Thursday, April 26, 2007
There’s a puppy in Oxford that would be a great best friend
It is amazing to me how animals often teach the best lessons in all creation. Last Wednesday as I was driving to Camp Hopewell five miles east of Oxford, I came upon a heart-rending sight.
Just as I was about to turn off Highway 30 into the camp, I saw two puppies in the middle of the road. I could see that one had apparently been run over. The other was standing bravely by the body of his dead littermate.
As quickly as I could, I drove around the pair and pulled safely off onto the shoulder of the highway and walked back to the accident scene. Because the location was just below a hilltop, it was difficult for oncoming traffic to react. I watched as two 18-wheelers passed over the live pup and his dead companion at speed.
In both cases the live puppy stood bolt upright by his brother. In the desolation of the moment I was struck by the little dog’s loyalty and courage.
There was a clearing in the traffic that allowed me to go out and gather up the living pup and take him back to my car where I had my own pet’s carrying crate. I put the little dog inside, shivering and drenched, for it was a rainy afternoon in Oxford. Then I went back and picked up the other dog. It was also a male, and had no outward sign of injury. Hoping that it was only stunned, I took it to the car and dumped out the contents of a cardboard box and put the injured dog into it.
As it happened I knew just where the Oxford-Lafayette County Animal Shelter is located on Highway 7 south of town almost to the junction with Highway 9. Some weeks ago, I had been there checking out possibilities for a new pet for myself. (I found a wonderful little toy fox terrier at the Corinth-Alcorn County shelter.)
These two little dogs were fat, brown, furry, “very mixed-breed” animals. They were just old enough to have scampered away from their mother, or else were “dumped” by the side of the road. You could see the living pup would grow up into a very big dog-too big for me to give into the pull of my heartstrings and take it home. Also, I knew our camp had all the animals it could care for. So the shelter was the best place to head.
The staff at the shelter immediately checked out the situation. The second dog was dead. I told them of the bravery of the living pup, and they promised to have him checked out and try to find him a loving home. Of course, “mutts” like this make the very best pets. I am convinced my own little “rescue” puppy knows exactly how lucky she is, and she loses no opportunity to be grateful.
Then, to my amazement, as I was driving back out to camp, when I passed the spot, there was a third puppy by the side of the road. Again I pulled over, but this little dog — obviously traumatized-ran into a deep woods, crying piteously. I could not get to him, nor could I persuade him to come out. I returned to the spot several times that afternoon, but never spotted the animal again. Yesterday, I saw what appeared to be the same animal. It has been run over in the center of the road.
I could spill all The South Reporter’s ink berating the abuse and neglect of animals, but it would do no good. Instead, I want to say how I will always remember that little dog’s amazing pluck, staying beside his dead brother no matter what risk or harm that action might bring to him.
Loyalty is an attribute in such short supply in our world today, and I might say that among all the virtues ministers perhaps value loyalty most of all. After all, it was an act of disloyalty that put Jesus on His cross. Ministers know who is loyal to the church and who is not, and most of us would rather have one person who is loyal than a thousand who are fair-weather friends. One of us will have to do your funeral some day. I jokingly tell people that they need to give their ministers some material to work with.
This I can say for sure, there’s one little puppy down there at the Oxford Shelter that would make somebody the best friend they ever had.
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