Buddy’s Rescue


Buddy was the rescue dog I wasn’t sure I wanted.

It was my idea. I sent my family to the pound to see if they had any black labs. I figured they wouldn’t, but they did — a Labrador-retriever, to be precise. Buddy came home to join our elderly lapdog who was nearing her end.

It didn’t take long for us to regret bringing Buddy home.

I don’t know what happened to Buddy before we got him, but he made life difficult. He scratched up doors. He broke through cages. He destroyed our carpet and part of a computer. He was going through money we didn’t have, and our patience was getting thin.

I saw a drawing my young son made on a blackboard. It was a sketch of a dog, covered with an X. I had to agree.

That summer, we went camping near Ithaca. We weren’t allowed to leave dogs unattended on our site, so I tied him outside a store while we picked up some food. When I got out, Buddy was gone.

We never did find him on that trip. The dog pound didn’t take him. We returned home without that dog.

I wasn’t done, though. I made up some posters. “Stolen!” they read with a picture of the dog. I mailed them to every veterinarian and dog pound in the area, but didn’t think I’d hear anything back.

And then, a couple weeks later, I did.

“Your dog is here,” she said. The person who’d taken the dog had showed up at a veterinarian’s clinic. They scanned the microchip, and the information matched. They’d found Buddy.

“Here’s where you can find him,” she said, before giving me the address.

I phoned the police. The police picked up the dog. I hopped in the car and drove to Ithaca. “Purpose of your trip?” the border agent asked. “Don’t bother asking,” I felt like saying, but I didn’t. “I’m going to retrieve a stolen dog.” The border agent looked at me and waved me through. Nobody could make up a story like that.

Buddy and I got along famously after that.

What changed? There’s something about losing something that makes you realize its value. Jesus told stories about people who lost valuable things — money and animals — and went to desperate lengths to find them (Luke 15). Even more valuable than a lost coin or animal is a lost person, and there’s a lot of joy when you get that person back.

My dog is long gone. He lived a number of years with us before getting sick and dying. I miss him. He turned out to be a good dog after all.

I think of him sometimes. The dog I didn’t want became the dog I desperately wanted back again. And if the return of a dog mattered that much to me, how much more is the return of a person to God even better?

God cares about lost things too. Lost people. And because God cares, we should too. It’s a pretty good thing to see someone who matters so much to God come home.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada