A dog has an amazing capacity to forgive our species. I have read stories of dogs so severely abused that the veterinarian had to turn away in tears. A Florida veterinarian tells the story of one such female pup whose master thought it would be a kick to pour gasoline on her and set her ablaze. Neighbors rescued her and brought her to the local animal hospital where this suffering, charred lump of burned canine flesh somehow survived the night. Looking into her disfigured face, eyes popping out like golf balls because her lids had been burned off, the veterinarian actually shed tears.
Perhaps she should just put the suffering animal to sleep. Yet, when she saw how the female pup nudged against her leg and could not stop painfully wagging the stumpy tail, the vet understood that this horribly abused canine was actually expressing joy in human affection. Joy, as the pup came to be called, wanted to live. The vet decided to do what she could to save her.
Joy had every right to mistrust humankind, but she also had a heart of love to give. She was willing to trust members of the same species who had caused her so much suffering. The pooch underwent months of skin grafts and endured delicate ophthalmic surgery to rebuild her eyelids.
Eventually, a loving family adopted the disfigured dog. Joy recovered to run and play in the yard, sleep near her master's bed, and beg for scraps at the table, enjoying her doggie life. She has to wear a sweater to protect her scarred and hairless skin from sunburn, but she is otherwise a happy dog.
Someone has said that to live is to have scars, both emotional or physical. However those scars should not define us. They do not define Joy. She loves and enjoys the affection of her family. If a “dumb” animal can forgive such horrific abuse, then we who love the Lord can surely learn to do the same.
“Father, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Mat. 6:12.