It was the day after Thanksgiving. Our nephew (now serving in Irag) had spent the night. He and our oldest son went for a walk to the pond near our house. About 30 minutes later, our son came to the door saying, “Dad? Can you come here?” I knew SOMETHING was up! I SHOULD have known! I came out into the yard, where the boys were playing with a dog…one which I had NEVER seen before! (I failed to mentioned thus far, but our son is a MAGNET for lost/stray dogs! They can somehow…SMELL him! And NO, it’s not a hygiene issue!) They said (oh, don’t be coy! YOU know what they said!), “He followed us home! Can we keep him?!” I believe I broke the speed of light with how fast I answered, “No!” I then flipped to page 67 in the parent handbook and quoted, “We already HAVE a dog! I’m sure he didn’t actually FOLLOW you- you called him! He already has a home!” and any other pithy sayings I could think of! But, at the end of the day, my son knows that I’m a softy at heart. At the time, we lived next to a very busy road- I couldn’t just leave the dog to his own devices. SO…we began walking him around the neighborhood, door-to-door, asking people if he was their dog. (I have NEVER had more doors shut in my face…even when I sold life insurance “back in the day”!) Eventually, we came back WITH the dog…which the boys had named Chip. I said, “No! Don’t NAME him! Ooohhhhh, I CAN’T believe you named him! Take it back! Take it back!” Because we all know, once they name the animal, the end is near! So, we decided to take the dog in the house and try to figure out what to do with him. However, we had a problem. Unlike my son, the dog DID have a hygiene problem…he smelled BAD! So (remember, I SAID I was a softy!), I took him into the bathroom and…bathed him! Yeah, I know- you don’t have to say it! I got done, started to dry him off…and if anything, he smelled WORSE than before. So, I did what any manly man would do in that circusmstance- I bathed him again! Didn’t help! Now we had a lost, smelly dog that no one would claim. To make matters worse, it was the day after Thanksgiving, so the county animal control folks were off until Monday! But then…I caught a break! The county Humane Society said that, IF we would bring him in, within the next 45 minutes, they would take him. I threw him in the car and sped off! When we got there, the first thing they did was get out their scanner. They found that he had a (ready?) CHIP implanted in his neck, (look back at the name the boys gave him!) so they would be able to find his owner. We left, congratulating each other on a job well done!
Now fast-forward about 2 weeks. I pick up the St. Louis paper (we were living in the area at the time) and find an article about a St. Louis Rams player- DeMarco Farr- who had one of his two stolen dogs returned to him recently. I thought, “Oh, what a coincidence- we FOUND a dog recently…small world!” Then I read on and the world got smaller. The dog, Tazz, had been missing from his St. Louis County home for some time over a year, and had turned up in the Belleville, Illinois Humane Society the day after Thanksgiving! Authorities said that the dog was brought in by a man and his son, but they didn’t believe he was the man who STOLE THE DOG! I thought, “I went from hero to suspect AWFULLY quickly there!”
Do you ever find yourself in a position where you have the ability to step out of your comfort zone and do something for someone else who is in need? Do you sometimes find your “inner voice” saying, “Someone else will come along and do this- I don’t want to get involved.” What if everyone said that? What if it was YOUR dog, or kid, or spouse, or mother, who needed help? Puts it in different perspective, doesn’t it? Now- DON’T put yourself at unecessary risk, BUT…if you stumble upon someone who needs help, and you CAN help them…do so. Don’t do it in an effort to recieve accolades and awards. Do it simply because it’s the right thing to do. God calls us to extend a hand to others in the name of Jesus Christ! Have a great Sunday, share this with your friends (especially if you are friends with DeMarco Farr), and stick with Jesus!