Wednesday, January 10, 2024




I met Marmalade, also known as “Marmie” in 2023 after Mike and I were engaged. He picked me up at the lake house and took me to his family home up the road where he and his sister continued the tradition of sharing a continental breakfast. Marmie, the sweet little mixed breed dog, belonged Mike’s mother who had died a couple of months earlier. Marmalade had been a rescue dog from a Louisiana puppy mill. 


Marmie and I hit it off immediately. After breakfast, I held her on my lap and fed her bits of human food as well as her dog food. You might say we bonded. 


Marmalade in her
Protective Pink Sweater

Then, on the evening of this past New Year’s Day, with some people still setting off fireworks, Mike’s sister called. Marmie was missing. 

Frightened by the noise, Marmie had slipped out the doggie door unnoticed. The backyard is enclosed, but somehow she made it beyond the privacy fence. We were all worried.


A little dog out in the big world by herself.

A hand-fed indoor dog foraging for herself in the wild outdoors.



Mike’s sister, Karen walked the neighborhood calling her name. She put posters out. When someone spotted the little dog behind a local store, Mike and I drove that direction, parked and called out to her. It was dark. And getting chilly. There was no response. We drove around the area. 

Looking. Calling. Praying.


We whispered a final prayer and headed home.  There were no calls. No sightings. And for some, no hope. 


Then on Thursday, Karen received that long awaited call at work. Mike and I headed to a local store to pick up Marmie. The young man and his little boy stood in front of Winn-Dixie holding the bundle of fur still clad in her pink sweater. She was covered with stickers and sandspurs. I held her close and whispered words of comfort over her as Mike drove us home.


We fed her proper dog food and water. I began the long process of combing the stickers and debris from her hair, carefully getting the burrs out along the way. Mike washed her sweater. 


The poor baby was covered with stickers.
But...her sweater protected her from it being a lot worse

As soon as Karen finished her workday she headed our way. Marmie wagged her whole body with utter joy. 

Home. The little dog had endured cold, wet nights in the woods. She had crossed the well traveled highway US 41. At home, in the arms of humans who love her had to feel a bit like heaven.

Marmie Resting


I never intended to share this story as a parable. Yet, now as I reach the end, I clearly see it as just that. I understand Marmie. The evil one tries to lure us to him and sometimes uses scare tactics to frighten us to the core. But anywhere apart from the safety of God’s presence is scary, dark, and dangerous.

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