When I moved away from my family home a couple of years ago, I had a dog-sized hole in my heart. Between the size of my place and vet bills, I knew it wasn’t the right time to get my own pet.
So, I made it my mission to befriend every dog I saw in my new neighbourhood. And I mean every dog. If I walked past one or it barked at me from behind a fence, I spoke to it. And if one escaped out the front door and ran into my arms (yes, that happened—twice), I was there to catch it.
Befriending every dog in existence is a fail-safe way to increase your endorphins. But I didn’t realize that one of these dogs was on the same mission to love me even more relentlessly. And, in doing so, he showed me the heart of God.
Learning to Love Again
Enter Archie, the three-legged wonder dog. The two-year-old bull terrier cross white stag rescue made frequent appearances on my daily walks. I had never spoken to his owner, but every time Archie hopped past me, he planted his feet in the ground and begged me for a pat.
Archie loves quickly, and it became clear that he was determined that my sister and I would become “his” people. We nicknamed Archie “Champion”—such was his likeness to the Parks and Recreation character—but one day we decided to have a conversation with his owner (not just his dog), and everything changed.
Archie showed me the heart of God. JESSICA MORRIS
When we found out this wonder dog was named Archie, we also learned he had just restarted his life. You see, he had just been rescued from abusive conditions that resulted in the loss of his leg. He and his dad became inseparable soon after, and now Archie was learning how to walk, love and play again. He was learning what it meant to be loved—and, in doing so, he was pouring out his love on every person he met.
A Reflection of God’s Heart
Archie changed my life. Maybe it’s because I resonated with his sense of loss, which people pointed out so obnoxiously whenever they saw him on three paws. Like many of us, Archie’s trauma and pain run deep, and he bears the physical scars of his abuse.
Yet, Archie is so much more than this—he has oceans of love to give, and while he has “adopted” my sister and me as his “godparents,” he acts as the neighbourhood chaplain or mascot. Now, when people see him walking, they stop and roll down the window. The local barista gives him a pat. Once, a delivery driver even recognized him.
In his own way, Archie has shown that God sees who I truly am. Beyond any pain, scars or fears, God seeks me out and loves me. When we first met, Archie would stop and wait for me to catch up with him. Now that we are family, he runs to meet me, just like how God runs to meet us. Every day, Archie is a reminder that I am loved. And if that’s not a reflection of God’s heart, I don’t know what is.
(left) Jessica Morris is a journalist at Others magazine.
Reprinted from Others, January 17, 2022