Thursday, July 13, 2006


I watched him from afar for a long while before I determined he would not be a threat to my dogs, but when we resumed our evening walk, he came trotting across the street and started following us. I turned and quickly walked the dogs back home. I returned alone to see if he was wearing a collar and ID tag, although is was painfully obvious he was recently abandoned.

I watched him crawl on his belly and then slowly work his way across the street. He was younger than I thought, still a puppy, and in need of rescue. I tossed him a dog biscuit and he ran away.

As I sat on a concrete slab, wondering what to do, I prayed for someone who could help him. Even if I could catch him, it was not plausible to bring him in the house. What if he fought with the dogs, attacked one of the cats or had something contagious? His face was scraped, one eye barely open, and he had a skin problem – fleas, allergy or possibly mange. Where would I find money to pay the vet?

I heard a sound, turned and watched a young couple approach with their two dogs. The puppy leaped to his feet, raced across the street and joined the group. I followed them. When they turned to retrace their route, they asked if I knew who owned the puppy. I learned their yard is fenced and if the puppy followed them home, they would hold him and call Animal Control in the morning. I watched them continue down the sidewalk, breathing a sigh of relief my prayer was answered.

In a short while, the dogs and I set out to finish our aborted walk. We passed the street where the couple always turn left, walked once around a parking lot, turned toward home, and encountered the puppy running toward us from the side street. His tail wagged furiously as he bounded back and forth between the dogs. He wanted to come inside with the dogs but he was afraid to cross the threshold.

I gave him a short sponge bath on the porch. When he was finally inside, I put a used collar around his neck. Before retiring for the night, I took the dogs outside and discovered the puppy was not accustomed to a leash. He jumped backward, then stood ramrod still. Once coaxed inside again, he stood spraddle-legged, head stretched forward, immobile for a long while.

A short while later the exhausted pup was sound asleep on the floor at the foot of the bed. I knelt beside him with a pan of water and a bar of pine tar soap to clean the underside of his dirty, crusty neck, only his neck was not dirty. It was swollen, with wounds on his throat that were bleeding from the short time the collar rubbed against them.

Two mornings later, Little No Name (yes, I really called him that so I wouldn’t get attached to him) was named Samaritan. His name originates from the story in Luke 10, but not because I have any illusion of being a good Samaritan. As much as I love animals, I was a very reluctant rescuer in this instance, but taking care of this puppy has blessed me greatly. Samaritan has not growled, complained or refused to accept my help

I am mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted after nine years of assisting an iron-willed, elderly parent, one who desperately needs help but fights tooth and nail against even the smallest thing that should be done for her basic needs, comfort or safety. Often anger surpasses compassion on both our parts.

I was feeling lost, abandoned and confused with some wounds of my own that needed attention. After Samaritan’s name came into my mind, I began to realize that just as I was ministering physically to this puppy, God was ministering to my spirit, reminding me of His love and faithfulness.

I thought of how Jesus can be called the ultimate Good Samaritan. Often an unconverted man has to hit rock bottom before he will accept Jesus stopping to help him. Jesus binds his wounds and his sins are added to Jesus’ account, which He has already paid in full.

I could have called Animal Control and sent the puppy to the shelter where he would have lain, without hope of rescue, on a concrete floor until it was his turn to die. God could have left man to live and die in his sins, without hope of redemption or mercy. Instead, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful Savior!

1 comment:

Vicki said...

You *are* a sweet reflection of the Good Samaritan. Hugs and blessing to you today. I've been wondering how you are.