One of the first "jobs" I taught Annie was to bring me my shoes. She loved to serve me - especially when it meant a walk. She would dash all over the house until she found my walking shoes and, tail waving proudly, drop them at my feet.
When I needed something to lean on as I bent down or put on my shoes, I would say, "Steady," and she wouldn't move. If a bug got in the house, I'd say, "Kill the bug," and she'd chase it until she caught it, shake it dead and spit it out.
But, paws down, her favorite job was loving. She knew from the beginning that she didn't belong just to me. She belonged to every child who stretched out on the floor to read her a story, She belonged to everyone at a church who stood in line just to give her a pat. And, most of all, she belonged to the youth at Orchard Place. From the time we walked in the doors, her tail was wagging, and she loved them all - the one who petted a little too rough, the one who wetted her back with tears, the one who stretched out on the floor and whispered in her ear, the one who drew her a picture and demanded that she look at it. Unconditional love to the least of these. She gave it every day of her life.
I only hope to be as good of a Christian as my dog was.