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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: Mrs. Abbott’s Best Friends
By Tim Pickl


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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This article has been read 1100 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Fiona Dorothy Stevenson05/25/08
Good read. Second lst sentence : 'balling' should be 'bawling' (crying?). I would, too, in the circumstances. God bless you.
Joanne Sher 05/26/08
What an awesome story! I was curious where you were going with this, and I was certainly not disappointed. Wonderful.
Betty Castleberry05/26/08
What a precious, well written story. I've owned two Brittany Spaniels in the past. Great dogs. This was a good read.
Chely Roach05/26/08
I loved this story. Sweet but not too sweet, and it captivates the reach of a single dog's love and devotion.
Joshua Janoski05/26/08
"God always makes a way, He does.”

Mrs. Abbott's words rung true in this story. God provided her with another friend when her dog died. I sure hope this one places high, because it is really good. Thank you for sharing!
Debbie Wistrom05/26/08
Great little dog. Loved this story. I'd bawl too. Well done. Loved Spencer, the angel!
Lynda Lee Schab 05/27/08
LOVE this. So sweet and what a beautiful surprise at the end. Nice way to show that God certainly can and does use animals to accomplish His purpose (even if we don't "get it" until much later) Well done!
Jan Ackerson 05/27/08
Precious story, and written very well.

I felt slightly disoriented by not knowing the sex or age of the narrator until the end--just giving your reader that mental picture will help the piece flow better.

Love the name FooFoo for the poodle!
LauraLee Shaw05/27/08
You did a great job on this! Complex story to tell, and the format you chose to build the story was excellent! The dialogue rang true to life, and I could picture the different scenes of the story well woven together at the end. Well done!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/28/08
This is one of my favorites of your stories as well as other stories entered this week. I hope it places.
Beckie Stewart05/28/08
This was excellent. It brought tears to my eyes. You are indeed an awesome writer!
Helen Murray05/28/08
How lovely! I don't think God stopped at using a donkey. He seems to use all the animals in remarkable ways. Thank you.
Sara Harricharan 05/28/08
WOW! This is powerful! Lots of emotion and everything in here. This is a special favorite of mine this week, I love that Spencer was truly something special-and to know both sides of the story, wonderful! ^_^
LaNaye Perkins05/28/08
Oh man, you made me cry. When I read that last line I just couldn't hold back the tears. This was awesome!
Lyn Churchyard05/28/08
Nice story, good lesson - "God will make a way", and He certainly did in this touching story.

I have to admit, I thought it was a male MC, but then, that might have simply been because a male wrote it.

Nice one Tim, nice one :-)
Mariane Holbrook 05/28/08
How tender and sweet! I was almost moved to tears, too!
Very well told!
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Congratulations on taking 11th place in your level with this piece, Tim!