by Betty Jane Olson (Bobby’s Mother)
The year was 1949, the first in my Father’s long recovery from a massive stroke. Mother was his 24-hour-a-day nurse. Although short in stature, she was tall in spirit, wisdom, and love as she prayed their way through each day and night. They lived in the small stucco house I grew up in. Through 26 years neighbors knew them well, and they knew most of the neighbors, their children, and their pets. Mother didn’t drive so she walked to the store or paid young boys to run errands for her.
The crime was low in this modest, well-kept neighborhood in the upper Midwest. However even in those days, most everyone was as cautious as anyone could be. One evening, Dad felt worse than usual. Mother called the doctor, who telephoned the all-night pharmacy with an order for a prescription. She tried to reach the neighbors who were always eager to help but no one was available to get the medicine Dad needed so urgently. Al, their longtime pharmacist, and friend, wanted to deliver; however his staff had gone home, and he couldn’t leave the store.
It was now 10 pm Mother would have to walk the three long, dark, tree-shaded blocks alone. Dad begged her not to go but, knowing she had no choice, she assured him of God’s faithfulness and that he should not worry.
Both breathed silent prayers asking the Lord for protection. Leaving him comfortable in his wheelchair, she stepped out the door. There at the base of the five steps, in the glow of the porch light, sat a German Shepherd.
She hesitated, then cautiously descended the steps and talked to him to calm her fear of large dogs. As she started forward on the sidewalk, the dog stood, turned and moved into place with her.
Daring to pet him, she felt for his collar. There was none-just his warm, strong body as he walked close beside her.
Only corner street lamps broke the darkness. Tall elms arched the streets. Sparse blotches of light from a pale moon danced with the shadows from the dense foliage, but Mother felt safe with her companion.
While she was inside the pharmacy, Mother told Al about her canine escort. Al walked to the door with her, and there they saw the dog waiting. Al said,”Never saw him before. He’s big!”
As Mother left the store, the dog took his place at her side and walked home with her.
Back in the house, Mother quickly wheeled Dad to the window to see the protection God had provided. Together they watched the shepherd turn and disappear into the black night-mission completed.
No one had ever seen him before. He was never seen again.
Through the grace of God and Mother’s tender loving care, Dad lived another 15 and a half years.
Today a third generation delights in their great grandmother’s very own true story about her shepherd.