The February cold, damp air was chilling as I stepped out of the bakery. The sky was grey and dusk was gently falling over this French village near the Swiss border. I walked briskly, anticipating the warmth, good food, and a warm bed at my friends’ home. I was also trying not to mull over a deep hurt I had recently experienced, suffering that just wouldn’t go away.
All of a sudden I noticed to my left a black cocker spaniel walking slowly on the sidewalk, clumps of crusty balls of snow hanging from his belly. He obviously had crossed a field of snow and seemed to be lost. He looked up at me with big, beautiful, brown eyes. I looked up and down the street. There was no one anywhere in sight. He was wearing a collar with an ID tag so I decided to take him to the hairdresser in the center of town. He called the number for me but no one answered. He left a message. He said he could keep the dog outside in a shed until the owner called back. “What if the owners don’t call back?” I thought. “He could stay outside in the cold all night.”
I decided to take him home with me hoping my friends wouldn’t mind. They were gracious and gave him some food. He settled himself under the kitchen table.
Later that evening I called the number on the ID tag. There was still no answer. I contacted different people in the neighborhood to ask if they knew the owners. Two people suggested I go to the Town Office in the morning to see if anyone had reported a missing dog. One person gave me specific instructions to take the route through the countryside. These instructions stayed in my mind for the rest of the evening. For some reason I knew taking this route was important.
My friend told me he could stay the night but she would take him to the animal shelter in the morning. He slept on my bedroom floor, and during the night from time to time he came to the side of the bed. I caressed his head. I felt badly that he would have to go to the shelter. "Please Lord, intervene so that he doesn’t have to go there,” I prayed.
Early the next morning I set out for the Town Office, following the instructions to go through the countryside. As we were walking along, I saw a woman in the distance walking towards us. She started to run! “Guismond, Guismond!” she cried out excitedly. She knew him! She ran towards us overjoyed to see him! “Where have you been Guismond?" she said chiding him gently. She told me the owners had gone away on vacation and she was looking after him. Somehow he had managed to get away. She had hardly slept all night wondering where he was. Had he fallen into a slough? Was he in the cold all night? How would she tell the three children their pet was lost? She said she too had prayed. There, in the French countryside, the Lord answered our prayers. She took the route they normally took hoping she would find him. I was instructed to take that route.
I was very aware that God cared about Guismond. The woman said he had been abused and abandoned by his previous owner and had spent time in the pet shelter. God cared about this woman and the children. He also cared about me. My concern for Guismond helped me to take my eyes off my own suffering.
(C) Marilyn Tocker all rights reserved. Use with proper credits