God Can Use our Animals to Teach Us ~ Part 1

God Can Use our Animals to Teach Us ~ Part 1

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God has blessed me with amazing animals and, from stories I’ve read and heard, others feel the same about their own critters.

When I was fifteen years old, I learned a lesson in compassion.

Our family dog Laddie (pictured above with me when I was ten) became poisoned by consuming dead salmon along our creek. When we found Laddie, he was listless. I told my brothers to bring him into the laundry room where I covered him with a bath towel. Living in the wilderness as we did in 1968, there were no veterinarians to help us.

By the evening, Laddie wouldn’t open his eyes or acknowledge me as he took shallow breaths. Heartsick, I grabbed my blankets, settled down beside him, and prayed. Afterward, I thought back to a year and a half ago, with the pain of losing my baby sister fresh on my heart.

Weeks before our loss, Laddie didn’t come home one night. My dad found Laddie in the woods, his paw caught in a bear trap. My mom doctored the crushed flesh, and Dad made a cast from thin sheet metal to fit over Laddie’s leg. Our dog hobbled around on the ‘cast’ and his paw began to heal.

Then, in the early morning hours after Christmas day, our house caught fire. The flames claimed our sister Maria Annette.

That afternoon, one of the firemen came to the house where we were staying to check on us. I asked him, “Did our dog burn in the fire, too?”

The fireman blinked. “What dog?”

A knot of panic squeezed in my chest. “We have a German shepherd. He stays in our fenced backyard at night.”

He furrowed his brows. “I’ll look for him.”

A half hour later, the fireman returned. “Is this your dog?”

Laddie hobbled on his cast toward me, and I burst into tears. I cried for the loss of my sister. Also, I cried because I thought I had lost Laddie. Hugging him, his smoky, singed fur pricked my face.

The fireman said, “We found your dog curled in a corner of the fence.”

Even at the age of fourteen, I understood this as a miracle from God, because the fence corner was only twenty-five yards from the burning house.

Now after thinking on this and our loss of Maria, I fell asleep next to my sick Laddie. In the morning I awoke on the hard floor as a moist tongue licked my arm. I sat up. “Laddie, you’re alive.”

He thumped his tail and smiled his doggie grin as though to say, “Well, of course.”

Jean Ann Williams About Jean Ann Williams

Jean Ann Williams lives in Southern Oregon with her husband Jim. Although one of their children has passed on to the Great Beyond, their two remaining children have blessed them with thirteen grandchildren, their Baker’s Dozen. Jean Ann keeps up two blogs: the first is about the writing life Jean Ann Williams: Author, and Love Truth where she writes of how God continues to encourage and bless her after her son’s suicide in 2004.


  1. What a sorrow! What a joy! I look forward to part 2.

  2. Thank you for reading my post, Linda!

  3. Bernadette Martinho-Brewer says:

    Beautiful story Jeannie Ann.. my amazing cousin!! I remember the stories my parents shared about the loss of Maria..who I wasn’t alive yet to meet!
    The story brought a tear to my eye as well as a smile ????. What a touching story of the love of your sweet animal to comfort you when you lost your sweet sister????

    Love you much my sweet cousin ????????

  4. Ahhh, Bernadette! I’m so thrilled you read my story. Thank you, thank you! Hugs and love you with all my heart!

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