Shadrack, The Dog, A Heartwarming Story

14 07 2008

Maria, my daughter, loves her dog, Shadrack, a great deal. There is nothing Shadrack likes better than to run in the fields behind Maria’s home chasing horses or cows.    However, she has never been away for very long.  Just how did Maria find her little Shadrack?   Four years ago, after losing her dear dog, Osa–Maria found a home in the country that kept stray dogs.  There were three little puppies that she brought home.  She kept them for a couple of weeks until her husband told her that she had to choose just one.  Shadrack was the puppy who had a bundle of personality.  Thus, she returned the other two pups and kept Shadrack.  Now Shadrack is a mutt.  There is no definable way to even know much about what kind of mix she is.  However, she is full of bounce and personality.

Maria’s next door neighbor has an older dog named Kibbles.  These two dogs became fast friends.  They are so close to each other that Maria and her neighbors actually work together each day in planning food and snacks for the two friends. 

A couple of years ago, another neighbor complained about Shadrack coming on her property and scaring her cats.  She threatened Maria with the animal control people.  That began Shadrack’s life on a running rope when Maria had to be away from home.  However, the neighbor quit complaining as much, so Maria gave Shadrack a little more freedom.  She began putting Shadrack on her runner only at bedtime.  Shadrack has a beautiful dog house that she can sleep in despite the fact she is on her runner.

Shadrack has been known to follow Maria to church. She waits patiently until Maria comes out of the church door. Then she hops in Maria’s truck and gets a ride home.  She has also been known to follow Maria on her bike rides.  Shadrack is savvy! Her navigating skills are in good shape.  I guess that is why Maria and KIrk didn’t think anything about Shadrack being gone when they returned late the night of July the 4th.

Jim and I had hosted a birthday party for one of our other daughters, Vera.  They stayed at our home until about 7:30 p.m. and then went over to my son’s house to shoot fireworks.  They didn’t get back to their home until 10:30 p.m.  Maria didn’t want to put Shadrack on her runner all day and into the night, because there were no previous bad experiences to cause Maria to feel cautious that anything bad would happen.

The next morning Shadrack was nowhere to be seen.  She didn’t respond to being called.  Her neighbors told her that Shadrack seemed extremely frightened by the fireworks.  Apparently, a family not to far away was putting on quite a display of fireworks.  Maria’s neighbors told her that Shadrack came and gave Kibbles plenty of kisses–then took off in a streak.  They had no idea that Shadrack wouldn’t return.  Kibbles and Shadrack are such a team.  Kibbles is quite old and has arthritis.  Shadrack is always hovering over him.  She is constantly licking and kissing Kibbles.  So this family was beginning to feel some grief, too.

A couple of months ago, I gave Maria a small icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov.  St. Seraphim loved the wild animals in the forests of Russia.  He is known to have the ability to feed wild bears from his hands.  Since I’ve become an Orthodox Christian–I have always asked St. Seraphim to pray for our family pets.  Likewise, I ask him to pray for pets in general.  Often on my walks, I have noticed dogs on their chains who never get any exercise.  I ask this dear Saint to pray for those hurting animals.   I gave Maria the icon because at the time–Shadrack was seriously injured by another dog who was on their property.  It took many weeks for Shadrack to heal.  Now, I encouraged Maria  again to ask St. Seraphim to pray for the return of her dog.

Likewise, our family kept a prayer vigil for Shadrack.  In my heart, I knew that Shadrack had the skills to get home.  The only reason she wouldn’t be able to make it home would be if she had a serious accident or was attacked by another animal.  She had all of her identification on her collar.  Maria and Kirk spent hours looking for her.  The visited all of the Mennonite farms.   All the Mennonites know Shadrack.  However, none of the families had seen Shadrack on their farms.

Kirk had to get back on the road as he is a truck driver.  Maria was left with the lonliness of seeing that empty doghouse.  Maria didn’t neglect any of her responsibilities in her grief.  However, we could see the pain written all over her face.  She told me that last Friday night, she cried herself to sleep.  It had been one week since she had seen her dog.  She was about to give up hope.

I talked with her last night.  She was telling me how sad Kibbles has been.  Her neighbors have been very sad, too.  Shadrack liked to follow them around when they were out in their yard.  This morning Vera and I prayed once again that Shadrack would find her way home. We also prayed that if Shadrack had died–that at some point Maria would know how her dog died.  Thus, she could have a closure.

I missed the 8:00 a.m. call from Maria that Shadrack had been found.  I was across the street visiting with a neighbor.  She called again around 10:00a.m. telling me that Shadrack had made her way to the vet clinic 10 miles from home.  Shadrack is used to going to that clinic for checkups, emergency medical care and for her grooming.  The vet found her asleep on the stairs of the clinic this morning. 

Another strange thing happened before Maria got the call.  Kibbles would not leave Maria’s back porch.  She hovered near Shadrack’s dog house.   I personally believe that Kibbles knew that Shadrack had been found.  Maria went to get Shadrack.  She told me their reunion was so sweet.  Shadrack was so happy to see Maria.  The reunion back at the house was even more wonderful.  Kibbles and her owners were so happy to see Shadrack.  Maria took many pictures of the homecoming. 

Maria decided that she better keep Shadrack on her runner while she is in town today.  After she gets done with all of her business in town this afternoon–she will celebrate by eating supper with us.  Junk food always seems wonderful for celebrations.  So we will have pizza, salad and ice cream for supper tonight.  What a happy day it has been knowing that Shadrack is safe and back home again. 

All of God’s creation is good.  Animals are special to our Lord, too.  We are thankful  prayers were answered for Shadrack.  Now that Maria  knows how afraid Shadrack is of fireworks–I think it is a given that she will be on her runner next July the 4th.  Our celebration will continue for a long time to come!

God bless each of you!

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4 responses

16 07 2008
FrGregACCA

Ah, Shadrack: I love that name. It was the name of an elder brother of my great-grandfather. I always said that if I ever had a son, I’d name him that. Khouria Susan, however, would not agree, and we never had a son anyway. So now I’m campaigning – in advance – with my daughters, but I think I’m gonna strike out there, too.

16 07 2008
nichole3

Fr. Greg,
Thanks again for visiting my blog. I’m glad you like the name Shadrack. We are certainly very thankful she is home safe.

Nichole

19 07 2008
notesfromthefrugaltrenches

What a wonderful story!!!

19 07 2008
nichole3

frugal trenches,
I’m glad you liked this story. I love animals stories. That was a hard ordeal for us all to go through. We are so thankful that Shadrack is back home.

Nichole

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