Saturday, April 10, 2010



Most everyone knows the words to a few western songs. Hum some bars of “Home On The Range” and everyone on your commuter bus over 30 will be able to chime in with “where the deer and the antelope play.” They might also know why it’s important to get “back in the saddle again” because that’s “back where a friend is a friend.” And many have heard “get along little dogie.”

However, some pronounce it ‘little dawgies’ instead of ‘doughies.’ That’s because they don’t understand the word’s origin. A dogie is a scrubby calf that has not wintered well. It’s anemic from the scant food of the cold months. According to a cowboy this calf has lost his mammy and his daddy ran off with another cow. They first got their name in the harsh winters of the 1880s when orphan calves, starving to death, ran around with stomachs so disfigured they looked like they carried wads of sourdough in their bellies. “Dough-guts,” they were called...and since unbranded and orphaned calves could be claimed by any rancher, dough-guts soon slipped to dogies in the vernacular. 

Dogie is not a bad description for followers of Jesus. The Bible claims there's "not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble" (1 Corinthians 1:26). No one's a great catch for Christianity, according to heaven’s standards. But God considers you a treasure anyway. In fact, he scurries around the countryside hunting for spiritual dogies.

The western cattleman perceived more than a scrawny stray when he spied a dogie. He recognized the potential for a fine herd, once they were fed, watered, rested. God sees you the same. Rather than roam a vast spiritual desert, on the verge of perishing alone and abandoned, God seeks you, rounds you up, and makes you his own.

Stephen Bly



Trinity Rose said...

Hi Steve,
I liked the way you compared us to sickly/small calves. So very true. I don't know many cowboy terms, but have learned many reading your posts.
Trinity Rose

Stephen Bly said...

Wanda: Thanks for the note. It's amazing how many cowboy terms can apply to the spiritual journey.