A Stray at the Foot of the Ladder

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
It was a cool, gray autumn morning when I first saw the stray dog. She wandered out of a muddy cornfield where the dry, yellow stalks still stood in their rows and onto the job site where I was working. I was standing on an extension ladder and brushing paint on the second-story windows of a new house when I saw her.
The stray was so skinny that she looked like a bag of bones. I could see the outline of her ribs through her brown, shaggy coat. She didn't walk like other dogs. Something was wrong with one of her hind legs. It was as stiff as a board, and she had to swing it out in a half circle as she walked. Her ears were covered with scabs from flies. My guess was that somebody had abandoned her in the cornfield since she didn't have a collar. There was no telling how many days she had gone without food.
The dog walked to where I was working and just sat down at the bottom of the ladder. She didn't move. She just sat there the whole time I was working. When I had to change the position of the ladder, she would follow me and then, once again, plant herself right at the bottom of the ladder. It continued like that all morning. At lunch I gave her half a sandwich, which she gobbled down without chewing. The afternoon was spent like the morning with the dog content to sit at the foot of the ladder.
I began wondering what to do with her. When my employer came to see how the work was progressing, I asked him to take responsibility for the dog. He said he would check with the police about lost dogs, which he did, and no one had reported her missing. The police said we could drop her off at the dog pound.
The dog followed me to the hose where I washed out the tools at the end of the day. By the look in her eyes I could tell she was just looking for a friend. I thought about dropping her off at the dog pound but figured she was in such sad shape that no one would ever claim her. It wasn't until I opened my car door that I made up my mind to bring her home.
My mom has a soft spot in her heart for dogs and welcomed the stray into our house. It was a good thing she liked dogs, because this stray had a lot of bad habits to break. A couple of weeks after I had brought her home, she snatched the Thanksgiving turkey off the kitchen counter where it was cooling and wolfed down as much of it as she could before she was caught. Instead of getting angry, my mom just figured that the dog had suffered so much from hunger that she ought to be forgiven.
My brother named her "Gimpy" because of her bad leg. Gimpy went on to share my mother's home for many years and was a much-loved pet-as you can see from the picture.
I was nineteen years old on the day when I found the dog. A year later, when I was twenty, I needed a friend-not only a friend, but also someone who could fill a big emptiness that was in my heart. Somebody once said that God has made man's heart so large that only God Himself can fill it. I was trying to fill my heart with everything else but God, and I was miserable as a result. Just like Gimpy's belly was empty, my heart was empty, and it pained me.
About this time, a friend told me of the Lord Jesus who died on the cross for sinners and, after He was buried, rose from the grave. This friend told me that the Lord Jesus loved me and that His blood could wash away every stain of sin, if I would trust Him. Somehow the message sunk into my heart, and I told the Lord Jesus I wanted Him to be my Savior. Just like Gimpy came and sat at the foot of the ladder and found a friend, I came to the foot of the cross by faith and found the only Friend who would never let me down.
That happened over twenty years ago. I had a lot of bad habits to break, but through it all, I knew Jesus loved me and would see me through the most difficult times. In Him my heart has found the One it was made for. Who did I belong to before I met him? Satan, the god of this world. But now I belong to Jesus, and He belongs to me. Sol. 6:33I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies. (Song of Solomon 6:3) says, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine," and my heart echoes that happy thought.
"Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst" (John 6:3535And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)). This is so true. Why don't you come to Jesus and believe on Him, the only One who can fill the human heart?