I SAVED A LIFE TODAY. A dog’s life. It was inconvenient. But she’s now our born-again dog.
Four-year-old Maisie (MAY-zee) should have died first thing this morning. My wife and I found out about it late last night. Our daughter told us that one of her neighbors was going to put down their four-year-old pup. That’s because she had been acting anxious and tearing things up.
We already have one rescue dog in the house. Buddy is a 12-year-old black lab near the end of his trail. He may have a year or two left in him. About a decade ago, my wife stopped to help him when she saw him, as a stray, get hit hard by two cars. No one but my wife claimed him.
It will hurt when he’s gone. But I’ve been anticipating the freedom of life without a dog.
“No-sir to a dead dog”
But when I heard about Maisie, I said, “No, we’ve got to do something about that.”
Putting down an otherwise healthy four-year-old pup sounds like the last thing we should do, after all else is exhausted.
And I’m not yet exhausted. Just tired.
The owners are schoolteachers who just returned to teaching, after having the summer off. For all I know, Maisie could have been complaining about being left home alone.
Good Samaritan son-in-law
My son-in-law talked with Maisie’s “dad,” suggesting an alternative.
Both teachers left for school this morning.
My son-in-law sent my wife and I a text message:
“Looks like you got yourself a dog.”
My daughter collected Maisie and all her earthly possessions and she brought it all to me.
A fleeting thought in those moments: The day I left home to drive 800 miles away. My little Ford Maverick held everything I owned.
“Buddy, here comes your little sister”
I had told Buddy he was getting a little sister, and he’ll need to be patient with her.
Maisie was excited. I know because she peed in my living room.
I’m told this isn’t normal for her. Time will tell.
Actually, it was just half a pee. It was a pee interrupted. By me.
Since then, we’ve been taking a lot of short breaks to go outside.
Eye contact, new dog-new “daddy”
At lunchtime, I went to the kitchen to make a sandwich. Maisie followed me around, stopping where I stopped, and going when I went.
There was a moment, though, when she looked right up into my eyes. Tail wagging, tongue hanging out and dripping—hers, not mine. Do dogs smile? It looked like a smile.
I thought, “You would have been dead by now, and in the fire.”
But I said,
“Maisie, this is the first day of the rest of your life.”
As I type these words in my home office, old Buddy is sleeping downstairs in his usual spot, guarding our house at the front door, where he can see the entire cul-de-sac.
Maisie is guarding me. She’s sleeping five feet away, with her nose pointed in my direction.
Looking for a Bible verse?
If you’ve been looking for a connection to the Bible in this feature, you’re disappointed by now. There’s nothing in the Bible about being kind to dogs.
I do know that Philistines ate them. Dog bones etched with carving scars have shown up in Philistine archaeological digs.
Dogs also show up as bad players in parables, psalms, and proverbs:
“Getting mixed up in someone else’s argument,
Is dumber than yanking on a stray dog’s ears” (Proverbs 26:17, Casual English Bible).
Mind your business
The easiest thing to do would have been to mind my own business.
That’s what you might think.
But Maisie was my business.
She was my business the moment my daughter told me what was going to happen to her this morning.
Maisie’s “dad” and “mom” are within my circle of influence because they are friends of my daughter and son-in-law. I can affect their lives. And, as it turns out, they can and they have affected my life. So far, for the better. Maisie is buoyant and cheerful, happy in exploring, peaceful in resting, and lucky to be alive.
Fleeting moments of opportunity
There are moments that come and flee quickly. In those few hours, minutes, or seconds, we have a short window of opportunity to do something or to do nothing.
I want to live by a rule I heard from a friend and a writing mentor of mine long ago, Gene Van Note. He may have heard it from someone else, since Gene was a preacher and we know preachers copy:
“When you aren’t sure what to do,
Do the loving thing.”
At this point, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to do with Maisie. I haven’t had much instruction on that. Keep her? Calm her? Give her away?
The loving thing could be any of those.
But go ahead, take a good look at her picture and then predict her future.
Peace to you.
Open to heartbreak?
- For the love of a dog. The story of the only dog I ever had to help put down.
More to read
- Dogs get a bad rap in the Bible. PUPPIES ARE A NO-SHOW in the Bible. Nothing canine cute and cuddly makes an appearance there.