We saw her a half mile or so from the house, wandering beside the road. Out in the country, where my family and I live, that is certainly nothing odd. No one pens up their dogs; no one really has to. There is plenty of room to roam and almost no traffic.
But this dog, I suspected, was one of the many that low-life dirt bags (bless their hearts) drop off in the country rather than fulfilling the responsibility they have to the adult dogs that were so cute when they were puppies. This happens way too often where I live, and years ago it's how we came by our two big Boxers, Amber and Rerun, who are no longer with us.
And when we passed by this bewildered looking pit bull, I knew there was a possibility that she belonged to some neighbor, but I knew that the greater likelihood was that she had been dumped.
I also knew that, if the past is any indication of the future, she would probably make her way to our house if she was, in fact, an abandoned dog. Sure enough, when we returned home after another typical 12-hour work day, she was waiting on our front porch. Along with Riley. Our other dog. A boy dog...
My three children immediately saw a fun new dog and enveloped her in a giant group hug. My wife and I immediately saw every conceivable problem. She was clearly female, which meant puppies. She was clearly a pit bull, and their reputation certainly precedes them, rightful or not. We immediately told them that we would need to find her a home.
A female pit bull? Good luck with that.
The dog, though, was simply amazing. She proved to be as gentle and soft as a cotton ball, as patient as Job and utterly obedient to each command. Furthermore, Riley was already planning a wedding, it seems. But Dana and I were resolute - a home must be found for the dog.
A few days later, I kept hearing the word "Oreo." How do kids come up with names like that, and how do they do it so quickly? And how exactly does one go about ridding himself of a dog named Oreo?
We were finally down to only one other option, sending her to animal control, where we knew that the sad reality is that she would eventually be put down.
And so, Oreo has a home. Ours. We did not plan on it, we were not looking for it, but it is what it is. Actually, it is even more than that. Matthew 10:29 says "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father."
It is not just that God "sees each sparrow that falls," this verse says that they do not fall without him being there. In some tangible way, God is actually there to comfort even the birds of the field when they hurt.
This lets me know two things. One, that he will always be there for me and for you. And two, he expects us to be there for others, even scared, bewildered animals.
Not everyone has the space or time or resources to take in a stray. Sometimes even we cannot do so. But this time we did. We also had her "fixed," so we do not need to worry about even more mouths to feed.
Our kids are now thoroughly attached, as is Riley. And so, Oreo is off the market. She does not need a home anymore; she is home.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C. and the author of several books, which are available at www.wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.