where your treasure lies.