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Sandy the Farm Hound
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Sandy wants to hear the sermon
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Sandy wants to hear the sermon




It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Sunlight streamed through the big arched windows of the country church. Pastor Tom was in the pulpit and had just started his sermon when a visitor came walking down the center aisle between the wooden pews. Pastor Tom’s face broke into a smile. Then, the whole congregation turned their heads toward the visitor, whose blond hair and big brown eyes seemed to enamor each of them.

Sandy the farm hound was almost reverent as she reached the fourth pew from the front and sat down on the floor with a smile on her face beside Mrs. Baker. Mrs. Baker’s eyes got big as she looked down at Sandy and then back at the congregation. All the children started to giggle that a dog had come to church. And all the grown-ups seemed pleased at how well behaved Sandy was. Thank goodness that Sandy had gotten a bath the day before, and was clean and actually smelled good.

It was so hot outside, and the inside of the church was cool and peaceful. Sandy had walked to church with the Bakers that morning and had hung around outside during Sunday school. Then, she had enjoyed the singing when the church service began. But, when she heard Pastor Tom start talking, she thought she might nose her way into the church to find the Bakers and cool off a bit.

The heavy church doors were not as hard to open as she thought they might be. Ten-year-old Jacob Johnson had left one of the doors partially open when he came running in late. Sandy was able to get her paw into the tiny crack of the door and then nose the door open. She was almost like a professional sneak because she was so good at it.

As Sandy sat on the floor beside the pew now, Mr. Baker quietly got out of his seat and starting walking to the door of the church. Sandy also quietly got up and followed Mr. Baker without being told or even touched. Five-year-old Emma Baker was giggling so hard that her sides were hurting.

Once outside the church doors, Sandy looked up at Mr. Baker with a sheepish grin. He knew that she was hot and had just wanted to be close to her family. Should Mr. Baker punish Sandy for coming into the church? Sandy didn’t know if he would or not, but she did know that Mr. Baker was fair and would be nice and firm whatever he did.

But what Mr. Baker did next surprised Sandy. He didn’t punish her at all. He reached down and rubbed Sandy on her soft blond head, and he smiled so big that Sandy could hardly see his eyes. Then, he sat down with Sandy on the porch steps of the church and they listened to the sermon that Pastor Tom preached right there together.

Sandy lay down with her head between her furry paws with her ears hanging down like pony tails. She thought that this was one of the sweetest things that she had ever experienced and quite frankly didn’t want it to end anytime soon. Mr. Baker was stroking Sandy’s head and rubbing her back, and this time together was precious.

Sandy could hear singing begin and knew that the service was almost over. Mr. Baker bowed his head in prayer when Pastor Tom prayed and then stood up when he heard the piano start playing again.

Sandy the Farm Hound has returned for a second summer. Local author Lee Jennings is once again writing the stories set in our community that can be shared with the entire family.

Look for the stories each Tuesday for six weeks. You can also read the series as it progresses at www.wilsontimes.com/SandyTheFarmHound.
Soon, Pastor Tom swung open the doors, and the congregation came walking out into the bricked yard of the church. Sandy stood to the side waiting for Emma to come out while Mr. Baker talked and laughed with the men of the church. Sandy could hardly wait to see Emma’s face.

Then, there she was. She saw Sandy and ran up to her, hugging her around her soft, furry neck. They were both smiling from ear to ear.

All the children at church were running around playing, and Sandy and Emma joined in for the fun. They played for a few minutes while the parents talked, and then it was time to head home.

Even with their Sunday clothes on, the Bakers had a down-to-earth attitude that Sandy just loved. They didn’t think that they were better than anybody else, and they didn’t think that they had to be like everybody else. They were just themselves and wanted to be the way that God made them to be. They liked to help people and visit people that needed a visit, but they were not uptight, just comfortable and kind. They loved God and were rooted firmly in their beliefs, but they didn’t try to force them on anybody. They were a good example of loving their neighbors as themselves. Sandy saw this in the Bakers every day.

And today was no different. As they walked up the sun-dappled driveway to their farmhouse, they laughed and joked with each other as the birds chirped and sang, and the sheep bleated from the pasture.

Sandy was getting hungry and ran ahead of the family, smelling all around the house to make sure that everything was still as it should be. Once she was satisfied, she ran back to the family who was ready to go inside and change clothes and get ready for lunch.

Sandy was the last one to run past the screen door before it closed with a bump. She lay down on the cool hardwood floor in the kitchen, waiting for Mrs. Baker to come in and finish lunch preparations.

Mrs. Baker had fixed meatloaf from a recipe in the newspaper, and it smelled so good. She had also fixed creamed potatoes and green beans and rolls. Sandy lapped up all the leftovers after the Bakers finished their lunch, and sprawled out on the porch for a Sunday afternoon nap.

She was having the best Sunday ever with a slight breeze blowing through her hair as she closed her eyes. She was so thankful to have a master who loved her so much that he would be with her instead of leaving her lonely outside the church doors. If you stop to think about it, we all have a Master who loves us so much that he will never leave us lonely, whether inside or outside the church doors.
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Shirley B Wynn said...

Very interesting and inspiring story. I found it to be very humanly-applicable on the subjects of love, compassion, understanding and acceptance. Thanks for the article!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 1:05 PM
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