The Stray - Was It A Coincident?

On that Friday, a couple of weeks ago, I  never realized how bonded I would become with a stray dog that appeared in our yard. I was looking in the trunk of my car and the little dog jumped up to peer in. I started laughing at the implusiveness of my new stranger.She didn't wear a  dog identification collar so my husband, Frank and I were not sure what to do at the moment. We started by offering water to the thirsty traveler. Frank drove to the grocery store for dog food. The little stray's face looked like a fox with big brown eyes and her coat was the coloring of a German Shepherd. She had long thin legs. She was unusually sweet and gentle with an army of fleas to boot. She slept that first night on our front porch shaking, weak, and exhausted throughout the weekend.  She seemed relieved to rest. 

This dog was not beautiful or young. Her teeth were bad so I hand fed her soft table food. She had a long bushy tail that she kept tucked under her as though she was shy or afraid.  She spoke more of a misfit of a dog . A pure bred mutt some would say. As I noticed her shaking to stand up, I wondered if she had been dropped intentionally on our street or abused.  I remembered a calico cat had appeared in our yard a few years ago....hungry and nervous. My husband said, "If you feed her she will be yours!"  At first, I did not know I was also feeding 5 tiny kittens as she was pregnant. Wherever I went outside, Calico (her new name) followed me but her rules were: no touching, no petting, no affection from her to me or me to her.  She "blessed" us with 5 tiny kittens.  So unlike our new dog friend who was happy to be loved and returned the affection after only a day. So it was not unheard of that someone could have left this stray in our neighborhood on purpose.  

The grandchildren came for a vist on the first Monday of our stray's visit. This sparked her and she came to life. As I said, that entire weekend she had appeared too weak to get up but was responsive to our love.  Now she appeared full of life and alert, while swishing her bushy tail back and forth, she began  making happy noises. My oldest granddaughter suggested they name her.  After all, Grandma BC and Papa had a dog. I could not see any harm since she did not have a collar..... who knew if she was ours to keep. So Rachel (8) named her Suzzie/Sassy.  Julia (5) named her Shiloh and Jadon (3) named her "PiderMan" as in, "Hes name is Piderman, BC, ok?" 

After 8 days, and no response from anyone of a missing dog, we went to PetsSmart to get help with the fleas. Perhaps, she had a microchip. Long story short, they found the owner and she came to pick her up day 11.  I heard her crying a happy cry at 5 pm - the time the owner was due to arrive. Frank and I went outside and gave the rightful owner and her granddaughter our stray.  She seemed bonded to the granddaughter thus the response when she was around my grandchildren.  We discovered her name was Shiloh, the very name Julia had chosen for her. 

After Shiloh left, I responded to her departure with tears. We learned she lived far away from us and had bolted from their yard when the gate was opened. I understood that -  she ran into our busy street to seek out the curious, barking dog in the house across from us.  We learned that years earlier, she had been abused but rescued. The first owner found her in a shelter. The current owners explained that in May, Shiloh was bitten by a snake in the forest in back of their home. She almost died.  What a hard background for such a sweet, loving, gentle dog!   

I think our Heavenly Father's unconditional love for us is like that. His love is not limited by religion, age, beauty, status in life or even our good works. It is given freely because He is Our Father and He loves His children. Sometimes we become like this stray. We wander far from home and put ourselves in danger. Perhaps we have been abused or misunderstood. We feel God has let us down and we bolt from His guidance and care. We think we know what is best for us.  We have all "strayed" at one time or another. The Good News: God has His Hand on us and will lead us back to His loving care. Always! 

Let's remember that His arms are open wide to receive us with tenderness, His love is unconditional and pure, and His presence is safe. He designed you to be you!  You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), created with a heart shaped vacuum that only His love can fill.  My stray found her way back home with a little help. I hope we are never too prideful to ask for help.  I pray when we are lost or have strayed and God calls us .....we will respond quickly, "I am coming Father to the safety of your love!"

Brocato Publishing/Touching Heart....Changing Lives  LInda Rossetti Brocato  October 18, 2012   http://





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