Red Dog



I was invited to a gathering the other day, and when I arrived the scene was a swarm of family and friends of all ages and descriptions: moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, and kids laughing, yelling and screaming all over the place. I’m an extrovert by nature so this scene was fun for me.  We had gathered to celebrate with a couple who were getting married. This non-traditional couple opted out of a formal ceremony and the usual reception and honeymoon. Instead, they invited us all together to witness their vows and mark this special day in their lives.  It was a beautiful occasion and one I am sure the couple, and all of us gathered with them, will never forget.

One aspect which struck me, in addition to the couple’s love for each other, of course, was the number of dogs running around.  I think there were five or six in all – some of them belonged to the wedding couple, but relatives and friends had also brought their dogs to the party.  One was a ten-week old puppy who nearly stole the show. One dog in particular caught my eye; he was the largest and the most gentle. He had pigeon toes and a bit of a wobble when he walked. His fur was red and sleek, and he seemed happy to greet everyone. When I asked one of the other guests about the dog, I learned his story.

It seems that one day this couple woke up and discovered that they had been joined by Red Dog in bed with them and their two other dogs. The engaged couple recognized Red Dog as one of their neighbor’s dogs.  Later that morning they took Red Dog home and told their neighbor how they had awoken to find Red Dog in bed with them.  The neighbor apologized and said he’d keep a better eye on Red Dog … but he didn’t.  Several times throughout the next few weeks the engaged couple noticed their family size had again increased by one. Finally one day the groom walked down the street and asked if he and his fiancée could just keep Red Dog and take care of him as one of their own.  The original owner apparently balked at the idea at first, but then acquiesced, and Red Dog finally came to be a permanent member of this couple’s family.

Here’s what strikes me about this: okay, well, first, there is the question of how on earth Red Dog kept making his way into the couple’s house during the night!  But what strikes me more is that Red Dog knew where to go to find love.  Apparently something was not happening at Red Dog’s previous home, and what a compliment that Red Dog chose this couple to become his forever family.  And what strikes me most of all, is what a testament to this loving couple who opened their home, their lives and their hearts to receive another canine member of their family.  Talk about a rescue.

I wonder who or what is going to walk into my life this year?  Will I keep them or try to return them?  Will my house, home, heart be open to whomever God sends?  Who will I meet in ministry?  Who will I meet in the neighborhood?  Who will I meet at my next parish?  Will someone rescue me, or might I rescue another?  How about you and your life?  Is there room for another person around your dinner table?  Room for another person in your life, to love and befriend?  Good questions for us all.

When asked about Red Dog, my friends say that Red Dog chose them, and they’re all the happier for it.  What a happy story.  May they all have a special, wonderful, forever home, and a lifetime together filled with love, happiness and peace.

And may we all be ready to greet whomever God sends our way.

Peace friends,


P.S. By the way, if you are interested in finding out more about rescuing a four-legged friend, you might want to check out the book, Compawssion: Portraits of Rescued Dogs.  It’s a beautiful collection of photos of rescued dogs that shares the inspiring and amazing stories of dogs rescued by celebrities.






  • Jane says:

    Red dog found his way of into their home though a mere crack in their door. And that’s all we need to do. Keep the door open just a crack and God will send those who need love or those who bring love to us. — And by the way, Red Dog brings love to whomever he comes in contact. God is awesome how He reaches out to us.

  • Michelle says:

    Chuck, you are such a treasure!! I love your reflection on Red Dog’s story. God blesses us in so many unexpected ways. I pray we remain open to the possibility of new blessings.

  • Rose says:

    What a beautiful story and so thought provoking…may we all keep the door to our lives open for that special someone to find their way in.

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