Karen Swallow Prior of Liberty University originally posted this hopeful note on Facebook, "It Takes a Village ... to Care for Creation":
I was sitting at my desk one recent afternoon when I received a panicky email from one of my former students, Bryan Rhodes:
I’m e-mailing this to you because I’m not sure who else to talk to about it. Today, I was sitting in my home working on my thesis and at about 3:00 (about 10 minutes ago) I heard a horrible screeching sound, that sounded either like an animal or a child. So I stepped outside (I was only in pajamas—it’s a thesis day) and I heard the sound coming from the house across the street. It was getting worse and then I heard a woman yell “I will call the police on you.” So I quickly put clothes on and went across the street. A woman answered the door before I could knock or ring the doorbell, and I noticed a little dog inside a cage was sitting outside the door. The dog was trembling. I asked if everything we okay and she told me that her son was the owner of that dog but she felt he could no longer have it, and that it would be best to give the dog away because he doesn’t know how to treat it. I was unaware of the circumstances exactly (but obviously was drawing some conclusions) and simply said that I agreed that would be best for the dog. The woman thanked me ... she looked quite sad and frustrated and eager to end the conversation. I’m e-mailing you right afterward because I don’t know what to do next or even if it’s appropriate for me to do anything next. Do you have any advice?
I advised Bryan to either ask the lady for the dog or to call the animal control officer. To make a long story short, he did both. The result, however, (even after some follow up) was some sheepish backpedalling on the part of the woman despite Bryan’s efforts to convince her that her first instincts had been correct. It seemed there was nothing to be done for the time being, though the animal control officer promised to follow up as well.
But then, a couple of weeks later, the woman showed up at Bryan’s door to turn the dog over to him, realizing that the dog wasn’t safe in her home. Despite his inability to keep the dog long term, Bryan accepted the pup from the woman, rescuing him out of that situation, and contacted me to help find him a permanent home.
The first thing we did was to contact the state rescue group. (Every breed has rescue groups around the country, volunteers who are familiar with the breed who rescue, foster, and place dogs in need of a home for whatever reason. Most animal shelters who receive purebred dogs will turn them over to the rescue group for that breed.) But before the group representative could act, an email I sent to my colleagues prompted a response from one of our adjunct instructors (and an LU grad), Katie Barber. She and her husband were eager to offer the pup a permanent home.
The picture here shows the rescued dog, a purebred Pomeranian who now goes by the name "Mickey," with his happy new family.
The lessons in this little episode are manifold: it does take a village to care for God’s creation; being outspoken (as I am) about a cause doesn't always bring immediate change, but one “side effect” that can make a difference is being a resource for others when they don’t know where else to turn; and, finally, being willing to speak up, intervene, and be inconvenienced (like Bryan was) can make a dramatic difference in the world. Even if only in the world of a little, helpless puppy.
"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal." Prov. 12:10a (NIV)
(Many thanks to Karen for allowing us to crosspost her note and photo (copyright); be sure to catch her excellent posts "Animals and Evangelicals" and "Peeking at Animal Cruelty" as well. Also thanks to Bryan for gracious permission to reprint his email, and sincere commendations to Katie and her husband for giving Mickey a home.)