This week has been full of unexpected occurrences. Illness, broken water pipes, no water for a day, even a stray horse on the property. Yes, horse. It’s happened a few times. They are actually more welcome than the stray dogs. Dog drop-offs happen too frequently. Runaways, too. It seems they all like to come here. The worst time was when a stray actually killed one of Marie’s goats. I was furious. I’d called four different authorities in the area who all pled, “Not Our Responsibility.” The sheriff told me that the dog would actually have to be in the act of hurting a human before he could do anything.
I loaded the blood-stained dog into the car and took it into town to leave it at the (“too full of dogs”) Humane Society. I must have been a picture. Blood on my hands and trousers as well as the dog. I was told I could take it to the veterinarian who would euthanize it; they would call ahead. I have to admit I felt bad for the dog. It was pretty nice to humans. But in my head I could hear the sound of Marie’s voice as I saw her running over the hill toward the little goat she’d kidded just a few months before. Mother’s fury returned. I took the dog through the doors of the facility and asked if the Humane Society had called ahead. A pretty girl behind the counter perked up, “Oh, you’re Sharon’s Mom! I worked with Sharon. Oh, hey, that’s the Pastor’s dog! We know him!”
It took a few seconds to register that this was the dog of our new neighbor who was in the process of building a church at the end of our road. “We have to get the Pastor’s permission first,” the pretty girl informed me. I left the dog and headed straight for his old church. I was praying. I didn’t want to cause a scene. I’m actually not great with confrontation. The Pastor was there. He was counting the many Saran wrapped pies that must have been for a bake sale, lined on tables just inside the door. He reached out his hand with a friendly smile. Conscious of the impact of my appearance, I told him in a calmer, almost apologetic tone about the gory details. I asked him to allow the vet to euthanize his pet. I was really upset on so many levels. I had a picture in my head of the Pastor and Fido sitting before a crackling fire, Pastor with his pipe and Bible, Fido with his squeaky toy on the braided rug.
The picture of Marie and her goat returned. The Pastor was understanding and sorry and offered to pay for the goat. “No, no, not necessary.“…I couldn’t wait to get back in my van! To tell the truth I hoped the Pastor had a friend in another state with a fenced yard who would take the dog. Whenever I passed his home and new church site I felt discomfort. I knew he was a good man. I also knew that what I had asked for was not out of the question. The discomfort dissolved when the dog showed up on our road a month later. Bruce called the Pastor. He’d given the dog to someone. Unfortunately, that someone was working on his church and bringing the dog with him. Mother’s protective instinct came back full force and I jumped in the car and drove to the site. I think God must put pretty young girls and Pastors and even elderly little old ladies between me and making a complete fool of myself.
I had to help a little elderly woman up the slope to get to the construction site. She was sweet and excited about the first visit to her new church. I calmed. The confrontation was not bad. I asked the man to please keep his dog tied or not to bring it with him because it had a history with our goats. He was nice and proceeded to tell me it was a sweet dog with people. But then he told me he’d found out that the dog had been bred to fight and had even killed some other dogs. Oh, great.
Such is life in the country. Marie did better than I with the episode. She understands life well for her age. Thankfully, we haven’t seen the dog since. So…a stray horse is no problem, even if it’s a stallion with his mares (that has happened, too). God allows these annoying thorns in our lives. Seems they come pretty regularly, here. But we are here for Him. Growing up we learned the answer to the question “Why are we here?” It is: “To know and to love and to serve God in this life and in the next.” The thorns build character and virtue for His plan and His glory. I pray that pretty girls and Pastors and little old ladies are thrown liberally in my thorny path.
God bless you,