Several years ago, two men escaped the prison in our city. Of all the places that they could’ve gone to, they hoofed it to my neighborhood and stole a neighbor’s car.
At the time, our very old dog, Spot, tried to be a watch dog, but her hearing and her body were beginning to fail. My husband and I knew that Spot’s days of scaring away escaped convicts were over.
It was obviously time to add another dog to our family; one that would look ferocious, bark to alert us, but would have a loving nature.
A long time ago, in another city far from where we now live, a dog from two doors down befriended me. This happened through kindness. I had noticed that her water bowl was empty on a day when the hot summer sun sizzled on the pavement. I gave her a bowl of cold water. From then on, we were friends for the rest of her life.
Though her owner claimed that she was half Doberman and half Labrador Retriever, she looked like a one-hundered-percent red Doberman. She had natural, floppy ears, a stubby tail and her name was Red.
After the cold water incident, Red began trying to find ways to get free of the rope that her owners had attached to her collar and to a tree.
I don’t recall if she chewed through it or slipped the collar off her neck. But, somehow, Red managed to get free of her tether. Day after day, while I was inside my home, I’d hear her bark, open the front door, and there on my step she’d greet me with with her big smile and with her stub happily wagging.
Then Red’s owners repaired their backyard gate, but this didn’t dissuade Red. She was a determined Doberman and she found another way out. She climbed over the fences between her yard and our yard! Imagine that!
After her owners saw that Red wasn’t giving up, one day the lady of the house brought her to us and asked if we’d like a new dog. Would we ever! My husband I were delighted to welcome Red to our family of two little boys and a baby girl.
Red was the best family dog. We all loved her very much. After several years, she suddenly became ill. Our hearts broke as we received the news from our veterinarian that she was going to die. That was a sad day for all of us.
Years later, two convicts escaped from our city’s prison. When my husband and I learned that they had stollen our neighbor’s vehicle, we decided that we needed a good watch dog. One that would also be a loving member of our family.
We thought of Red, of course.
My daughter was by this time a teenager. She and I began our dog search shortly before winter arrived in its fullness. We even went to Sacramento and visited dog shelters, walking the concrete hallways, looking for a half Doberman / half Labrador, female puppy.
To anyone but us, searching for that particular breed combination probably sounded unrealistic, but the memory of Red was still very much alive in our hearts. We knew that there would never be another Red, but we felt in our hearts that there would be another Doberman-Lab that we would love as much as we had loved her.
We reached out to Doberman rescue groups, and we read through the classified advertisements in the newspaper.
We searched for days, but were unable to find puppies, let alone the special mix that we wanted. So, disappointed, we headed home to Oregon through Redding, California.
While there, we stayed a night at a hotel. In the morning, I called the nearest shelter. This is where the story gets amazing. Are you ready for it?
I called Haven Human Society in Anderson, California. A pleasant sounding woman answered the phone. I asked, “Do you have any puppies?” She said that puppies don’t stay in the shelter long. They’re quickly adopted.
“But we do have a 5 month old female here. She’s half Doberman and half Lab. She’s really sweet. I don’t know why someone hasn’t adopted her yet. They just walk by her. They don’t even notice her.”
I could hardly believe what I was hearing. It was too wonderful. Could it be true? Or was there something wrong with the puppy? Maybe that’s why no one’s adopted her, I thought. Or maybe God had heard our prayers and had kept her there for us.
We hurried to the shelter. After we arrived, I asked why the owner turned the puppy over to them. The lady explained that the owner had purchased the puppy to be his therapy dog. But he no longer needs a therapy dog and is back to work. Since he doesn’t have time for her, he wanted her to have a new home.
The woman said, “Her name is Faith. Are you ready to go and see her?”
When I look at Faith, snuggled up on her dog bed, I’m reminded of that remarkable day when she came to live with us, and of the steps leading us to her, and of our Heavenly Father who made it all possible.
I think about the search. I had prayed often as I looked for her, had nearly given up, and I reflect on the hours that my daughter and I spent walking through shelters. I also think of Red–if she hadn’t adopted us, we never would’ve found Faith.
And I reassure myself (and you) that God’s love never fails. He’s with us. And He answers prayer.
Always have faith in Him.