Written By Ashlee Price
“Woof woof!” Jack, the little maltese puppy bounced up and down. His owner, Danielle, came in the front door cradling a new dog in her arms. The new dog was quiet and didn’t bark as loud as Jack did, but as soon as Danielle let her down, the little dog ran to Jack and began to sniff noses with him. She was a maltese as well, but she was tall and thin, whereas Jack was short and rounded.
Danielle smiled as she watched the two puppies sniffing each other’s noses. She thought back to the online website that had told her about the rescue dogs that were being sold and how hard she had prayed for this new puppy. She earnestly believed that God had given her this puppy to keep both herself and Jack company while she worked on her computer at home. She and her family had only just moved into their new house, so they were still adjusting to everything and Danielle had discovered that her worries seemed to fade away when she would pat her little dog. She was very thankful that God had blessed her with another little puppy. “Thank You Lord,” she whispered.
She stooped down to crouch beside the two puppies, and said, “I think we’ll call you Bella,” she declared happily. “Bella and Jack. I think Aaron and Josiah will like the two of you together, huh?”
Her husband, Aaron, was at work, and their son, Josiah, was at school, so they would meet Bella once they got home.
Over the first week of having their new dog, Danielle and her family were pleased to see the two dogs getting along well. But one day during the second week of Bella’s arrival, they noticed a problem.
“Jack,” Josiah called from the couch. Jack came running, his furry ears flapping as he leapt onto the couch next to Josiah. The next moment, Bella also came running, her nails clicking on the tiles. She jumped onto the couch and tried to get between Josiah and Jack. Josiah laughed.
“Mum, guess what! I called for Jack and Bella comes running too! I don’t think she likes me getting time with just Jack; she wants to have the attention as well.”
At first, they thought nothing of it, but they started to question Bella’s behaviour when she would try to push Jack out of the way while he was being patted, or when he was eating his food. “Right, missy, that’s enough. This cannot go on any longer,” Danielle exclaimed sternly, just as Bella had pushed Jack out of his own food bowl for the fifth time.
She picked Bella up and set her down in the loungeroom, away from Jack’s bowl, and later that day when she put her paws up on Danielle’s knees to try and get patted at the same time as Jack, Danielle chose to ignore her and keep on patting Jack. “She has to learn to wait her turn and not seek for the attention when we’re all patting Jack,” she explained to Aaron.
Soon enough, Bella learned to wait her turn, and when she was good and didn’t interrupt Josiah’s time with Jack, Danielle would give her extra cuddles in her lap to reward her for waiting her turn.
After three months had passed, the little family started noticing that Bella seemed to be popular with other dogs that walked by their fence with their owners. They would bark at her through the wooden planks, and she would bark back.
But little Jack would come running outside and onto the grass, where Bella was barking with the neighbourhood dogs. He would bark aggressively at them, and step between Bella and the fence, as if to protect her from the other dogs. “
Look at that, Dad,” Josiah grinned as he stopped to watch the scene. “He’s making sure no other dogs hurt her!”
There are two lessons that we can learn from Jack, the little maltese puppy. When Bella was treating him badly and wanting his share of attention, he patiently waited for her realise that what she was doing was wrong. He didn’t bark angrily at her or treat her the same way she was treating him. And when Jack thought that Bella was in danger, he went to protect her, even though she had not treated him well.
We can learn from Jack’s example that we should treat others nicely even if they are not treating us well; and we should always be willing to help them when they are in danger or feeling sad. Jesus says in Matthew 5:44 that we should love our enemies, and do good to them that hate us, and pray for those who persecute us. Jesus commands us to do these things because He shows the same love towards the good people as He does the bad people. And we are to be like Jesus, so we must love even the people who treat us badly. So next time you are tempted to say something unkind to your brother or your sister when they annoy you, or the classmate who always flicks your pencil off your desk, remember the words of Jesus, and be kind to them anyway.