Wanted: family dog

Originally printed in the Christian Science Sentinel

Every time that Rozzie, Alex, and Elliot went to the park, they talked about how much they loved dogs and how they missed having one.

One day, as they walked under the trees with their mother, Alex suggested, "Maybe we could go to the animal shelter."

"Or we could look in the newspaper," said Rozzie. "But what's the point. Daddy doesn't want another dog."

"Why don't we sneak a dog into the basement, and keep it in there!" said Elliot.

"No," Alex told him. "That won't work either."

Then their mother brought up the subject of God. "Why don't you pray for an answer," she suggested. "He already knows everything we need."

As they walked around the pond, they started to think and talk about all the things they loved about dogs. They thought about what great companions dogs could be.

"They love you no matter what," Alex said.

"And it's like they know what you're thinking," Rozzie added.

"I like it when dogs run fast and make you laugh," said Elliot.

As Rozzie and her brothers went on thinking of all these wonderful qualities, they realized that they were talking about things that belonged to the kingdom of God. These qualities didn't depend on chance, on forcing things to happen; they wouldn't come about just because Mum and Dad gave in to nagging. Since God was always with them and everyone, these things were actually present all the time. They could look for and find these things in their lives now, because God is everywhere. They decided they would give God the credit for these spiritual qualities every time they saw them.

So every time they went to the park, they thought of this conversation. If someone started being sad about not having a dog, one of the other kids would remember the good qualities about dogs. They realized that what they were doing was praying.

At Easter time, the family went to visit friends in Cornwall. One of their friends brought her Yorkshire terrier. It expressed a lot of nobility and loyalty. The friend they stayed with also had dogs. Everyone enjoyed watching them race in the tall grasses and on the beach. They expressed grace and energy.

This friend had one very special dog called Midnight. He had rescued her, and she had become devoted, lively, and beautiful in his care. Rozzie, Alex, and Elliot loved her. They loved all the dogs, and they forgot about having a dog of their own on that holiday. The qualities they saw in all these dogs were the very same ones they had looked for on their walks in the park.

The three of them went back to school after that holiday feeling happy. Then one day, quite unexpectedly, someone in their father's office mentioned that a friend was trying to find a home for her one-year-old black Labrador, Hannah. Even though their dad had not wanted another dog,

he decided this sounded interesting, and he invited the owner to come over the following week.

The family went for a walk in the woods with Hannah. She was a big, gentle dog, obedient and full of high spirits. Immediately she ran around the trees, playing with Rozzie and Alex. When Elliot lagged behind, Hannah waited, barked, or ran up to join him. It was clear to everyone that Hannah had found her new home.

Nobody had to get used to Hannah, and she didn't take time settling in. She fits in with her new family as though they'd always known each other. She often goes for morning runs with their father, and plays in the forest with the kids almost every day. When they come home from school on the bus, Hannah is waiting to welcome them. They know it was God who brought them together.

Alex puts it like this: "We didn't have to find her. We didn't even have to go and pick her up. She just came to us!"

God is the Life, or

intelligence, which forms and

preserves the individuality

and identity of animals

as well as of men.

Mary Baker Eddy

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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