Many writers are
introverts. They are happiest when they’re squirreled away with their computer
and their imaginary friends. But for the extroverted writer, like me, a day or
two of solitude is about all I can take.
Shortly after my
last child left home, our dog died. The quiet was deafening. It wasn’t long
before I was climbing the walls. One day I suggested to my husband I wanted a
new dog…a big one so I wouldn’t be lonely or afraid to stay by myself. My
husband was happy with our pet-free environment, but I’m a dog lover at heart; it’s
why I write a dog into most of my stories. My Carthage Chronicles series has
two of them.
So I launched my
“Lynne needs a dog campaign” and began to pray.
The next Sunday at
church a friend approached me with a picture on her phone of this beautiful
rescue dog in need of a good home.
Retriever, part Great Pyrenees,” she guessed. “If he doesn’t find a home today,
he’ll be put down first thing Monday morning. It would be a shame if he
couldn’t have one last good afternoon.” My eyes darted between her hopeful face
and the sad-looking creature in the picture.
I showed the
picture to my husband.
My husband shook
his head. “He’s big.”
We both agreed we
weren’t ready to be tied down, but giving this doomed creature a nice afternoon
was kind of like giving a man on death row a good last meal. “A real Christian
thing to do,” I pleaded.
“But only for the
afternoon,” my husband warned.
hours later, a seventy-pound mutt leaped from my friend’s car. I looked at my
husband and said, “He is big.” The
dog galloped across the yard, skidded to a halt at my feet, sat, and cocked his
head. I looked into those big brown eyes and fell in love. From that moment on,
this stray was my dog.
plumed tail reminded me of a Roman centurion’s helmet so I named him Roman. He needed
shots, grooming, and serious housebreaking. His powerful tail could clear my
coffee table with one swipe. It was nothing for Roman to snatch a loaf of bread
off the counter and eat the whole thing. On walks he dragged me like a plow.
Despite Roman’s ill manners, the house was noisy and busy again, and someone
needed me. I felt alive. Soon, I was writing better than ever.
chilly Saturday everything changed. Roman joined us on a 5K run sponsored by
the hospital where my husband works. Dogs were welcome, so we took Roman. The
director of animal therapy noticed Roman (because everyone notices a dog the
size of a small horse). She was so impressed by Roman’s sweet nature, she
suggested I train him to become one of the medical-therapy dogs who work in the
kidding. I didn’t know there were dogs that did this.”
gave me her card and told me, “Studies show petting a dog can lower stress,
blood pressure, and lift spirits.”
I couldn’t argue with that statistic. My whole attitude about life had changed
since I adopted Roman.
mother died of cancer,” I told the director. “If Roman and I can ease someone’s
pain, even for a few minutes, I’m on board.”
Roman and I have completed several levels of training and testing.
and I are now certified to work in the hospitals.
a month we visit the oncology wards where I watch Roman bring smiles and relief
to the frightened and hurting.
days when I’m stuck at home writing, I stroke the head of my hairy writing pal
who is curled at my feet and I don’t feel so alone.
and I work together, I see God’s purpose. I thought I was supposed to rescue
this dog. Turns out, this rescue dog was born to rescue not only the broken and
hurting; this dog was born to rescue me.
how God comes into our lives and rescues us from the death sentence we deserve.
That’s why the theme of rescue will always show up in my adventure stories.
About the author
Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications and is a
professional acting coach and playwright with several full-length musicals to
her credit. She likes to write stories that launch modern women into ancient
adventures, such as Healer of Carthage
(2014), which was the first in The Carthage Chronicles series. Return to Exile is the second, and Valley of Decision is expected September
22, 2015. Gentry loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.