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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Blue (10/08/09)

TITLE: Hope Giving Hound
By Bryan Ridenour


The echo of baying dogs reverberated over the hills and hollows, sounding like symphonious music to Martin and his son Trevor perched on Johnson Ridge. A dying campfire, popped and cracked, cutting the chill as father and son listened to the pack of hounds hunt. The Harvest Moon spotlighted the valley below giving periodic glimpses of hunting dogs rumbling through thick brush and briars, zipping into ravines after a skittish possum or raccoon.

“Hear that son? Sounds like O’l Blue’s running point,” Martin announced proudly. “He’ll teach those pups to tree soon.”

Martin’s four year old took a long drag on his NASCAR sippy cup and smiled hugely, wiping milk pooling on his chin. “Sounds great daddy. I like hearin’ Blue howl. Can you tell th’ story of how he got his name again?”

Taking another swig, Trevor crawled into his father’s lap and leaned into his dad’s shoulder.

“Sure, son.” Martin wrapped an arm around his son, cuddling him close.

“Two years ago,” Martin began, “Blue was still basically a pup…just a feisty, frisky pup. But at 7 months, I learned that I had quite a dog. In fact, at 7 months I changed his name to Blue.”

“I forgot that part, daddy. What was his name before Blue?” Trevor asked, yawning.


“That’s right, Rusty,” Trevor nodded.

Martin smiled. “Anyway, on a cold winter’s morning, two years ago, your mommy bundled you up nice and warm and I packed you up in the truck to go feed cows.”

“Don’t forget Blue,” Trevor reminded.

“Yes, O’l Blue scampered in the back and tagged along as well.”

Trevor eased off his daddy’s lap and set his cup on a stump. “Then what Daddy?”

“Well, I hopped out of the truck and started breaking up bales of straw. Those cows were ready for breakfast. It was a pretty normal morning, as far as feeding goes, but I learned something new about you that day kiddo.”

“What’s that Daddy?” Trevor asked grinning ear to ear.

“I learned you could escape from your car seat and get out of the truck.”

“Yes,” Trevor fist pumped enthusiastically. “Then what Daddy?”

“Well, while I was feeding the cows, you toddled down to the pond.”

“And I went swimming?”

“Well, sort of,” Martin answered tousling his son’s hair. “You fell into that icy water. I heard your screams and I came running. O’l Blue was already at the edge barking his head off. When you went under, Blue dove in after you. By the time I waded in, he was dragging you out by your coat.”

“I was cold, wasn’t I Daddy?”

“Yes son,” his voice caught. “You were choking and gagging…your teeth were chattering…and your lips had already turned a shade of blue. I rushed you into town and the doc said you’d be fine. If it weren’t for the grace of God and Rusty, things might’ve turned out a lot different.”

“You mean I might be in Heaven,” Trevor commented, matter-of-factly.

Martin nodded, unable to speak.

“So, why did you change his name?”

“Well,” Martin began rubbing his eyes, “Rusty nearly froze that day as well. Like your lips, his skin even looked bluish after he played hero. I figured I’d change his name to Blue as a reminder to thank God for you everyday…and to never take His goodness for granted.”

Blue and the other dogs scrambled up the ridge, ready for ear scratches and treats.

“Come here Blue,” Trevor called.

Blue obeyed, tail thumping. Trevor giggled as he willingly endured a tongue bath.

“He’s a good dog, isn’t he Daddy?”

“He sure is son. He sure is.”

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This article has been read 710 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 10/19/09
I always enjoy stories that embrace family relationships, and this was an endearing read. Loved the message the father taught the son--be grateful to God for blessings. Never too young to learn that.
Leah Nichols 10/20/09
Nicely done! A very pleasant read.
Carol Slider 10/20/09
Good dog, Rusty... I mean Blue! I enjoyed reading this sweet, gentle story about a miraculous rescue.
Sarah Elisabeth 10/20/09
Awww, sweet story!

I loved the dialogue between father and son, but some of it seemed a little older than a four-year-old.

Other than that, great story!
Sara Harricharan 10/20/09
Awww! A good fuzzy-feeling story. LOL. I like the word play in the title, it fits just right and I'm glad it had a happy ending! ^_^
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/20/09
Cute story! I enjoyed it. I agree that some of the dialogue seemed just a little old for the boy, and you had a lot of puncuation errors. Otherwise wonderful job!
Dee Yoder 10/20/09
You depicted a wonderful and happy relationship between all your characters: dad, son, and hound! Very sweet.
Mona Purvis10/20/09
I champion all fathers who spend one-on-one time with young sons, so I'm loving this MC. Boy and dog story...can't be beat. Good entry.
Patricia Turner10/20/09
I love the warmth of the father son relationship you've created here. Very tender and sweet.
Ruth Brown10/20/09
So simply beautiful.
Jan Ackerson 10/21/09
Love it! The little boy's voice as he prompted his dad to tell the familiar story was priceless.
Joy Faire Stewart10/21/09
Enjoyed the story within the story. The relationship between father and son was very touching.
Laury Hubrich 10/21/09
I love father/son stories. Love this relationship you created here. Good job!
Betty Castleberry10/21/09
I love animal hero stories, and this was no exception. The conversation between father and son was believable. I enjoyed reading this.
Shilo Goodson10/21/09
I enjoyed reading this story. It was easy to picture this scene. My only critique would be that the four-year-old doesn't always seem to talk the way a four-year-old would talk. Most of it was great, but there were a few lines that felt a strange for someone that young.