I realized the amazing connections we have with our canine friends after a tongue in cheek piece called the Canine School of Evangelism became one the most read ramblings in the brief history of this blog. A follow up dog story about the Touch of the Master was also well received by readers.
It reaffirmed what I have been saying for years. I need to combine my dog stories with other Christian best seller titles in order to get enough book sales to retire. So I have begun work today on "The Power of Praying for Purpose Driven Dogs who are Left Behind." Finally I will get some shelf space at the local Christian chain store! (Note to spiritual hall monitors: I am joking. I don't write Christian books to generate income to retire. However, I wouldn't mind getting enough to pay Baylor University tuition). The following story generated a lot of response. Here is the original piece.
I had decided to take a break from the dog days of my blog creative but a recent development from scenic Waco, Texas, changed my mind. It started innocently enough with a phone call from youngest son, Baylor student, and dog lover Brett. He had spotted three abandoned puppies along the side of the road and he stopped to try and help them. Two ran off but he managed to round up one of them. Brett called to let me know that he intended to bathe, feed, care for the dog, and then take him to the Humane Society on Monday for adoption. I knew I was in trouble when Brett decided to let me know what his rescued puppy looked like. This arrived via cell phone messaging.
I called the lovely Mrs.Burchett. "He is working me," I told her. "He is falling in love with this dog." On Sunday I was driving through Waco and I stopped to see Brett and his alleged short term friend. The way this puppy followed Brett around and looked at him was astounding. He appeared to sense that Brett was, for him, the canine version of Amazing Grace. That dog seemed to understand that he once was lost, and now was found. Maybe if we remembered our dramatic rescue along the side of the sin road to destruction we might gaze at our Rescuer more consistently with that same look of adoration. But now we had a bigger problem. I started falling in love with this improbable mutt. I took my own camera photo to show to Joni.
I laughed with her and we realized that our family dog population had likely just increased. Brett was scheduled to take "Trigger" to the vet for shots and a checkup on Monday since the Humane Society/adoption thing had fallen off the radar. On Monday another phone call came. Trigger had become violently ill overnight. The scourge of all abandoned puppies seemed to have attacked this sweet little ragamuffin mutt. Trigger had probably contracted the parvovirus. Brett's words were heartbreaking in their honesty and love.
"Dad, I don't think he is going to make it. But at least he knew he was loved for a few days."
Okay…I cried at Old Yeller. I am a soft touch. But that remark from my youngest touched my heart and made me think that this is a microcosm of ministry. Sometimes it is heartbreaking. The results don't always match our desires. But if we can love the down and out like Jesus at least they know they have been loved and they will know the source of that love.
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'
"Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' Matt 25 - NLT
The results are not guaranteed when you minister to the least of these. But when we do minister to the least of these we show them the very face of Jesus. The lyrics from the group Casting Crowns fit nicely here.
Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus
Trigger spent the next two weeks on intravenous drip at the veterinary hospital. Modern medicine and a sizable MasterCard limit saved his life.
Update: Trigger is now a year and a half old. Here is recent photo of “Trig” after a three mile hike with his buddy Brett.
As you can see Trigger is assembled from spare dog parts. Terrier ears, Labrador body, and a tongue from the Odd Lots store.
Here is Brett and Trig chillin’ and enjoying a little fellowship. Sometimes we just need someone to come alongside us when we are on the wrong road. Trigger is a ragamuffin mutt saved by a young man who loved him. It was worth the effort. Pray that you will be sensitive to people who are left on the side of the sin road to fend for themselves. Maybe they just need to know they are loved. And that the source of that love is Jesus.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.