Thursday, August 17, 2006


“Come on, Merci, that’s just a bird,” I told my dog when she stopped walking and started yelping with excitement at the faint cries coming from a large bush. I tried to pull Merci away from the fence but she stood her ground against the pressure of the leash.

I have been fooled too many times by a bird call that sounds like a small kitten, but this time everything about Merci’s demeanor screamed kitten. So I waited and slowly the cries grew louder. Finally, a tiny head appeared, barely visible, between the grass and the bottom of the bush.

I rushed Merci up the street to the mill entrance, popped my head in the front door and called to the receptionist behind the counter to have someone meet me at that particular area to rescue a kitten. After racing home to grab a cat carrier, we arrived back near the bush.

A man wearing heavy work gloves and a woman came from the building. He located the kitten, walked over to the nearest gate, unlocked it and handed the crying kitten to me. Merci whined, barked and jumped with excitement. I placed the tiny kitten in the carrier, thanked the folks for their help, and started home.

A woman exited the office and stopped beside her car to watch us pass – or rather to watch Merci pass. Merci’s eyes sparkled, her mouth was open wide, and everything about her announced, I’m one proud and happy dog! Her feet barely touched the ground as she lifted her feet high and pranced.

At home, I sat down, and removed the crying kitten from the carrier. He could not be more than three or four weeks old. Immediately, Merci leaped onto my lap and began to bathe his face and body. This was her rescued kitten, and she would provide him with everything – except meals.

He was named Perseverance a few days later, partly in honor of Merci’s perseverance to rescue him and partly because perseverance is a trait God wants to nurture and mature in each of us.

We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character. Romans 5:3-4

Perseverance is a big name for a tiny kitten, so his name was shortened to Percy. Percy followed Merci around, curled up with her, purred and kneaded the way contented kittens do, and spent much of his time in her company. Today, two years later, he retains a special affection for his canine rescuer.

Why am I writing an animal story (again!) for a Christian web site? Because God is constantly using these animals to teach me spiritual lessons.

Percy would have died if Merci had allowed my tugging on her leash to divert her attention away from the kitten in need of help. It is highly unlikely anyone else would have passed by the area and recognized the tiny cries. And if anyone did, he would likely have shrugged and thought there was nothing he could do since the kitten was inside a fenced commercial property.

At various times, human beings need help too. Sometimes I suffer silently or struggle to resolve everything on my own. Other times I cry out for help, but those within earshot are too busy or preoccupied with their own problems to listen and recognize the need of a friendly gesture or a listening ear.

And I can be just as deaf, dumb and blind to the needs of others. Sometimes I am powerless to respond, just as I would have been powerless to help the kitten if the mill had been closed when Merci discovered him.

But even when I am unable to offer constructive or necessary assistance, I am not without the ability to help others. I can pray and trust God to fill their needs.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for the saints. Ephesians 6:18

There is a joy in helping others, whether through prayer, requested advice, financial assistance, physical labor, an investment of time, or encouragement.

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