Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Pit-Bull's Rosary

Maple with her rosary
She was found tied to a picnic table behind a veterinary hospital in Dayton, Ohio.  A stout Pit-bull with big sorrowful eyes had been abandoned there on a late Saturday afternoon in September.  She had several bloody wounds on her body with a clear crystal beaded rosary swaying from her neck.

At the veterinary hospital, where she was found, staff members were able to clean the dog's wounds and take care of her immediate needs, but because she was homeless and needed full-time care they called a local rescue group who agreed to take her.

The veterinary hospital, gave her the name Maple and drove her 20 minutes across town to SICSA Pet Adoption Center.  Robin, a veterinary technician, kissed Maple good bye, leaving her and her rosary with SICSA's staff.

Knowing I was Catholic, SICSA's Kennel Manager, came to my desk placing the rosary in my hand.  As the Marketing Coordinator for SICSA Pet Adoption Center, my job is raising money to care for homeless animals, which most always involves telling their story.  This story was different.  I could never really blend my two loves seamlessly before; dogs and the rosary.  Now, right before the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, God gave me the opportunity.

The rosary was worn but still elegant looking even though it was covered with grime.  Around each of the clear beads was a silver metal crisscross design.  A silver crucifix hung from one end of the strand; a Miraculous Medal connected the strands together in the middle.  One of the links in the chain had pulled apart dividing the rosary into one long piece instead of a circle, probably from Maple wiggling when tied to the picnic table.

The story about the abandoned pit-bull and the rosary spread quickly through the adoption center.  As staff and volunteers heard about the Pit-bull's rosary a sadness crossed their face.  There was a sadness with this rosary.  Not able to speak for herself, the rosary spoke for Maple.  She was loved.  The rosary had a unknown story too.  Like the Pit-bull, the rosary had a mysterious previous life we'd probably never know about.

Who knows who left the rosary around Maple's neck or why.  It could have been an owner who could no longer care for her, it could have been a kind stranger who believed she would have a better chance if left at a veterinarian's office.  Whoever it was, they left Maple with a cherished possession.  Perhaps not wanting to leave Maple alone, the rosary was draped around her with prayers and tears trusting in God's providence to take care of His creation.  There is faith in a rosary, not only in God and His mother but in His people too.

SICSA staff are still waiting on test results to determine a cause for Maple's skin disease, which had caused her wounds.  Meanwhile, Maple happily enjoys walks with the staff and volunteers at SICSA, who are waiting-hoping for good news.   There is hardly a time when Maple's tail isn't wagging.  When greeting people, her tail twists and wiggles into a full body wag.

After being cleaned and repaired, Maple's rosary is as good as new.  It rests on Maple's kennel door making a clinking noise whenever the door opens and closes.  It's an odd sound in the dog kennels.  I noticed the other homeless dogs there, not recognizing the noise, stop and listen to the clinking of the rosary hitting the metal crate.  I wonder how many years this rosary has given people faith? How many prayers have been whispered across it?  How many tears have washed over its beads? 

It may seem to some, like an odd spot to place a rosary but not to me.   The rosary is continuing its journey of faith, not just with Maple, but with everyone who sees the sign of hope on her kennel door and hears the hopeful clinking sound it makes.  Maple's rosary has renewed my own faith. Trusting that one day a new owner's loving touch will embrace them both, this time never letting them go.

Update:  Maple's adoptive family:  #6


  1. So excited to have found your blog. We've currently got two rescues, and I always wonder about their stories. Maple's is particularly poignant.

    1. Thanks Cari. When Maple came in with a rosary, I couldn't believe it. The family that adopted her was a woman and so. The woman was raised Catholic but not practicing. I've always wondered if the rosary was meant for her. I hope to know the rest of their story some day.