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Running from Grace and a Rescue Dog Named Truffle

February 24, 2015

After weeks of sitting with a rescue dog, the day had finally come to adopt.  She had been rescued from a hording situation involving more than sixty dogs.  She was so afraid of people that she cowered and shook when anyone even looked at her.  Given any opening, she would try to escape and run away from what terrified her, toward who knows what.

Before making the decision to adopt, my daughter visited many times and just sat on the floor in a visitation room with Truffle the dog.  Over time, Truffle became comfortable enough that she would sleep next to her during the visit.  A sign that she felt safe.  She even started making some eye contact and wagged her tail.

So the time had come to take her home.  Due to a scheduling conflict, we met between the SPCA and work to exchange vehicles and take Truffle to her new home.  On a leash at the meeting point, she got the chance to go the bathroom before continuing the short trip. 

But she was skittish and afraid of anything unfamiliar.  And almost everything was strange and unfamiliar.  Suddenly, “she’s loose”!  Having pulled her head through the new collar, she ran down the dark street.  At that moment I realized that we were now trying to capture a dog that didn’t understand the danger she was in and who did not trust any human being.

Helplessly we called her name and tried to approach her in as unthreatening way as we could.  She kept running.  Two blocks away, she ran into a busy street, was hit by a car and killed instantly.  A day that began with excitement and anticipation ended in sorrow and stunned silence.  That night we lay awake in disbelief, wondering how this could have happened.

There was a sense of frustration that a dog who was about to have a loving home for the first time in her life, could not trust the one’s that were investing time and money to allow that possibility.  Why couldn’t she understand?

At some point during the night, as I lay there staring at the ceiling, something occurred to me.  It was as if the Spirit of Grace was there acknowledging the pain of the situation, saying ‘yes, I know that feeling’.  With the same sense of frustration, I thought about how God could ever get the concept of His love and grace across to people who don’t trust god, religion or anyone associated with it.

People are desperately trying to escape from the one that loves them unconditionally and more deeply than they could ever imagine.  Maybe they had a bad church experience.  Or they associate Christ with the many hateful and judgmental people that promote their agenda in his name.

But it is a helpless and painful feeling to watch people run toward pain and destruction and away from the opportunity for peace, freedom and happiness.  It was tough to watch a little dog run from grace.  It must break God’s heart to see us do the same.

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Steve Radford resides in Virginia Beach.  He writes mostly about personal experiences that have shaped his view of the world.

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