Good morning. It is Thursday, July 7, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
Around 1990 my family and I adopted a dog. I had put an ad on the local radio station’s buy, sell and trade program. And that is how we ended up with Kizzy.
Kizzy was half Black Lab and half Irish Setter. She was beautiful. She had the color of the Black Lab but the long hair of the Setter. She was a super sweet dog.
Her owners had got her to keep the deer out of their yard. They showed us a picture of her lazing in the shade while watching the deer eat the roses from 15 feet away. That was certainly her personality. She loved everybody and everything. She was a good dog.
She was also very in tune with my emotions. I remember sitting on the front porch late one summer day. I was feeling overwhelmed and sad about something. She came up on the porch and sat down next to me, touching me. She did not ask for attention but just sat there staring off into the distance with me. It was such a tender moment.
Did you know dogs can smell human emotions?
In fact, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors. To put that in perspective, humans have a mere 6 million.
Dogs can be trained to detect over a dozen different kinds of drugs. They can detect several types of cancer through people’s skin, breath and sweat.
I have a friend who several years ago had a cat that could detect earthquakes. I saw it with my own eyes. It was incredible.
Animals have always amazed me. And it’s not just their sense of smell. It’s their inner global positioning system.
Have you heard the story of Bobbie the dog?
Bobbie was given the name “The Wonder Dog” after walking from the state of Indiana to Oregon.
In August 1923, Frank and Elizabeth Brazier, with their daughters Leona and Nova, were visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. Their two-year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix dog Bobbie was attacked by three other dogs and ran away. After an exhaustive search, the heartbroken Brazier family was unable to find Bobbie and continued their trip before returning home to Oregon, expecting never to see their dog again.
In February 1924, six months later, Bobbie returned to Silverton mangy, dirty, and scrawny, with his toenails worn down to nothing.
He showed all the signs of having walked the entire distance, including swimming rivers and crossing the Continental Divide during the coldest part of winter!
During his ordeal, he crossed at least 2,551 miles of plains, desert, and mountains in the winter to return home, an average of approximately 14 miles per day.
His story drew national attention and was featured in numerous newspapers, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, books and film. In fact, Bobbie played himself in the 1924 silent film The Call of the West.
He received hundreds of letters from people around the world and was honored with a jewel-studded harness and collar, ribbons, and keys to cities.
People who had fed and sheltered Bobbie on his journey wrote the family to tell about their time with Bobbie. The Humane Society of Portland was able to use these stories to assemble a relatively precise description of the route Bobbie took.
The humane society concluded that after returning to Wolcott and unable to find his owners, Bobbie initially followed their further travels into northeast Indiana. He then struck out in several directions, apparently seeking their scent. He eventually headed west.
During their original trip, the Braziers had parked their car in a service station each night. Their dog visited each of these stops on his journey, along with a number of homes, and a homeless camp. In Portland, an Irish woman took care of him for a period of time, helping him recover from serious injuries to his legs and paws.
Upon his death in 1927, he was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society's pet cemetery in Portland.
Bobbie's demonstration of loyalty is celebrated during Silverton's annual children's pet parade that serves as a reminder of the special place animals and pets have in people's lives. The event was started several years after Bobbie's death and the first parade was led by his son, Pal. A 70-foot-long outdoor painting featuring Bobbie's story is part of a series of murals that decorate the walls of businesses in Silverton. (Source: wikipedia.org)
Isn’t that incredible?
I shared my own story about a year ago, but in case you missed it, here it is.
Several years ago we were asked to foster two of my daughter's cats. We lived on a corner in town. Wendell was not very keen on the idea and let me know from time to time. We had lost two cats over the years after each was hit by a car and I knew this bothered him. I reached out to friends on Facebook and a dear friend said she and her husband would take the cats.
There was an orange cat, "Pitch" and a tabby, (I cannot remember his name); both males. Pitch was a bit more mellow, the tabby a bit more feisty. I had one cat carrier and put the orange cat in without too much trouble. I decided to put the tabby in a large laundry hamper. He was NOT happy and that was a bit of trouble, but we got them situated in our car and drove them the 4 or 5 miles out in the country to their temporary home.
It was about a 10-minute drive and when we arrived my friend and her hubby took us through their home and out the backdoor to a beautiful garden shed. This is where they would acclimate for a day or two before they were allowed to roam around the property. I remember remarking that any cat would be lucky to live on such a beautiful piece of property; away from city streets, surrounded my trees and beauty. The cats did not agree!
My friend contacted me that night, maybe the next morning. The cats had gotten out of their beautiful garden shed and had disappeared. I was sick to my stomach. How was I going to tell my girl that her cats were missing? I decided I would not tell her right away. Days went by and I would spend big chunks of my time driving around looking for them.
I thought, if they are headed "home" they might be here, or there and I drove down many streets and through many neighborhoods in the following days.
I would see a cat that looked similar (there are a lot of tabby's) and my heart would start racing. I would get closer just to find out that was not her cat.
I ran a lost ad on the radio station. I put information on Facebook. I even contacted our local newspaper hoping they would take compassion on my story and run a picture of the cats. They did not.
A week went by. Two weeks went by. I could not stop thinking about those cats. I knew how much they meant to mu daughter their mom, and I felt terrible.
One morning I was in the bathroom getting ready for work and there was a tap on the door. Now, that is odd. I got up super early and no one ever bothered me.
I said "yes?".
My grandson said, "Grandma, open the door."
Even more odd!
I opened the door, our eyes met, he said nothing, only looked down at the ground. My eyes followed his and there at his feet was a skinny, very dirty, Pitch.
My knees buckled as I dropped to the floor and started crying and loving on that cat.
I quickly opened a can of tuna and he devoured it. I was in utter amazement. I thanked God over and over again.
The amazing thing about this journey is that the cat did not return to his home, but to mine! Just incredible!
The tabby never showed up. I like to think he found a nice home with a big barn and lived out the rest of his life catching mice and lazing in the sun.
I have heard many stories in my life about animals finding their way home. I know God created animals to have that instinct, to have an internal GPS that shows them how to get home. He cares so very much for the animals, but He cares even more for you and me.
Matthew 10:29-31 NIV "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
If God can help the animals find their way home, how much more will He help us find our way home? And, it is much more than 'us' finding 'our' way home.
Luke 19:10 says "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” He is seeking us. He wants to bring us home. We are the ones who are lost and He left His Heavenly home to put on flesh and dwell with us, to save us! What an amazing God.
Often, just like those cats, we run from the very thing that will give us a good life. We do not see the beauty of the garden shed. We refuse to acclimate to the trees and nature that surrounds us. Instead, we opt to run. We run and hide. We go without spiritual food. We are lost. We are hungry.
Jesus said in John 6:35 "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
Are you hungry for the word of God? Are you thirsty? Are you lost? Jesus came to find you. He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Let Him in!
Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."