The sun rose brightly on the Baker Farm as the rooster crowed like he did every morning to wake up the Bakers and all of the sheep and Sandy the farm hound. It was a warm summer morning with birds chirping in their own happy rhythm. Mr. Baker smiled as he opened his eyes and stretched. He loved summertime with its green grass and fresh vegetables from the farm and his daughter’s little swimming pool in the back yard.
He noticed that Mrs. Baker had dozed back to sleep after the rooster quit crowing, and he quietly got up to go check on the sheep. He stopped by his little girl’s room on his way out to check on her, too. Emma was still fast asleep. He gently kissed her on the head and walked to the kitchen. What a sunny morning!
He stepped out on the porch and began putting on his work boots. Usually Sandy the farm hound would be on the porch, but this morning she didn’t come up. Mr. Baker wondered where she was. Sandy had been a little slower lately. She had gained some weight and was a little more tired. She was still the best dog Mr. Baker had ever seen, but he could tell she just didn’t feel her best.
He walked out to the barn, whistling a tune as he went. He knew that Sandy liked to hear him whistle. First of all, he went to the barn. He usually went to check on the sheep first, but he decided to see if Sandy was in the barn. The door to the barn had been left partially open just in case Sandy needed to go in during the night.
And sure enough, there she was. She looked so sweet with her blond hair and big brown eyes. She was lying on a bed of hay and looked very tired but happy. And right beside her were four of the prettiest little puppies that Mr. Baker had ever seen. Sandy the farm hound was now a mama.
Mr. Baker smiled and rubbed Sandy on the head. He praised her for the great job that she had done getting her babies into the world. After looking at Sandy and each puppy carefully, Mr. Baker could tell that they were all doing well.
He got Sandy some water and headed to the house to tell Mrs. Baker and Emma the great news! He was so excited and knew that they would be, too. New puppies on the Baker Farm, what a happy day!
When Mr. Baker reached the porch, he could smell coffee brewing as the smell wafted through the screen door. Cinnamon toast was in the oven, and sausage was frying in a pan on the stove. Mrs. Baker smiled when she saw him come through the door and handed him a cup of coffee. She guessed that Sandy had her puppies before Mr. Baker could even tell her. Mrs. Baker was excited, too, and could hardly wait for Emma to find out the good news.
Mr. and Mrs. Baker walked to Emma’s room and woke her up to tell her. When Emma heard that there were four puppies born to Sandy waiting in the barn, she sat up in bed and started cheering. Before long, she had on her shoes with her nightgown still on, and was walking out to the barn with her mama and daddy.
Sandy was so happy to see everybody, and she was proud, too. She had three blond-haired puppies and one black-haired puppy. There were two girls and two boys. One of the girls was the little black puppy that looked a lot like her daddy which was a distinguished black Labrador retriever.
Emma could hardly wait to hold a puppy. She knew that she would get to keep one. She had already said that she wanted it to sleep with her, and she wanted to wrap it up in a blanket like a baby when it was a little older.
Mrs. Baker had fixed some breakfast for Sandy. Sandy’s favorite breakfast was sausage milk gravy over Mrs. Baker’s homemade biscuits. And that is what she got. Even though Mrs. Baker had fixed cinnamon toast, she had made homemade biscuits when she heard about Sandy’s puppies. Sandy enjoyed every mouthful and licked the bowl clean. Then she lay back down with her puppies and licked each of them carefully until she was satisfied that they were clean and happy.
Mr. Baker would miss Sandy today as he checked on the sheep and carried on his routine at the farm. Sandy was usually right beside him, and he had loved her since he and Mrs. Baker and Emma had brought her home three years ago as a puppy. Emma had been only 2 years old then and not really old enough to enjoy her like she would now. So, now would be her chance to enjoy a puppy, and it would be Sandy’s turn to help train a puppy to help on the farm. Then, one day, when Sandy would be older, she would have a turn to take some breaks and watch her puppy carry on the routines at the farm. But that would be years from now.
When Sandy came to the farm, Mr. Baker had trained Sandy without any other dogs. He had talked to her just like a person. He had taught her what to do, played with her, and given her rewards for things she did right. He had spent time with her and had always been there for her. He let her sleep by the big stone fireplace in the winter and let Emma put a dog bed on the porch for her in the spring and summer months when the stars would sparkle in the big black sky. And in the fall, Sandy loved the way Mr. Baker would tell her if it was going to be too cold to sleep outside, and he would let her in right before bed to sleep on her favorite braided rug where it was comfortable and well worn, yet still pretty and homey.
Sandy liked knowing that she could help her puppies learn to do the right things and have fun and eat healthy and play hard. The Baker Farm was a great place to learn these things, and Sandy felt safe and loved and happy.
The rest of the day was filled with short visits from the Bakers to check on Sandy and her puppies. Then they would go back to their routines and let Sandy sleep and take care of her puppies. Emma could hardly wait to go back to the barn every time she had to go back to the house. Being 5 years old, it was hard for Emma to stay away from such sweet little puppies.
After the Bakers’ last visit of the day, Sandy settled down for the night with her precious babies. As she lay her head down on the soft blanket that Mr. Baker had brought for her and the puppies, she was thankful to have a master that cared not just about her, but about her puppies too. If you think about it, we all have a Master who watches over our children as well as us, and we can rest our heads in knowing that truth.