The transformation created by love surprised me. Rod, my future son-in-law, loved the apology for a dog and it loved him in return. He fed it, petted it, and took it everywhere, even to work.
The animal was the love of his life next to his love for his girlfriend – my daughter Robyn.
Rod was a husky young man of farming stock. He was born and partially bred on a farm in the marginal mallee country of South Australia. The farm supported rabbits and emus but not humans. Droughts and dust storms were the norms. Farm animals had to be productive if not they were sent to market or the heaven for animals.
When Rod was of an age to leave home he moved to a nearby town to learn a trade and to be near Robyn. Life with rabbits, drought, and poverty was not his lot in life.
I and my family moved to another city for work, Rod refused to be left behind and came with us. Rod quickly obtained a good job. One day he came home with a stray black dog. He’d fallen in love with it. There was something about it that touched his heart and he desired to save it rather than obey the law of the farm and send it to the heaven for dogs. He must calm the doubts and fears of his soon to be parents-in-law about who would be looking after this poor creature. It’s not what they said but the cold atmosphere in the presence of the dog that told him the animal was not welcome.
Every time someone spoke to it, or tried to pat it, it fell over with its legs in the air in surrender to another top dog. I felt very impatient with the dog; I wanted to give it a kick rather than a pat. If I disliked the dog, maybe others did, all except Rod. I couldn’t see why he loved the useless thing.
The weeks passed, the animal grew plump, its coat glossy and it no longer cringed and fell over when spoken to. It looked people in the eye and wagged its tail in cheery greeting, a new creature replaced the old. Amazement filled me every time I looked at it.
When Rod and my daughter were married the black mongrel dog went with them. The dog lived to a ripe old age, a well- adjusted family pet.
I felt respect for Rod because of his love for this unlovely creature and the change his love wrought in the animal. It is an incident that stayed with me over the years. Love heals and beautifies the ugly and unwanted.