Found a dog today.

He had long shaggy brown hair and dark kind eyes. He had no tail.

I called him Jesus, for the sake of saying I found Jesus today.

He was lying on the front porch when I stepped out to go to work. I had never seen him before but he looked at me as if he’d been waiting for me to find him.  I left him with a bowl of water and a couple of slices of bread because I had nothing else in the house to offer him.

When I returned home that evening, Jesus was gone. But he had returned the next morning, sitting there on the porch and giving me that faithful look that only a dog can give when he’s so happy to see you. I was happy to see him too. I filled his water bowl and gave him another slice of bread before patting him on the head and saying good-bye.

I stopped at the pet store on the way home and bought a bed and a bag of kibble. When I got home, Jesus was gone again. I put the bed on the porch for him in case he came during the night. I was going to put food out for him too but I was afraid other homeless visitors might be attracted seeking a meal. So, I waited to put the food out in the morning if Jesus came back.

And he did. This time I tied him to a wooden post in the back yard. I fed and watered him and told him I’d see him that afternoon. I hurried home, anxious to find him waiting, but he’d chewed through the rope and was gone.

It seemed hopeless that this dog was to be mine, unless I let him inside. But I wasn’t ready for that commitment. Yet. Maybe he’d become the neighborhood pet and I was sharing him with other homes around me.

The next day was Saturday and Jesus was there. I put him on a leash and walked door to door to ask neighbors if he belonged to anyone. No one had seen him or fed him before. No one would claim him. One old man down the street said, “If nobody claims him, I guess that means he belongs to you now, son.” A part of me secretly wanted him to be mine now.

So I let him come inside.

I hung home made signs on telephone poles around the neighborhood. Signs with bold letters saying DOG FOUND, and I gave my phone number. It was a last effort for anyone to claim him who rightfully owned him. No one called. No one stepped forward to claim him as their own.

“What is your story, Jesus?” I said to him, as he sat on my sofa just panting with content and looking at me with those dark eyes.  He couldn’t tell me his story. He couldn’t tell me where he’d been. It was like his past didn’t matter to him. He’d given everything up, good or bad, just to be here with me now. And so, I accepted that.

I’d found a dog.

He had long shaggy brown hair and dark kind eyes. He had no tale.

I called him Jesus, for the sake of saying I found Jesus that day.

Copyright © March 2012
by Shannon Yarbrough


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