A short story with a moral lesson. A devotional.
|Butterball: A Boys Best Friend
***Updated 3/5/16 after receiving reviews***
As a little boy, I loved staying the night at Grandma’s house. She read Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories to my siblings and I before bed. I listened intently to stories about dogs who were loyal even in the face of death. “Dad I want a dog like in those stories Grandma reads,” I begged often. One day when I was about 10, my dad came home and announced, “we are moving to Tennessee and out of the city. We will have a yard large enough to keep a dog.” “Woohoo,” I yelled!
After living on our new property for several months, we were on our way home one day and saw a small golden puppy sitting on the side of the road, miles from any houses. “Can we stop and save him dad?” All my siblings wanted to help the little puppy.
He was thin and suffering from Mange. It had caused much of his fur to fall out. We took the poor puppy home and cut his fur short, bathed him, and gave him a special medicine to cure his skin. Dad was skeptical if the puppy would survive, but my siblings and I took good care of him. We fed, played, bathed, and loved him until he was completely well. “We should name him Butterball,” my oldest brother said. “He looks like Great Grandma’s last dog Butterball.”
I was especially fond of Butterball. He was very tough and devoted. The following winter, when he was several months old, he attended us into the forest on excursions to cut firewood. We filled the truck. Dad started it and began to pull forward. Butterball had been napping under the truck while we worked. When the engine started it woke him.
As the truck rolled forward he darted out, but too late! The back tire caught his hind legs. I heard a yelp and a thud. I turned just in time to see the truck tire ran over him! Dad slammed on the breaks and ran back to see what had happened. Frozen in place with tears running down my face I watched as dad and my brother tended to Butterball to see if they could help him. “Jesus, please help him be ok,” I prayed.
They inspected him all over but found no trace of blood. He face expressed pain but he didn’t whine. As he took a few steps he limped. Dad put him in the truck and we took him back to the house. We all prayed every night our faithful friend would get better. Over the next few weeks Butterball fully recovered. All trace of his injury vanished!
When he was fully grown the next spring, he had a dense coat of fur. It was concentrated around the top of his neck and shoulders. It reminded me of a wolf. I enjoyed scaring my friends by telling them our dog was part wolf.
Butterball did look fearsome. His thick fur and extraordinarily deep bark caused many visitors to stay in their cars until we called him off. Of course when they met him they would find that Butterball was the friendliest dog they had ever met. He ran up to lick everyone, even those he did not know. Butterball lived up to his name!
Butterball hunted often. One week he brought home a mouse, a snake, and a bird. When he came back from a hunt he casually waltzed up from the woods, his prey dangling triumphantly from his mount and lie down on the porch as if caching his prey was as simple as eating out of his dish. He often brought home, rabbits, squirrels and other prey one would not expect a dog to hunt.
He had hundreds of acres to roam that bordered our property. Sometimes he might be gone for a couple of days following a sent or enjoying the freedom of the open hills. We didn’t worry though. He always came back. When summer came and we went on vacation we were sure if he ran out of the food we left he could fend for himself.
Butterball was continuously by our side. When my siblings and I went into the forest or played in the field he was there. Mom often asked us to take him along when we went far from the house. Perhaps this was because he was a excellent defender and never backed down from anything that might threaten us.
His finest hour was the day a group of neighborhood dogs ambushed us as we walked down our road. They growled and would not let us pass. Butterball snarled warningly. They attacked anyway. Butterball held off eight dogs, some near his size. They came at him from all directions, but he was unyielding. He fought each one off till he vanquished them all. I believe that Butterball fought for us, his saviors. The kindness we extended to him as a puppy gave him a gentle and kind nature. His dedication and loyalty made him fierce at the right moments.
Butterball taught me that when we experience the kindness our Savior extends to us, it will make us kind and loyal. Butterball was my hero, just like all those dogs in the stories my Grandma read.