Mysterious Ways: Comfort Dog

We don’t know where she came from. Or do we?

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- Posted on Jul 2, 2013

Sadie the mystery dog

In a town of only 1,400 people, like Ligonier, you get to know everybody before too long. And as the recently retired pastor of the town’s Methodist church, I’ve gotten to know most members of this western Pennsylvania community on a deeper level. So I was surprised to see someone I didn’t recognize while visiting one of my former parishioners, Marsha Clark, after her husband’s funeral. A big, beautiful, floppy-eared, brown and white dog, lying beside the widow on the living room floor.

I knew Marsha and her husband well. He had been an electrical engineer for Kennametal, Marsha was a retired schoolteacher. But Marsha and her husband hadn’t owned a dog as far as I knew. “Who’s this?” I asked.

“I’m calling her Sadie,” Marsha said.

“Where’d she come from?” I asked.

“I have no idea,” Marsha responded. “She just came through the back screen door the day before Bob died, walked over and sat down next to me.” She scratched her behind the ears, and the dog seemed happy and content, like she’d been living there forever.

Over the next few days, Marsha tried to track down the owner. I didn’t think it would be too hard in a town like ours. But no one had reported a dog missing. No posters were tacked up along Main Street. Marsha called every number she could think of. I asked around as well. Meanwhile, Marsha and the dog she called Sadie grew close. Sadie eased the loneliness Marsha felt following her husband’s death. The dog didn’t seem to want to leave her side. Almost as if she knew how much she was helping ease Marsha’s grief.

Finally, I heard that Marsha brought the dog to a veterinarian, and the vet had found a tracking chip. I felt bad. It seemed that Marsha’s time with the dog was at an end. And she’d grown so attached!

Days later, though, I saw Marsha walking the dog through the park. “What happened?” I asked. “Didn’t you find her owner?”

“Her former owner,” Marsha explained. “She’d given the dog to a shelter years ago, but doesn’t know who adopted her since. Sadie’s going to stay with me.”

“She’s really taken to that name,” I noted.

“She should,” Marsha said. “The former owner told me her name was Sadie Sue.”

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