ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE SENTINEL — All right, let's admit it, the dog was a cow chaser. She meant no harm with her cow chasing. She was a herder by nature and was only doing what was natural to her. The farmer didn't see it that way, though. He saw a stray
dog that would hurt his cows by running them around the field. He wanted to protect his animals and decided the best way to do that was to get rid of her.
So Farmer John shot her. He thought she was dead and took his rifle back to the barn, leaving her lying in the field. I heard gunshots and came out to investigate. When I saw her, I realized she wasn't dead. I ran to John, and we worked out a plan for my husband and me to take charge of the dog.
John and my husband, Scott, helped load her into the back of our truck. It was Christmas Eve, and we were going to be out of town for the holidays and decided the best place for the dog to be during this time was at the veterinarian's. So Scott drove while I sat in the back of the truck with the dog and sang hymns to her. One of them has these words in it:
Everlasting arms of Love
Are beneath, around, above;
God it is who bears us on,
His the arm we lean upon.
"Christian Science Hymnal," No. 53
The dog seemed to like that song, and leaned her head against me as I sang to her.
When we got to the vet's, he told us that she looked pretty bad - she'd been shot in the head. Then he asked us who was going to care for the dog if she managed to survive. We agreed to give her a home with us.
When we picked her up three days later, the vet told us he hadn't given her any medication; he'd just kept her hydrated and warm. He also let us know she wasn't out of the woods yet. He told us she'd have to be able to drink, eat, and walk on her own before she could be considered safe.
We brought her home and talked to her about God. We told her that she was really God's idea, and that as His idea she was forever in the consciousness of God. God is Love. Because she could never for a moment be outside of Love's consciousness, she couldn't be hurt or in trouble. All she could feel was what Love feels; all she could know was what God knows; all she could experience was what God creates. Her safety, her life, her natural and active expression of God, were not dependent on material conditions - on food or drink, on heart, lungs, or brain - but on God. God was her Life.
We also told her that she could not harm any other of God's ideas nor could they harm her, for she lived in harmony with all of God's creation. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote, "All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 514).
Within a short time she was eating, drinking, and moving about on her own. In fact, not only was she walking, she was leaping and running, too.
Farmer John came over to see how she was doing. He asked for her
forgiveness and scratched her behind the ears. She licked his hand and never again chased his cows or anyone else's. John and she became friends.
Scott and I had been wanting children for a long time. Within a few years after adopting the dog, we had two lively sons. Our dog sort of helped prepare a place for them. The boys like to climb on her, and she likes to play tag with them. They're buddies.
We named our dog "Christmas." She brought a better understanding of Christmas to us that Christmas Eve when she appeared in our lives. Christmas is about celebrating things like forgiveness and kindness and hope. "Christmas" is a good name, and our dog seems to like it.
The wolf also shall dwell
with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and
a little child shall lead them.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society