Even before we arrived here in Papua, we made plans to have a family dog. Dogs are important here for protection from potential intruders. A good bark will both scare away and warn us of anyone who might attempt to break in.
Beyond the practicalities, I especially looked forward to the companionship of a family dog. An animal lover at heart, it could only be a matter of time until our home included a furry friend.
So when the language school director’s dog had puppies and she offered one to Isaiah once they were weaned, I was ecstatic. Yes! A puppy!
Isaiah talked a lot about bringing ‘Jake’ home when he was big enough and had learned everything he needed to know from his mommy. Jake, a very cute brown puppy with a white stripe on his nose, was an absolute love. The sweetest of the bunch and always keen for a cuddle, Jake was my pick of the litter too.
Each day, as we arrived to the school, we would make our way to the back where the puppies were. Giving cuddles and receiving many puppy kisses in return, visiting the ‘babies’ quickly became a favourite break time activity too.
Today, as we opened the school gate as usual Isaiah said, “Mommy, let’s go see the babies first. Then go inside.” I persuaded him to go inside with the promise we’d head to the puppies as soon as we said good morning to everyone.
“I have some sad news.” The school director told us.
On Sunday someone had set out poisoned food. Another of her dogs and their cat had eaten the food and both were dead. Then someone, presumably whoever set out the poison, broke in and stole all the puppies. Only the momma dog was left. The poor sweet momma was now in pain as the puppies had not yet fully weaned and she could no longer nurse.
“Let’s go see the babies!” Isaiah tugged on my hand and pulled me towards the door. “Come on, Isaiah. Let’s go to where the puppies usually are. I have something sad to tell you about them.”
Ben joined us and as we sat on the step near where the puppies would play we told Isaiah what had happened. Of course, it’s hard for a three year old to understand what poisoned means or why someone would steal all the puppies, especially his Jake.
I am both angry and sad. Why would they do this? They are so awful!
As we walked home at the end of class, I remembered my own past and my heart turned. I’d like to meet the thief one day, I thought.
What happened is terrible and I am very angry and sad about it, but I truly would like to meet the thief because this doesn't have to be the end of the story.
I’d like to tell them about a teenager who habitually stole jewellery and clothing from stores until one day she got caught. I’d like to share my own story. And I’d especially like to tell them about how great Jesus’s love is, even for a thief.