The black mutt, Scooter, lay on the porch carefully studying each boy as he ate his ice cream. It was Johnny’s 13th birthday party and Scooter’s hope was that one of them would slip and drop their cone.
The boys were getting into a “my-dad-could-whoop-your-dad” argument. It was gathering steam just when a burly Italian man strode up the sidewalk, climbed the steps and knocked on the door.
The boys looked the man over as John’s dad burst out, grabbing Benny, then giving him a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Scooter looked on as the boys shifted their eyes to Johnny.
As the men went into the house one of the boys mockingly blurted, “your dad’s no tough guy, he’s a sissy.”
Johnny’s reaction was instantaneous. A pop in the mouth!
Scooter jumped to all fours as things escalated into a free-for-all, with all the boys throwing punches, rolling off the porch, into the dirt, yelling dare words and swear words.
Dad came out of the house wearing a tough-guy-in-the-movies-face and ordered Johnny into the backyard to wait for him. The others were sent home.
Keeping a safe distance, Scooter watched Johnny sweat bullets for maybe a half-hour.
Finally, Dad came into the yard and spoke, evenly: “Why were you guys fighting?”
Johnny stared down at his sneakers and said: “It’s all your fault”.
Scooter lifted his body up … scooting a few steps backwards …out of harm’s way.
“You kissed that guy after I was telling the guys how tough you were,” he continued.
There was a long pause. Johnny felt certain his smart-alecky reply had earned him a whooping.
Instead Dad calmly called over shoulder, “Scooter come here.”
Cautiously Scooter approached the two.
“Sit right there, Scooter,” said Dad, pointing to the grass about ten feet from Johnny.
Looking at his son, he said, “Johnny, look at your dog and tell him you love him.”
The boy was perplexed. Then weakly said, “Scooter, I love ya.”
Scooter didn’t move.
“Tell him again,” said Dad.
“I love ‘ya, Scooter,” repeated Johnny.
Scooter just sat there.
“Now kneel down, call the dog over, hug him, and tell him you love him.”
Johnny obeyed. Kneeling down, he said, “Com’ere Scooter.”
Scooter bounded to Johnny, wagging his tail and licking his face.
“Son,” said Johnny’s dad, grasping him by the shoulders, “Love isn’t something you say … it’s something you do.”
Johnny’s lips were pressed together, trying to hold back the tears that were trying to erupt.
“Humans and dogs are just alike,” he continued, “you can tell someone you love ‘em all day long, but it’s when you reach out and touch them, showing affection, that’s when they really know it.”
Dad reached out and wrapped his arms around his son. They hugged for a long time. With an arm over his shoulder, Dad walked Johnny over to the picnic table, and they sat down.
“Ya know Johnny, Jesus tells us in the Holy Bible what we need to do,” he paused just a little, “Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and truth*.”
From that day, Johnny’s thirteenth birthday, he lived that lesson that he learned from his Dad and Scooter, with others, over and over.
God likes it when we follow His biblical principles. And when we do, He communicates back to us through Godwinks.
This is just one of the stories (abbreviated here) found in “DOGWINKS: True Godwink Stories of Dogs & the Blessings they Bring” … now available on preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online vendors.
Wishes for Winks
*1 John 3:18