Mrs. Abbott was getting up in years, but somehow she managed to take her toy poodle FooFoo for a walk almost every day, in every season. On several days in the summer, FooFoo would sport a precious pink bow on her collar, matching a pink bow on Mrs. Abbott’s straw hat. Curiously, Mrs. Abbott’s curly silver-white hair perfectly matched FooFoo’s white, tight hair springs.
I always admired Mrs. Abbott’s faith in God. Her love for the Lord obviously motivated her to keep going, after losing Mr. Abbott to a heart attack 20 years prior. I appreciated Mrs. Abbott’s presence in the neighborhood, and I always tried to be a blessing to her. She lived just a few blocks away from me.
Every time Mrs. Abbott walked FooFoo past my home, I stopped her, and we chatted.
That last day in the spring was no different.
“Fine day for a walk, it is… God’s been good to me and FooFoo over the years, He has... God always makes a way, He does.”
“Yes, He does.” I didn’t want to say much more, because I noticed FooFoo was badly limping, favoring one foot. The dog didn’t look well at all. Concerned, I asked, “Is FooFoo okay?”
“Oh, child—FooFoo doesn’t have long for this ol’ world.” With tears, she bent down, and scooped up FooFoo in her arms.
“Here, let me help you.”
I carried FooFoo for Mrs. Abbott back to her house.
She repeated herself as we said our goodbyes, “God’s been good to me and FooFoo over the years, He has.”
FooFoo died that night while Mrs. Abbott slept.
That summer, I decided to get a puppy. I loved Brittany Spaniels as a child, so I thought Why not? and purchased a precious little boy spaniel, whom I promptly named Spencer.
Spencer the Brittany Spaniel--kind of had a cute ring to it. He sure was cute—a beautiful combination of liver and white colors. Spencer would just look at me with those expressive eyes and I would melt and give him anything he wanted. But, he had one flaw--
He loved to run away.
The first time he ran away in the fall, I found him immediately, thank God. Over the winter, I learned to wait, because I knew he’d get cold, and want to come home to his nice warm bed. Sure enough, it worked, and I soon would hear him scratching on the back door, whining.
Spring came around again, and Spencer smelled something in the wind, and somehow got away from me and ran away. This time, he didn’t come back, and I got really worried. I hopped in my car, and prayed as I drove down the street.
“Lord, please help me find my crazy dog. Please keep him safe. He’s just a pup, and doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
Spencer walked out from one of the neighbor’s yards, smiling like dogs do. I couldn’t stay angry with him too long, because I missed him so much, and God answered my prayer, and I was so happy to have him back.
That summer, Spencer was big enough–and apparently clever enough--to open the gate with his nose, and ran away. He was gone for a few days. I thought maybe one of the neighbor kids let him out. He did this several times until I witnessed it for myself.
That dog was smart!
In August, during the “dog days of summer” I saw an obituary for my neighbor, Mrs. Abbott. That weekend, I went to Mrs. Abbott’s church for the Memorial Service. It was an emotional time, and while the people were greatly grieving, I observed they were comforted by God’s peaceful presence.
Finally, Annie, one of Mrs. Abbott’s granddaughters, stood up to memorialize her Grandma.
“I want to thank God for my Grandmother’s good neighbor, Mrs. Pickett today. Over the past year or so, since Grandmother’s dog FooFoo passed, Mrs. Pickett’s dog—Spencer—miraculously showed up on several occasions.” She stopped, wiping away big tears. “One time, in the winter, my Grandmother slipped on her porch and cried for help. Spencer barked until someone called 9-1-1. Then, this summer, before Grandmother passed, Spencer showed up, let himself into my Grandmother’s back yard, and sat with her next to her wheelchair. He was sent there by God to be a comfort to my Grandmother.” Annie looked right at me. “Mrs. Pickett: Thank you.”
Shocked, I started balling.
I had no idea.
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