Shared Custody of a Dog

The day after Christmas 2016, the fate of one particular canine was forever changed. He simply showed up like a belated gift.

Oddly enough, my family has had its share of dogs over the last twenty-six years. These have all been short-term pets for various reasons. But for the last six months, we have enjoyed shared custody of this particular canine.

We knew we shouldn’t have, but we fed him. If you had seen him, you’d have known that he was in need of a few good meals. By the end of his second day of homesteading Mission Circle, my youngest son (and only child still at home) named him. He called him Bud, emphatically stating that his name was “Bud, not buddy!”

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Bud, the Mission Circle Dingo Dog

Bud is not just the Strickland family beast of responsibility. He is a sucker for attention and our next door neighbors fully share in the care of this mixed, Dingo-looking canine. The Hanson family are our neighbors and what more can I say to explain our dilemma than that Bud has now taken up a large place in all of our hearts and both homes. The lady of the Hanson house, Susan, says that they are like the grandparent family and we (the Stricklands) are like the parent family for Bud.

This is not the end of Bud’s story though. It is only the beginning. Six months ago, it was obvious that he still had some puppy left in him. Several objects torn-to-shreds later, he can still be a bit mischievous. All forty-five pounds of him are now well nourished, but he continues to have an occasional limp. He is full of joy, rarely barks, and is always ready for a belly rub. But still, he sometimes limps.

Bud has the most crooked run of any dog I have ever seen. When watching him run in between our houses to greet each family as we arrive, it’s almost as though his rear is running sideways. The first time we noticed him favoring his right rear leg, we all assumed it was related to an overgrown nail, an injury from overplaying, or maybe even a stone bruise on his paw. Yet, his strange stroll and routine favoring of one leg have caused me to surmise that Bud must have been the runt of the litter. Surely he was either born with this physical malady or had it inflicted upon him shortly after birth.

Someone might have taken their love for canines too far when they remarked that “dog is God, spelled backward.” I’m not even sure what the lesson of that observation would be. However, Bud’s story is one that reminds me of the greatness of God’s grace.

Bud could not have been dropped at a better location! He was found at the precise location of two families that needed an outside dog to love on, live with, and stay somewhat aggravated with. But I will confess that it is hard to stay mad at Bud for very long.

When this canine showed up, he was starved for affection and nourishment. Providentially, he landed where there was plenty of them both. He now has more than enough. He has full food and water bowls at both family homes. And he has the potential for five belly rubs a day. Shucks, I’ve even found myself talking to him lately as though he understands me.

Perhaps you can see the scriptural parallel. Bud’s story is like that of the Old Testament character, Mephibosheth. He was the son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul. A tragic accident at five years of age, left him crippled. He has lame in both feet because he had been dropped. Mephibosheth considered himself to be like a dead dog.hehe03

Though Mephibosheth was dropped, he was later found. He was redeemed because King David came looking for him. He might have been dropped, but he was later restored and found eating at the King’s table. His fate was forever changed because he found restoration and redemption.

That, my friends, is the story of God’s grace. It is rich toward all who will call upon Him. Christ, the King of glory, has come looking for you too and “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:12). You no longer have to exist in a dry place with no sustenance. You don’t have to be starved for affection and nourishment. You can have a place at the King’s table, forever. You might have been dropped in life (we all have), but you too can have your crippled feet dangling under the King’s table.

That’s Bud’s story. That’s my story. That’s the story of grace.

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