Friday, March 23, 2018

Mr. Stinky

March 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

I could never complain about his loyalty, devotion, or the puppy love from his big brown eyes. It wasn’t the protectiveness or the playfulness that I minded. It was the smell of St. Bernard that was simply unavoidable, that big, stinky, canine odor, and a lot of it. He was an adopted stray, and as he grew bigger we grew to love him, but because dogs live short lives it seemed too brief a season that we had him, and not long ago we found ourselves making for him a deep hole for a resting place along the wooded lane, covered with a mountain of earth and a single cross and a marker.

Although I missed the security of a good watchdog I was fine without another responsibility. However, it wasn’t long until we were informed of a St Bernard at the animal shelter that needed adopted. I found myself assigned the job of picking up our new dog and bringing him home.

Properly named “Hercules” this eight month old “pup” has been a perfect fit. He seemed to know immediately that he was home and took his place as head watchdog inside the house and his personality and obedience training makes him a charmer. However, as I suspected, he has taken on the reputation of Mr. Stinky number two. He reeks, he slobbers, he snores. Sigh.

About a week after he had moved in I was finishing up the dishes and saw the sunshine break through the clouds piercing what had been a very long stretch of grey sky. Though the pasture had been saturated from the continuous rain I decided that fresh air and a good walk was worth the risk of getting my socks wet. Playing it safe I tugged on my knee boots, left my oldest child minding the younger ones and headed for the grassy hills. I hadn’t gotten far when the peaceful outdoors was interrupted by a car horn and my daughter was running barefoot towards me with excitement. Somehow in the short time I had left the house Hercules had slipped past the back door, wandered off in still-unfamiliar territory, and had been hit on the road by a car.

I met him coming up the hill. Yelping in pain and barely able to walk he came and collapsed at my feet. His feet and legs were bloodied but looking closely I realized that they were only superficial abrasions. It was his shoulder that caused me concern. It was obviously broken. Grabbing the phone I called our veterinarian only to find his office closed for the day. Glancing at the clock I realized it was probably after hours for most veterinarians. One call after another confirmed that they were closed. Now what? To keep him in pain until morning was unthinkable, and one glance at the poor creature told me that he was in shock. He’d likely not make it that long.

My head in my hands I wrestled keeping my emotions and thinking it through. I was frustrated. Why? God could have stopped that car; He could have spared a perfectly good animal. It’s not fair, for the dog, for the kids, why?

I looked over at the kids wondering if they were upset too. I’ll never forget what I saw. They were kneeling together holding hands and praying out loud. They weren’t asking God why, but they were asking and trusting that God was capable of a miracle, that He was in control. Praying with childlike faith. Through tears I followed their example. I was so proud of my kids!

I’m convinced those prayers were answered. Through the help of a neighbor we were able to contact her veterinarian from out of town who was working late that night. Somehow, we coaxed an injured 80 lb dog into the truck. Within a matter of hours the veterinarians had him stabilized and they were able to do surgery and spare his life as well as his leg. As an added blessing, he won over the hearts of the staff at the animal hospital and they acquired an annual privately donated grant to help offset the expense of his hospitalization.

Today “Mr. Stinky” is fully recovered and is still growing each day. Thanks to the example of my children, so is my faith.

Debbie Ott is a 36 year old wife and mom. She writes about her life which is filled with chasing her five kids and keeping up with her husband Mark. She also keeps busy making soup and bread, doing chores in the barnyard, and brushing the dog. Her dog keeps busy begging for food, making noseprints on the windowpanes and chasing away the boogeyman.

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