Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. Ephesians 5:2
She came to us wet and scared.
“Mom, there’s a dog in the yard,” my boys stated the obvious.
“Leave her alone and she’ll find her way home,” I said.
But Candy, as she soon came to be known, would have none of that logic. She had found sympathetic hearts and was tired of running scared. We let her in the garage to shelter her from the rain and she promptly showed her gratitude by catching tennis balls in midair, much to the boys’ delight.
The police had no reports of a missing dog. I dutifully left my name and number thinking someone would call for her soon. These were the days before social media and I had little recourse to find her owners. Turning her into the shelter was risky because they would only keep her for three days and she’d be euthanized. I decided we’d keep her safe and see what happened. Days turned into weeks without a call from anyone. Candy stayed because she was irresistible and I sensed God had brought her to us.
We bought her a collar and she seemed happy to belong but I still sensed she wasn’t our dog. She watched out for the kids when they played in the yard and dutifully met them at the bus stop to deliver them safely home. She even kept silly Max, the absent-minded Shih-Tzu, from wandering out of the yard.
Months later, Sean announced that his friend in the neighborhood had lost a dog matching Candy’s description.
“It couldn’t be her,” I reasoned. We had reported her missing and she was too smart to have not found her way home just one street away.
At a sporting event, I was approached by the boy’s mother. As we talked, the truth, like ice melting in a glass of water, began to sink into my heart. Candy was their dog. I knew we would have to give her back; it was the right thing to do. I didn’t feel like doing the right thing.
Hearts Broken and Hearts Mended
A few hours later, my boys watched as Candy, also known as Sierra, bathed her owner in doggy kisses. This mom’s tears of joy matched my tears of pain as I watched my children begin the difficult task of saying goodbye.
“This is the right thing to do,” I reminded them.
With wisdom and maturity beyond their years, they graciously let Candy go.
I held my children as they wept that night and took comfort in the thought that we had been the answer to a little boy’s prayer. I thought about our heavenly Father giving His only son away and wondered if God had used Candy to teach my family that the ultimate expression of love is sacrifice.
Want to know more about the ultimate sacrifice that was made for you in the purest of love? Read the chapter of John in the New Testament.