Once in a lifetime a story comes along that touches your heart and no matter how many other articles I may have written, this one I will remember forever.
I haven’t been to church on a Sunday morning in over 20 years now, but I walked through the doors of the Lafayette United Methodist Church on August 30, 2009 because of a humble stray dog with one brown eye and one blue, a heart of gold, an unconditional love for people despite her terrible ordeal, and Pastor Nolen Brunson, who didn’t seem to mind my attire at all, including my cap and flip flops.
Bill and Shirley Wheeler, who live in the Fox Run area of Macon County, had noticed a stray dog in the vicinity for a couple of months at least, and oddly enough Shirley had been contemplating having a service dog of some kind to help the elderly and shut ins.
“This unwanted dog had been shot with a pellet gun and arrow by neighbors near by, who obviously don’t care much for God’s creatures, who have a part in human life,” Shirley said as tears pooled in her eyes. “The arrow was protruding at least three or four inches out of the animals body and for over three weeks we watched this dog suffer, as we tried time and again to catch her, but to no avail. Our concern was overpowering, and on Sunday, August 2nd, our daughter, Bonnie, who was home only for one day awaiting her blessing for her trip and work in Hawaii, approached the dog with kinds words and food. Abused and abandoned, the dog came to Bonnie immediately with her tail wagging, obviously loving her kindness, and she instantly began building a bond with my family.”
“We are all animal lovers,” Shirley continued, “and early the next morning we took Keto to Dr. Frank Fitzgerald, and God bless him, he fixed her up and she was given back her health. The dog stayed one night and the gracious doctor left a small hole for the infection to drain out, and after a round of antibiotics and medicine for the wound she is completely healed.”
“I don’t know what kind of life she had before,” Bill said, “but she is a wonderful pet with unbelievably good manners and a gentle kindness about her with a strong sense of dignity. She is sweet and courageous and Pastor Nolen blessed her at the church services on Sunday, August 30th, before a large crowd, including Justine Bruce, from Channel 2 News, who ran a segment on the news that night and the following morning.”
“We are all stewards of God’s creatures,” Pastor Nolen Brunson said on Sunday morning, “and a blessing of animals, in many congregations, witnesses to God’s and the church’s love, care and concern for creation. As we recognize our mutual interdependence with God’s creatures, the Church’s witness of stewardship of creation is strengthened. It is also a service with special appeal to children.”
“The animals of God’s creation inhabit the skies, the earth, and the sea. They share in fortunes of human existence and have a part in human life,” the pastor continued. “God, who confers gifts on all living things, has often used the service of animals or made them reminders of the gifts of salvation. Animals were saved from the flood and afterwards made a part of the covenant with Noah.”
“Let us praise the Creator and thank God for setting us as stewards over all creatures of the earth.”
“I definitely think she crossed our path for a reason,” Bill said, “and after all the sadness and heartache our congregation has endured, Keto is a blessing from above, who already has a busy schedule ahead of her visiting nursing homes, as well as the sick & shut-ins and possibly even schools. God certainly does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t He, so just call us up and we will come for a visit!”
Terry Ryan Whittemore, age 33, of 542 Fox Run Lane, was arrested in this case for cruelty to animals on August 22nd by Officer Larry West of the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, and he is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009.