Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of My mouth. Deuteronomy 32:1
And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Deuteronomy 5:24
It was during the years that I worked on the long-term floor at the local hospital, and after we bought the farm, that I graduated in the Social field. My work and continuing studies went on for a number of years. Since I arrived home late most of the week days my husband Casey became lonesome at times. He had talked about this with the Lord and asked for some help.
One dreary fall day Casey drove the school bus back home after he had dropped the children off. It was raining hard when he entered the gravel road we lived on. Even with the windshield wipers on, the road was hard to see. That is when he noticed a big dog, soaking wet, crossing the road. He slowed down, stopped and talked to the dog through the side window, and said: “You’re very wet, aren’t you?” The dog sat down and looked at him.
In the mean time my husband, Casey had to make a decision if he should take him home and said to the Lord: “Do You want me to have this dog?” “If so I will open the door and the dog will come into the bus without me coaching it.” The bus door was opened, no word was said, the dog crossed in front of the bus, climbed up the steps and sat down right beside Casey. He drove the school bus home, parked it, walked out of the bus and the dog followed him.
The door to the woodshed, which leads to our kitchen, was opened and the dog walked in. Casey dried him, fed him and gave him a corner in the woodshed to lie down. The dog had been sleeping for hours when I came home around 10:00 pm, not knowing what to expect.
After we talked for a bit and had a cup of tea, Casey said to me: “Come here and see what I found.” He opened the kitchen door to the woodshed, but didn’t turn on the light. Then he brought the dog to the door opening. I could only see his head by the light from the kitchen. I stared in the beautiful eyes of a rescued animal. Oh!... he is big and beautiful... he looks like a younger dog... I see some Labrador and German Shepherd in him, I uttered. How did you find him? The Lord brought me this dog to keep me company, Casey said.
The dog must have been exhausted because he slept for days in a row. Casey named him Brutus, because he looked like a Brute, although his character was very gentle.
We checked the whole neighbourhood to see if someone lost their dog, but nobody missed their pet. We estimated that he was about one year old when Casey found him. Somebody must have dropped him off during the summer and the dog managed to survive on his own. Most likely he would have died during the harsh Canadian winter, if the Lord hadn’t intervened and brought him to Casey’s path.
Since Casey rescued Brutus, he wanted to please his boss in everyway possible. It seemed as if he understood everything we told him because he responded accordingly.
This particular day, Casey was in the woods cutting trees for firewood. Brutus stayed with me. It was about coffee break time but Casey didn’t show up and I didn’t know where he was cutting the trees. So, I wrote a note on a brown luncheon bag “Coffee is ready”. I picked up a piece of binder twine, stuck it through a hole in the bag and tied it around Brutus’ neck. I said a short sentence: “Go to father with a message.” He knew who “father” was, which helped. I repeated myself and opened the door and said: “GO.” He walked a few hundred feet in the direction of the woods, looked back at me and waited until I hollered: “GO”. On he went.
About fifteen minutes later Casey came down on the tractor and Brutus running behind him. Brutus had found “father” and quietly sat down close to the tractor. Casey noticed Brutus and read the note which hung around his neck.
After this we used Brutus as our messenger.
One time we heard him bark close to the edge of the woods when Casey responded and went over to see what was going on. Brutus had chased a mature bear up a tree. He was a brave dog and was not afraid of anything. This got him into trouble many times in his encounters with porcupines, after which Casey had to pull quills from his mouth.
On a hot summer day Brutus was laying in the scorching heat of the sun and I said to him: “Why are you laying in that heat, go and lay in the shade of the car!” Immediately he stood up walked to the car and laid down in the shade. We never taught him anything, he just did what we said. I couldn’t understand how he knew what we meant.
Very seldom we let him in the house. But when we did he never came to the living area, but stayed right beside the door as if he understood that he was an animal and not worthy to sit with human beings. He kept his distance, although he stayed close. He respected us for who we were and he showed it too. Brutus was a very intelligent dog.
On one occasion, he had taken my old running shoe from the woodshed, and took it outside. For some reason he buried it in the field as we later learned. For days I searched for that shoe, but had to give up. The following summer my sister-in-law visited us for a couple of weeks. She loved the outdoors, and while walking with Brutus through the field she noticed something sticking up and pulled up my old running shoe. Right away Brutus ducked and turned his head (in shame), when Margret asked: “What is this?” The shoe was brought home and stayed in the woodshed. Whenever somebody picked up that shoe, Brutus would stick his head under an old little table, as if he wanted to hide.
In the middle of March Casey would get ready to tap the maple trees to make maple syrup for our own use. This is a lot of work if one does it the old fashioned way. It begins with getting up very early, collecting the sap from the pails which hang on the trees, deposit this in the large flat sap pan and get the fire roaring below. The key is boiling this sap down until it gets to a syrup like substance; thus evaporating the access water from the sap. This procedure takes many hours.
Well, this was the time Casey took Brutus to our maple tree stand, which was across the road. The work had started, the sap was boiling and more firewood needed to be brought in.
Brutus was sitting nearby and smelled something and went on a search. Casey was too busy and didn’t miss him at first. After a while he noticed that Brutus was gone. So, he called for him, but didn’t get immediate response. He walked further into the woods to see if he could find his friend. And sure enough behind a few trees was Brutus with muck all over his heavy fur coat. He had rolled in the “you know what” from a wild animal. The stench was something else.
Casey having his hands full with boiling the maple sap did not appreciate the extra work of cleaning his dog. Brutus received some deserved scolding, like... how on earth could you.... and you stink.... blah blah!... Casey chased him away and continued with the work of boiling sap.
After several hours Brutus had not returned and Casey went to check and see where he had gone. He didn’t need to go far, for right in view was Brutus sitting on a large rock formation, waiting at a safe distance. Casey felt sorry that he had scolded his best friend and he walked closer. He looked and thought to himself, do I see this correctly?... and he called the dog to come.
Slowly Brutus walked up to his boss, who noticed to his amazement that the dog was completely cleansed with no bad smell. How did you get all this muck and the stench off of your fur, how did you get so clean, was the question? But Brutus didn’t say a word, he just sat there and stared at Casey as if he was saying: “Please, will you accept me now. I am cleansed.”
At that exact moment the picture changed and our eyes were opened. We saw where we once were; muck and dirt clinging unto our own souls, the stench of our sins was unbearable. We were sent away by the Father because He had no use for us. We were lost in our filth, searching for help to get cleansed. We fled into the darkness. But thank God, we met Jesus Christ in our time of despair and darkness of our own soul. He cleansed us with His Blood. The stench changed into a sweet fragrance of myrrh. Completely cleansed we were now facing the Father. We didn’t have to say a word. He accepted us. HALLELUJAH!!
Tears were running down our cheeks. We got the “message” similar as Brutus used to bring to us hanging around his neck with binder twine.
For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; Ezekiel 12:25a
Didn’t God use a donkey to speak to the prophet?
We had Brutus for 11 years. All life returns to God, but we surely miss him.
May the name of the Lord be praised!
Caught up in His presence,
Minister Dr. Trudy Veerman