A Long Way -- By Joseph J. Mazzella

"If there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom 13:9-10 NKJV)


It was six years ago. I was walking into a local animal shelter on a cold, rainy day. Although my house was already full to overflowing with cats and dogs, I still couldn’t resist an occasional visit to the shelter. I would scratch the cats’ heads, pet the dogs, and drop off a donation of pet food when I could afford it.


This time as I was walking down the row of pens full of barking dogs I noticed a small boy looking into one of them. He had a thin almost malnourished looking body and a bony face with a big nose jutting out of the middle of it. He was looking at a small, mixed breed dog. Its Golden Retriever-like hair was matted. Its bony ribs were showing and its thin tail was tucked between its legs. It wasn’t begging for attention like the other puppies but was cowering in the corner instead.


The boy looked up at me with sad eyes and asked what was wrong with it. "It was probably abused and neglected", I said. "That is why it is so scared."

The boy immediately turned to an older lady and said, "Grandma, I want this one." The old woman smiled and walked to the front desk to fill out the adoption forms. I followed and asked about the boy. I found out that he’d had a rough start in life too. She had just gotten custody of him after the state had taken him from his parents. She had hoped getting a dog would make it easier on him. I looked back at him, holding his scared puppy, and said a prayer for them both.


It was yesterday. I was driving down the road enjoying a gloriously sunny, Spring day. Then in a green front yard I saw him. His teenage body was tall and strong. His nose no longer seemed big and fit well into his smiling face. He was throwing a ball to a healthy, happy dog with shining golden hair. His little act of love and kindness had indeed gone a long way. It had saved a dog’s life, healed his own heart, and given this middle-aged man fresh hope for us all. I drove on in joy and said a little "Thank You" to God for the gift of love that lies in each of our hearts.


By: Joseph J. Mazzella