My poodle wants to be a bird. He has a fascination with hawks, who also have a fascination with him. Every time I let him outside, the hawks get excited and start swishing and swooshing, and CJ gets excited and wags his tail and watches them like they’re coming for a play date.

I don’t think a play date is exactly what they have in mind. They’re looking for their next meal, and he’s the perfect size for a family-style buffet.

I looked up “how to protect your dog from hawks” online. Apparently I can stay with him every moment, or I can buy him a tent. I thought about dying his hair, since his white curls make him a target, but I’m not sure that will help. They know he’s here. If they see a little brown dog, they’ll just think CJ has a brother.

I put him in a little camouflage hand-me-down doggie coat. It belonged to his big brother who killed our chickens and now lives with a nice, poultry-free family in the city. The camo jacket seems to help a little, but he still needs a human to stand outside with him. Kind of a pain. But, I love my dog.

My son also loves CJ. But he learned an important lesson the other day. CJ scratched on the door, so Man-child let him out. First, he took CJ’s coat off because it was warm outside. Then he went back to his video game.

About ten minutes later, Man-child looked out the window. There, across the back fence, was CJ. Above CJ was a hawk, circling in, getting closer and closer. And CJ looked up in sheer puppy delight, turning round and round in circles with the hawk as if that bird was his great-Uncle Hal come to visit.

Man-child looked around for his BB gun, remembered hawks are a protected species, and slammed out the back door and down the steps. In a Superman-meets-IronMan-meets-NFL quarterback move that could have won him an Emmy, he dove across the fence and gathered up CJ just as Uncle Hal swooped in for the kill. Man-child ran back in the house, CJ close to his chest, while the hawk screamed words that are definitely too graphic to print here.

The whole incident reminds me that we all have a predator. He wants to get his claws into us, carry us away, and eat us alive. Like CJ, I often don’t recognize the danger. Instead, I watch him circle and wag my tail, thinking he’s harmless, that he just wants to play.

He teases and calls me with fascinating loops and swirls. He lures me into his talons with promises of greatness. He tells me I’m justified in my anger, that I have every right to be unforgiving. And with every lie I believe, he takes another bite out of my spirit. If I’m not careful, he’ll eat me alive. When will I learn to be alert, to recognize the danger hiding in every wrong choice I make?

But I have a hero who sees it all. When I call to Him, He is there. Even when I don’t call, He watches, waiting to swoop in and rescue me. As a matter of fact, the rescue has already taken place. I just need to cling to Him, and I’ll be safe. 

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at