He was living under a trailer, abandoned by his owner who most likely had been deployed to Iraq and couldn’t count on anyone else to care for him. The owner probably hoped that someone would find him, take him in and give him a home. But that hadn’t happened, and here he was under an old beat-up trailer trying to make it on his own.
In 2010, CNN’s Anderson Cooper did a special report on the problem of animals being abandoned near military bases. They sent out a crew to one such location to explore the situation. In this particular case, an animal shelter had received a call saying that there was a stray dog living under a mobile home and the animal needed to be taken away. When they arrived at the trailer, the camera showed a pitifully small dog being coaxed out of his hiding place, crawling on his belly with his tail between his legs. He was taken back to the shelter where he would be scheduled for euthanasia. Of course this dog wasn’t alone; there were many other animals there as well. Quite simply, with deployments to Iraq increasing, there were not enough people to take all these animals in. The ultimate solution for many of the animals was painful to carry out.
The next morning a call came to the shelter from someone who lived in the southwestern part of the United States, saying that they had watched the CNN show the night before, and wanted to take the trailer dog in, love him, and give him a home. “Scrappy” was the name the shelter had given him. The person from the shelter who answered the call said, “you do know we’re in Georgia, not Arizona, don’t you?” After convincing the shelter that they did, indeed, want the dog, a somewhat lengthy conversation took place to iron out all the details for the adoption and travel to Arizona.
Soon Scrappy was in a new kennel on his way to the airport, and on his way to a new life and home. After the cross-country flight, his new owners met him at the airport in the area where freight was unloaded from the cargo hold. Soon after arrival, the kennel door opened, and Scrappy sailed out of his cramped space into the arms of these people he didn’t yet know, licking every face he could reach! I can’t pretend to know what’s in a dog’s mind, but I suspect if he could talk he would say he was enormously thankful for this chance at a new life. I am absolutely certain that his new owners were thankful that day when Scrappy became part of their family… because the people who made the call were my son Brian and his wife Rita.
I recognize that Scrappy is just a dog, and his story has a happy ending. But in a way his story could be a symbol for all of our stories. Who among us hasn’t had a time in their lives when they somehow lost their way and needed someone to simply “be there?” Whether or not we’re abandoned or mistreated, or a refugee from a faraway place, who of us would not live healthier, richer lives with a loving family, caring friends, and a supportive community to “take us in” when we are in need? We can be thankful that we are blessed with that kind of community here at Saint Andrew and, that we likewise support others who are outside our community and are in need.
In these uncertain and frightening times for so many in the world, we can hope and pray that everyone will, at some point in their lives, experience the lovely moment of grace that occurs when someone says, “I’m here for you,” or makes that call from near or far and says, “I want to take you in, love and support you, and give you a home.”
Let us all take the time to give thanks as we “consider the instances of kindness that have enlightened our lives, for moments of grace that have gotten us through when all seemed lost.”
Gracious God, bless all of us with a certain “someone” who will hold us up, take us in, love us and give us a home when we are in need.
Karen has been a member of Saint Andrew Christian Church since 2000. She is retired and has three children, and six grandchildren.