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A Dog Named "You'll Have to Tri Harder"

Brenda loves her volunteer job doing data entry at Maple Lanes, a golden retriever kennel near Alliston. She records the details related to various litters of puppies on the computer--where the puppies go, to whom and for what purpose. The pure-bred dogs go all over the continent, some as far away as Yellowknife, Alaska, and some are trained for such unusual jobs as detecting bed bugs or termites!

One dog's name struck her as unusual; her registered name was "Maple Lanes--You'll Have to Tri Harder"--and her "call name" was Tri.

"Ah, now there's a story," Sherri, the kennel owner said when Brenda asked her about it.

Something had happened to one of the puppy's legs after birth--it was swollen and bruised and Sherri thought that maybe its mother had stepped on it. The puppy was put on antibiotics to try to save the leg.

Sherri's aunt--who was like a big sister to her--was dying of cancer, and the call that she'd been dreading came from her mother to say that it was time--her aunt was close to death. Sherri left to be with her mother and her aunt.

When she returned after three days, an awful smell of rotting flesh filled the house. Even though the puppy was otherwise healthy because of the antibiotics, the leg had died and was already decaying. Needing to make the arrangements for her aunt's funeral, Sherri took the puppy to a vet she doesn't usually use, to be euthanized--no-one would be likely to buy her and it just wasn't practical to keep her. Her heart was heavy as she dropped off the puppy, full of grief for the loss of her beloved aunt. She said she'd come by later that week after the funeral, to pay the bill.

When she returned to the vet's, just expecting to write a cheque, to her surprise, she found the puppy was still alive! A new, inexperienced but enthusiastic vet just out of veterinary college had taken it upon herself to amputate the leg and save the puppy, paying for the surgery herself. The other vets in the office told her she was crazy. She had put drinking straws into the stump where the leg had been, for drainage.

Sherri was a bundle of emotions but mainly overwhelmed. Still grieving the loss of her aunt, she took home the puppy, knowing that for the next eight weeks she would require intensive care. Every three hours, around the clock, Sherri took the puppy to suckle at the mother dog, keeping all the other puppies away and the mother dog from licking the site of the operation.

Thanks to a determined vet and Sherri's commitment the puppy survived. And the puppy, who Sherri named Tri after she survived against all odds, has a very special job. She is now a St. Johns Ambulance therapy dog--with children who are amputees. It seems God had a purpose for this puppy who seemed to have no place to belong--and he made sure she survived. Tri the three legged dog has a bond with the children she works with that no other dog could have.

When Brenda told me this story, I thought of Jesus. He left heaven for earth; being born in a human body with all of its weaknesses and limitations, laying aside his power and glory. He did this to be with us and for us. Nothing less than being one of us would have accomplished his purpose.

Isaiah 53:5 (Amplified Bible)

5But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
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