Our husky is old and on his last legs. Well, 3 of those legs. The fourth doesn’t work well any more. In fact, it’s more hindrance than help. His poor arthritic hip rotates in and, in his attempts at ambulation, takes him far afield. What used to be a straight line sees him 90 degrees off course, stuck at an unfamiliar fence railing that he supposed was an opening.
Poor guy. He can’t hear so calling is useless. You have to go rescue him and guide him back to the house, constantly prodding that bad hip not to give way. Even then, he stumbles and falls several times along the way. Down he goes into the grass and looks up at you with those bog, brown eyes that say, “You’re gonna help me up here, right?”
And I do. Then I do again. Stumble, fall, lift, amble…stumble, fall, lift… We’ve got our routine. It’s not pretty and it’s very slow-going, but eventually we get back to the house, up the ramp, out onto the porch where he spies his blue bowl. Actually, it used to be a kids bowl in the days when our children were small. It’s broad, flat bottom was perfect for little hands learning to handle cheerios or cut up fruit. Twenty years later, its blue plastic is rough and worn, but it’s still serviceable.
Silver starts to lap at the cool, clear water, but standing and drinking is too much for that hip. It sags and he staggers and lowers himself to the ground, trying gamely to keep the blue bowl between his feet. His back end slides and and his front paws walk their way down. Inch by inch. But the hip takes him sideways, the bowl out of reach. He looks longingly at its contents.
I lift the bowl and center it between those white, furry paws. Paws that used to bound through the snow, used to hold firmly to the coveted bone, used to jump high on the fence, used to ambidextrously bend and reach when I asked him to shake – his only trick, now a memory and probably only my memory. This helpless old guy is spent.
Yet, he happily accepts the bowl of water and sets to work lapping its cool contents all the way to the bottom.
Whenever we do it for the least of these we do it for You.
No one else sees. No one else knows. No one else cares. Somehow, it matters.