A Little Dog on Our Lawn: Expecting the Extraordinary in Common Places

My husband enters the house with great alarm. Something isn’t right: Our elderly neighbor’s dog has suddenly appeared on our lawn, off leash, from way down the street and around the corner. We’ve never seen the man without the dog or the dog without the man.

My daughter immediately says that something sad must have happened to the man; the dog has come for help. She’s certain. That’s how it is in the movies. We’re imagining a man in distress due to heart attack or stroke or a fall in his home. The good dog has come, and we must respond.

Although it seems unlikely—impossible even—that a dog would come to our home to alert us that his owner needed help, my husband gathers a leash from neighbors next door, collects the dog, and hurries down to the man’s home to check on him.

It turns out that the dog simply ran away. The man was safe and sound but had been searching frantically for his dog for nearly an hour.

“Well, he came to our yard and just sat there,” my husband explains.

“Your yard? Way down there? Just sitting on the lawn? That’s so strange.”

My husband returns the dog and exchanges neighborly pleasantries, and then he casually asks what the man’s Christmas plans are.

Nothing. No one. He’s entirely alone. 

But not anymore! My husband invites him to Christmas Eve—the church service, the fine dinner, and all the festivities—and he happily agrees to come.

All because of a little dog.

(We joyfully believe that God sent the dog just so my husband would find him, return him, and bless an elderly soul without family.)

I’m learning to embrace strange, marvelous things in this common neighborhood. So if you see my family out and about at church and then dining with an older man tonight, you’ll know the story of the little dog who came to get a Christmas invitation for his owner.

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