When I was a child, I loved watching Super Friends every Saturday morning. It was my favorite of all the Saturday morning cartoons, and I have fond memories of lying on our basement floor, wrapped in a blanket, while following the adventures of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Superman, and the rest of the superheroes. Two of the characters had a dog names Wonder Dog who often helped the crew foil their enemies. Wonder Dog could not speak, but he did have a knack for alerting his humans, Marvin and and Wendy, when danger lurked or when clues were nearby. He communicated through barks, gestures, and even his own form of charades. He always seemed to be one step ahead of his humans.
Those who have been following me lately know that we recently rescued a puppy. Luna is quite active, and to be honest, pretty bad! She truly thinks she’s a circus dog, bouncing and bounding across the floors, furniture, and even walls like they are all part of a giant trampoline park. She chews everything in sight from Rosie’s toys and bones to my throw pillows and even the baseboards along the walls! She’s too smart for her own good and often ends up getting herself and my poor Rosie in trouble. They’ve become the best of friends, and Luna is really lucky to have Rosie for a big sister. In fact, we’ve discovered that we’re all extremely lucky to have Rosie around…
About a week after we brought Luna home, the girls and I left for Girl Scout camp. Ken was home all week with Rosie and Luna, who was still getting used to us, the house, and the rules. When the weekend came around, and it was time for Ken to go crabbing (he’s a licensed commercial waterman but only goes out on the weekends), he didn’t want to leave the dogs home alone for several hours, so he took them on the boat with him. Our dogs have always been water dogs, and by then, Luna had already been introduced to the boat and had taken a few rides out into the nearby creeks and rivers, tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. They were excited to go along with Ken, and he wasn’t at all worried about having them both underfoot while he worked.
At one point, Ken was steering the boat after having just laid his lines in the water. Suddenly, Rosie began crying and then barking and then became panicked. Ken looked around, and sure enough, Luna was nowhere in sight. Rosie ran to the stern of the boat and looked out, and Ken turned, seeing Luna paddling her little paws as fast as she could to catch up. She wasn’t far behind, and he stopped the boat and scooped her up and onto the deck, and then praised Rosie for being such a good big sister. I couldn’t believe it when he relayed the story to me. I hugged both dogs closely and said a prayer of thanksgiving that Rosie knew to alert Ken quickly, and that Luna was fished safely out of the water.
A few weeks later, Luna managed to break the cable lead that she was on in the backyard while I power-washed our outdoor furniture. I was amazed when I saw the broken cable and frantically began calling the dogs, both of whom were missing. Rosie, a dog who never, ever leaves my side and never wanders from our yard, keeps a close watch on Luna and rarely lets her out of her sight (good thing for Luna). I couldn’t imagine where they had run off to in the few minutes I had my back turned. I called upstairs to Katie who was off from work that day, and we set out to find the dogs. I walked acres of fields and woods adjacent to our property, and Katie got in the car, driving up and down the roads in our small, fishing village. The good thing, we knew, was that on a peninsula, there’s not far for them to go. After an hour, though, I was really beginning to worry, and my prayers to St Anthony and St Francis of Assisi were becoming a little frenzied. All kinds of terrible things came to my mind, especially with the knowledge that Luna had about fifteen feet of lead still connected to her collar.
After searching every road and driveway, Katie decided to get out of her car and walk through some of the backyards that were on the water. Almost as soon as she stopped the car and got out, Rosie came running toward her, barking and whining. Katie said, “Take me to Luna,” and Rosie turned and made a mad dash toward the creek. As they neared the water’s edge, Katie spied Luna, lying on someone’s dock, the lead wrapped around one of the posts. I still can’t think about that without feeling my heart stop in my chest. If she had gone too close to the edge, if she had tried to jump, if she had fallen… I can’t stand to think about what would have happened next. Again, thank Heaven for Rosie who was treated to a handful of dog bones and a new stuffed animal (she’s a little obsessed with stuffed animals and carries them around and keeps them close like they’re her children).
And Rosie’s wonder dog actions don’t stop there…
Last week, I took Luna for her final round of shots, leaving Ken working in his office and Rosie enjoying an hour or so of peace and quiet. Or so I thought.
Ken said I hadn’t been gone long when Rosie began to bark. Now, let me explain something. We have never, ever, before Luna, had a barking dog. My mother has always lamented that we live in the woods way out in the middle of nowhere, and none of our dogs make a peep when someone arrives or there’s a strange noise. Luna, much to my mother’s pleasure and my dismay, is a ferocious barker whose ear-splitting woofs drive me insane. Rosie, of course, never barks unless something is desperately wrong.
After several minutes, Rosie’s barking turned frantic, and Ken knew he needed to investigate. I don’t know if it was me, in my haste to leave the house, or Luna, in her bouncing and bounding around the room, but one of us hit a knob on the stove just enough to begin the steady release of gas. By the time Ken reached the downstairs, the entire first floor reeked of propane. He turned off the stove, opened all the windows and doors and once again praised Rosie for her heroics.
In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis said, “[St. Francis’] response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists.” Every creature is a sister or brother to us and each other, bound by the bonds of affection. Rosie may not have the intellect of a human, and she doesn’t have a soul like we have, that inner part of us that makes us unique creatures and separates us from animals, but there is definitely a bond between her and Luna and between her and us that is more than just a dependence for survival. We teach our pets to follow our rules, to go where we want and to learn their boundaries, and to be the pet we want them to be; and they teach us many things as well. I’ve written before about how my dog, Misty, taught me patience and tolerance, to care for others, to share, to enjoy life, to greet everyone with joy, to forgive and forget, and to love unconditionally.
There is much we can learn from our animal companions. As Job instructed, “But now ask the beasts to teach you, the birds of the air to tell you; Or speak to the earth to instruct you, and the fish of the sea to inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of God has done this? In his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the life breath of all mortal flesh.” (Job 12:7-10).
We don’t need a wonder dog to teach us that God holds each of us in his hand, but sometimes it’s nice to have one to remind us that God works in mysterious ways. Just ask the animals; they know and can teach us. They can even save our lives.
Be sure to catch Amy next at:
October 16-17 – Book signing – Maryland Oyster Festival in Leonardtown, Maryland 10:00AM-7:00PM Saturday; 11:00AM-6PM Sunday
Want More from Amy?
Subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming books, cover reveals, and insider information. Do you know what my next book is about? My newsletter subscribers do!
What I was writing about one year ago this week: Have Your Cake…
Would you like Amy to speak to your parish, your women’s group, your reading patrons, or your book club? Did you know that Amy leads women’s retreats?
Contact Amy’s assistant to schedule Amy’s visit–in person or via Skype or FaceTime. Now is the time to schedule a visit for this fall or winter!
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two will be out in early 2022. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines, is now available in all formats.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021).