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  • Writer's pictureDianne Hammontree

Moments With My Retrievers I want to Remember and Cherish Forever…


Every Sunday morning, in the summer of 2004, the three of us, two pups and me, with blanket and Bible, would hike to Freer field to search the scriptures and commune with God. The dogs were so excited for our time together; their tails wagged all the way to the field and then they would plop down on the blanket and lay their huge heads on my legs. This was such a happy time. I was totally free to talk to and listen to God. No one was around to betray me, judge me, manipulate me, or humiliate me. This was an unconventional, yet simple time to enjoy my God’s unconditional love.

Many weeks later, I would learn that sitting in a cell behind barred windows, in a nearby detention center was an older teenager who had been expelled from every school system in the County. Little were we aware that we were being observed from those basement windows. Apparently, the boy had been watching our every movement and had intentionally focused on our Sunday ritual. He had begun to understand—to know my heart. He had been watching us on some of the darkest days of my life. H saw how important my dogs were to me, and wondered what I was reading and Who I was talking to.

Even though the sky was a brilliant blue and the birds were happily perched and chattering in the pine trees, I had a gnawing feeling we were being watched. I tried not to worry, to forget about what I didn’t get done yesterday or what I had to accomplish tomorrow. What if at this very moment we were in harm’s way? Breathe. Breathe. I needed to remember that it’s not the number of breaths I take that give me life. It’s then number of moments that take my breath away that matters the most.

I focused on the out-of-doors fragrances, listened to the sounds of summer, watched the white fluffy clouds float by, snuggled with my dogs and prayed. The amazing gift of peace empowered me and the three of us safely napped. Much later, we left the field knowing we would return with blanket and Bible the very next Sunday.

Towards the end of summer, a tall, lanky teenager wandered over to our blanket and asked if he could join us. HE WAS THE ONE-- the one who had been watching us through barred windows barely one hundred yards from our blanket.

I shared with him about talking to God, about peace and grace, about my dogs and their unconditional love. I told him happiness is a byproduct and we can control our own state of happiness—that happiness is not a result of our circumstances.

He shared with me that he had been searching the scriptures until he found a special joy that was hard to describe. He had received blessings during his hardships and that we three had left footprints in his heart. Love is a healing thing. No moment for either of us was as memorable as when we were brought together by God’s Word.

Be there in the moment just like my dogs were there for me and just like God was there for this troubled teen.



Dianne Hammontree, secretary of Homeward Bound Dog Shelter


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