Hire
Writers
Editors
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Join Faith
Writers
Forum
My Account Login
Shop
Save
Support
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  

Get Our Daily Devotional             Win A Publishing Package             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge

BACK TO
CHALLENGE
MAIN

INSTRUCTIONS

how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level

ENTRIES

submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners



Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.





TRUST JESUS TODAY

TRY THE TEST



Share
how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: The Guardian of the Neighborhood
By Michelle Knoll
05/19/08


 LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
 SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
 ADD TO MY FAVORITES

He came into our lives quite accidentally. Watching for my brother from behind the Akersí house, he would come trotting out as soon as his target was spotted. The connection between the boy and dog was clear: with the paper deposited on the Akers' front porch, Barney would then follow my brother on the rest of his paper route.

They made an interesting couple, my brother and the dog, walking those streets side by side. Barney's gate was a curious sight. I was always fascinated at the fact that he could walk a straight line with a body that wasn't... straight. From behind, one could see that his front legs and back legs didn't line up with each other. We finally figured out that he must have chased one too many cars, and possibly was caught by a few!

Day after day, week after week, Barney would remain faithful to his calling. Finally, when Barney had followed my brother home too many times, the Akers relented and said we could keep him. So the guardian of our neighborhood became the guardian of our house.

It took one long, hard winter to convince our dad that Barney did truly need to stay inside, far away from the cold night air. After all, he was a short-haired mutt, some cross between a St. Bernard and a German Shepherd, and something we couldn't quite make out -- probably beagle -- what with his short legs and all. But he was all dog, and all ours, and everyone in the family loved him. Everyone that is, except for my cat Cosmo. But then Cosmo didn't take kindly to many people... or animals...

But every afternoon, just like clockwork, Barney would assume his post of "right hand man" as my brother filled his paper satchel and commenced walking his route. Four blocks of houses, every afternoon, were greeted by a young boy and his dog. They walked and talked, walked and whistled, walked and tossed papers onto porches. I'm sure the two furry ears on that faithful warrior carried a great many secrets that my brother never told anyone else.

He wasn't one to create "situations" but he was one to finish them. There was one particular German Shepherd in the neighborhood, though not a member of the four blocks, that always irritated Barney. One day, the offending canine decided to wander into our yard. Baring teeth, and making noises that would scare the toughest of horror-movie watchers, Barney met the intrusion with determination, even though he was much smaller and shorter than the offending breed. The confrontation lasted only a few minutes, thanks to my brother, and Barney emerged unscathed. Well, almost unscathed. He lived the rest of his life with scars from one hole in each of his floppy ears... and a hole in his head (though not through his skull).

The days of walking the paper route eventually ended for my brother. We all became busy with the next stage of our lives, and began doing other things in the afternoons after school. However, one day I noticed that Barney was missing. Asking my brother where Barney could be, he looked at me quizzically, but had no answer. After an hour had passed by, we both decided we should start looking. Heading back toward the Akers' house, we caught sight of Barney on the next block over. Calling to him, we noticed that he stopped and looked at us, but didn't come when he saw us. Instead, he continued down the road. Puzzled, we decided we would follow him to see what he was doing.

After a few minutes, it dawned on us what was taking place. He was walking the old paper route! After asking around, we found out from neighbors that he actually walked the route every day, just as he had with my brother. Sometimes he was early, and sometimes he was late (which actually mimicked the way the papers had been delivered, much to my brothers chagrin), but he was there, all the same.

The faithful guardian, the lone sentinel, Barney remained until many years later, when he became too old to fulfill his daily mission. When arthritis set in harshly enough, Barney would take his post in front of the family television set, look up from his resting position and smile, while weakly wagging his tail. But that was alright; he had earned his discharge, and it was honorable.


The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE

JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.


This article has been read 344 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marita Vandertogt05/23/08
I absolutely love this story... great characterization for Barney.. and it tugged at my heartstrings when he continued to walk the paperroute on his own. Well written and nicely done!
Laury Hubrich 05/24/08
I loved this story, too. Very nice job! One thing, though. You need to fix the word gate. It should be gait when talking about how the dog walked. I loved your ending. Very nice writing!
Laury
Coleene VanTilburg 05/27/08
I have read most of the stories from this level, and this one is definetly a favorite. The continuance of the routine reminds me of an idiom: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." It also reminds me of discipline, and faithfulness. We should learn things from our pets! I loved the ending as well; paying tribute to the "Gaurdian." thank you.
Coleene VanTilburg 05/27/08
I have read most of the stories from this level, and this one is definetly a favorite. The continuance of the routine reminds me of an idiom: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." It also reminds me of discipline, and faithfulness. We should learn things from our pets! I loved the ending as well; paying tribute to the "Gaurdian." thank you.
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Congratulations on taking 7th place in your level with this piece, Michelle!
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Whoops correction. You took 6th place! Even better! :)
Michelle Knoll 05/30/08
Thanks to one an all for the great comments. Yes, I should have checked the use of the word "gate"! Oops... Anyway, thanks for all the great encouragement.
Norma-Anne Hough 05/31/08
What a beautiful story. He must have been a wonderful companion for your brother.