Inspiring Story: Entertaining Angels...

... remember that song by the Newsboys? Well, for today's Inspiring Story, I'm taking a departure from my usual and traditional story of missionaries and people who are doing amazing things for God to post something a little different. I just found this story on a cute blog about dogs. What do dogs have to do with inspiration and the title of this post, you ask? Well, you'll just have to read this story to find out, but be warned, it is long and sad, too -- you might want to bring out the hankies. ;) (Note: If you can't see the text, or you see a huge gap where the text is suppose to be, please click on the title to view the whole post. I'm having a bit of difficulty with the Blogger format.)
The Old Man and His Angel
by Catherine Moore
“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me. Can’t you do anything right?” Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle. "I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.” My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him? Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess. The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man. Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone. My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.” I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog. I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons: too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?” The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly. As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?” "Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.” I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly. Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!” Dad ignored me. “Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal. It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They evenstarted to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet. Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne ’s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night. Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind. The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers.” I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said. For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article….Cheyenne ’s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . .and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all. Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.
Now that you have read this story, what do you think? A dog as an angel? Well it's not entirely impossible; I suppose it COULD happen. After all, nothing is impossible with God. And even if that dog was not an angel, there is no doubt that God USED the dog to change the man's heart. Imagine, what would have happened if that dog hadn't "appeared" in his life? He would have died a grumpy, miserable, old man with no reason for living; yet, he died in peace. The story got me thinking, though... have you ever entertained an angel, that you were aware of? I imagine that most of the time we are unaware; that's why the Scripture says, "... for by so doing, some have entertained angels without knowing it." This story reminds me of something that happened to my Dad once... hope you won't mind another small story. My Dad was on a trip to NYC. If you've ever been there, you know that the streets are lined with cons just desperate to cheat you of your money. So, when my father ran into someone begging him for money, he was very hesitant; in fact, he almost didn't do it. But the man began to plead with Dad telling him that he had no more money and no more food. He said that he use to work as a security guard at the same business that my father worked at! Strangely, my Dad had no recollection. Sounds like the classic scam, doesn't it? However, the strange thing is, this man recognized Dad, even though Dad didn't recognize him. Normally, my Dad would think twice about just handing out his money (in fact, he did think twice about it). However, he felt like God was telling him to give this man some money, so he did. The man was extremely greatful, and he disappeared into the night. My father has been to NYC on many business trips since and he has never seen the man again. Somehow, Dad just knew that this was someone sent from God. So what will you do? "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." ~ Hebrews 13:2


  1. That's such an amazing story. Yes, with God everything is possible. I have often pondered that verse in Hebrews. This story shines a new light on it!

    Thanks for posting this. :D

  2. That sure was an amazing story. That verse always reminds me of a certain incident that happened with us a few years back. We were driving down a road in the city, when the front of the van started smoking. Mom immediately pulled over, and told us to stand a fair distance away from the vehicle as she examined the inside. No one stopped to help. After a few minutes, though, A white truck pulled over,(kinda like those verizon trucks, but with no company sign or writing anywhere) and a guy came out to help. The strange thing was that the truck had no license plate, no mark, nothing. The guy wore a white T-shirt, sunglasses, a white baseball hat, and jeans. Mom barely had to tell him what happened when he told her what was wrong. Then he rode off, and we never saw him again. That same van works to this day!


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