Facing St. Peter

I’ve cut people off on the highway. I’ve told a white lie or two. When I was in college, I didn’t return the $10 the convenience store cashier handed me thinking it was a dollar bill. When my day comes and I get sent to the Pearly gates and Saint Peter asks me why he should let me pass into heaven, I’m sure he’ll mention those sins and many, many others. He’s going to take one look at me and cry out: “Who sent this guy? Send him packing, send him back where he belongs, one elevator straight down!”

However, I know exactly what I’m going to say. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m ready.  

I’m going to tell Saint Peter to look up the day I became a lifesaver. Well, it wasn’t exactly me, it was really my mom — anyone who’s ever met her knows that she’s a saint —but I certainly helped. I was, at least, in the neighborhood, when the good deed happened.

Image by Magda Ehlers via Pexels

A lovable dog

Let me tell you the story. My mom and I visited her Amish sister and her family. (I wrote about my mom several years ago in An Amish girl leaves home to create a new way of life.) My mom regularly visited my aunt when she had a day off from work. She would catch up with her sister and us kids would spend time with our cousins. 

I was pretty young at the time. In any event, one of the dogs they kept in the barn had puppies. The runt of the litter, a toy terrier -fox terrier mix, however, wasn’t getting enough food and was starting to get rejected by her mother. Since she was so small and starting to suffer, my uncle was going to shoot her. I’m not sure if that story was completely true, but it was the early 70s, and that’s what my mom told me, and we told my dad.

No matter what, it worked, we just had to save her. 

Image by Lukas via Pexels

A new best friend

My mom put the puppy in a Middleswarth Potato Chip box, a Central Pennsylvania potato chip maker that used to sell chips in a box, and made me responsible for her while she drove home. The puppy pawed and pawed the side, wanting to get out. I tried unsuccessfully to calm and control her. She was scared to death of the car ride and I was now rethinking our move, I was scared to death of her. 

Despite those auspicious beginnings, we became best friends. We called her Snoopy, straight out of the Peanuts cartoon, even though she was all black and looked nothing like the dog in the Sunday comics. Without the other dogs as competition, she started to grow and get bigger.

She might have had a shaky start, but she soon found a home with the family. She became the love of our family, taking over for our first dog, Shep, a lovable collie that had been hit by a passing car a year earlier. She loved looking up a you and convincing you to rub her belly. She could lie that way for hours. She had a long and happy life.

When we had to put her down years later, I couldn’t help but think that my mom and I helped save her, but in the end, she ended up saving me. Here’s hoping St. Peter has a long memory and a sweet spot for dogs.

32 thoughts on “Facing St. Peter

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  1. I’ll bet St. Pete does have a sweet spot for dogs. And that he wouldn’t hold you accountable for the extra $9 anyway. 😄 In any case, this was a wonderful story, and I love how you said Snoopy took over for Shep. We lost our dog, Whistle, in October and I still miss her SO much. I really want to get another dog, but feel like it would be disloyal. Your post helped me feel a little better. Now I just have to convince my husband. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m not sure what others would tell you, but my advice: go for it, get the dog. It’s not disloyal. I actually think it’s a way to honor Whistle, that she played such an important role, you want to remember her and add to her legacy. There’s a reason why dogs are called “man’s best friend.” I’m really glad that my post made you feel better. I was thinking of holding it, I’ve written a lot lately about dogs, but some thing told me to publish. Hope it made your day. Thanks for the feedback! 😎

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  2. I’m with Keri who said, above, “I love dog stories”. Me, too, me, too! Thank you so much for sharing the story about Snoopy. It made my heart sing this morning…all the belly rub images and meaningful moments shared about saving her. And I love the glimpses of your mom mixed in. What a lovely woman. xo! 🤍🤍🤍

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    1. I gave Snoopy a ton of treats over the years. I sort of wish I had given her more, you know, to help the likelihood that she’s waving to St. Peter and barking/saying, “yea, he’s actually one of us, he’s okay.” Ha, ha, let’s hope anyway. Now, if this were my mother, she’s the saint, there will be no question. St. Peter will be looking down and saying, “Yo, Brian, what’s your problem? Why weren’t you more like your mother?” Ha, ha, glad the blog brought a smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pets are so special and, I suspect, earn bonus points in Sr. Peter’s book. 😉 My family always had a soft spot for animals growing up and whenever anyone found a dog or cat in need of a home, they knew who to call. It always felt good knowing that we had given them a good life.

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    1. Yea, I have no idea if the story about Snoopy being on “death row” was true . . . I tend to think it might have been, but I always found it funny that we came home with Snoopy no questions asked. I can’t recall my mom calling my dad or asking him in advance, so I wonder if the handoff was planned all along. That’s something that would have been a big discussion with them. In any event, I’m glad that we were able to give her a good home.

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  4. I can’t speak for St. Peter, but your story certainly did hit MY sweet spot. But I’m not so sure that St. Pete is the one who judges us—I inclined to think that most of us take on that job for ourselves. Some of us are pretty good at it too, huh? (If you could see me now, you’d see that my hand is up!) 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My hand is up too Julia! But, something tells me St. Peter’s going to say, “not so fast, you should have judged yourself a little tougher there smark-alek, we don’t grade on a curve!” Ha, ha, lol. I hope the piece made you laugh. I mentioned in another comment, I’m counting on Snoopy giving St. Peter a kind bark on my behalf to help my chances. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect that St. Peter and his friends are a whole lo easier on us than we are on ourselves. They probably earned their status as gatekeepers by virtue of their loving kindness, non-judgment and forgiveness skills. Perhaps we should go thou and do likewise! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hallelujah. Oh my goodness, I love how your phrased that. Very close to how I was taught, but we as a society have seemed to stear away from. Kindness, non-judgmental, and forgiveness: such wonderful, strong words. Yes, perhaps we should follow that lead. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are so right Brian. The basic values that we are taught seem to have disappeared as amidst so much darkness and fear these days. I support us all in getting back on track. All aboard the love train! 💕

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Great point Sheila! I think you’re right. Of course, now I get this image of St. Peter starting to give me a thumbs down and, out of nowhere, all the pets I’ve had over the years coming running to greet me, saving me in the nick of time from ultimate doom. Ha, ha, at least, I hope that happens. If nothing else, it means that Nittany, our 13-year-old Lhasa Apsa-Bichon Frise will be getting an extra treat tonight! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a sweet and lovely post, Brian. Although I am a cat lover and owner of Peanut, my beautiful tortoiseshell furry friend, I do still like to read heartwarming dog stories. I think St Peter will welcome you with open arms for taking such good care of a then vulnerable puppy and giving it a new warm, and comfortable home. I’m glad Snoopy brought you and your family so much happiness. I don’t think you were being disloyal to get another dog at all. If anything, I’d say that should go in your favour at the pearly gates – giving another dog a chance to be in a happy and loving home. I’m sure Shep would have approved.

    I’m sorry that I’ve missed commenting on a couple of your posts. I’ve been madly busy; I was out late at a meeting last night and had my best friend here all day, which was lovely. I’m behind with everyone’s posts at the moment. I did briefly see your post on your new website, but the writing was tiny and not easy to read. Of course, it could be that I’m due for some new reading glasses!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No worries Ellie. I hope folks can read my stuff, but I know too that you have a life. I find it hard too to keep up with all the blogs I follow. I read what I can, that’s all. No need to comment too. Comment on what speaks to you. Wonderful that you had your friend over. Funny the difference friends make in our lives. Hope you are well. Thanks so much for checking in, always glad to hear from you, but again, no pressure!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

      Liked by 1 person

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