Celebrating Sam

by Torry Martin

Dear B. Log,

Have I ever got some good news! After a whole year of helping my dog, Sam, with his homework (and then watching him eat it), Sam finally graduated from obedience school . . . with Honor!

Honor is the name of Judge Barker’s pet Chihuahua, one of Sam’s best buddies. The two dogs met a little over a year ago when they were chasing the same fire truck, which led to getting picked up by the same dogcatcher and serving time in the same dog pound.

After the judge and I bailed out our pets, Miss Willow came up with the brilliant idea of reforming the delinquent doggie duo by enrolling them in obedience school—or “petiquette school,” as Miss Willow likes to call it.

My furry, four-footed friend Sam has now been transformed from a rambunctious mutt into the best-behaved dog I’ve ever known. He was even recognized at yesterday’s graduation ceremony as the class valedogtorian!

The most exciting part of the whole ceremony was when the Puppy Principal handed out the doggie diplomas. He tied them with ribbon and tossed them into the audience like they were newspapers. Each dog would wait until the principal yelled, “Fetch!” Then it would run into the audience, retrieve its diploma and return to drop it at the principal’s feet. He then rewarded each member of the Canine Class of 2011 with a dog biscuit. (If he had been giving fresh licorice sticks as a reward, I would have retrieved one of those diplomas myself!) Anyway, the whole event was certainly a tail-wagging time.

Watching Sam retrieve his diploma gave me the idea of teaching him to fetch the newspaper from the front yard. To my surprise, all it took was a little practice, and he was practically an expert. In fact, you could say Sam’s an overachiever, because a few minutes after I let him outside this morning, he was waiting at the door with not only my Sunday morning newspaper, but the newspapers from the rest of the neighborhood, too!

I knew I had to quickly get everyone’s newspapers returned before I went to church, and that’s when I suddenly felt inspired. I remembered that Jesus wants us to deliver the Good News of God’s love to everyone! I want God to be as proud of me for obeying Him as I am of Sam when he obeys me. So while I returned my neighbors’ newspapers, I told them God loves them and invited them to go with me to church sometime. And a couple of them accepted my invitation! Is that cool or what?

Ya know, God rewards us for being obedient to Him, just like the principal rewarded Sam. And I’ve got a funny feeling that when I get to heaven, I’m gonna get rewarded with some of the best licorice ever!

This article first appeared in the June 2011 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2011 by Torry Martin. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.