Pickin’ Up Strays


I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for strays.  As soon as Sadie looked up at me with her big, brown eyes, her cold, wet nose was firmly implanted into my heart forever.  She was about four months old and was already abused and unwanted.  I took her into my arms and my home and she became my family.

My Dad wasn’t nearly as sure about Sadie as I was.  When I told him that I’d taken in a thrown-away dog, his immediate response was, “Why is she your responsibility?  Can’t somebody else take care of her?  You don’t need another mouth to feed!” 

He didn’t speak to me for three days.  But my mind was made up.  She was my responsibility.  I was going to take care of her.  And it didn’t matter that it was going to cost me to feed her.  In my heart and mind, she was worth it.

I don’t just take in stray dogs.  I’ve been known to take in stray people, too.  I guess it’s because I’ve been a stray.  I’ve been wandering and lost on the road of life.  I’ll always be grateful for the people that God sent to pick me up along the way…  John and Martha, the couple that nursed me through the end of my 3 year relationship and broken engagement…  Chris and Eliza, the friends who talked me into going to college when I didn’t think I had a future and who have been there for me every minute since…  Rick and Robert, the friends that took me out for lunch every Sunday afternoon throughout my three and a half years of college…  And they proofread my screenplay…  And they kept my car running…  And they kept me from quitting when I didn’t think I could make it though one more day.

Earlier this year, my friend Darla had to have surgery.  After the hospital released her, Darla wasn’t able to take care of herself.  A couple that we know took her into their home and took care of her, even though the wife is suffering from cancer and is somewhat weak.  They knew Darla’s need and instead of pointing at others and saying, “YOU take care of her,” they took her in and said, “WE will find a way to take care of you.”  What an incredible picture of the heart of Christ!

I was reminded of this example recently when received a call from a friend who needed somewhere for her and her child to stay for a short time.  I’ve lived alone for two years now, but I have the extra space.  I told my friend yes, but the first voice I heard after I hung up the phone was my dad’s voice.  “Why is she your responsibility?  Can’t somebody else take care of her?  You don’t need more mouths to feed!”  But then I heard a Greater Voice:

“Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others?  Will that kind of faith save anyone?  If you have a friend who is in need of food or clothing, and you say to him, ‘Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,’ and then don’t give him clothes or food, what good does that do?  So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith.  You must also do good to prove that you have it.  Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all—it is dead and useless.”  (James 2:14-17 TLB)

So, now that I’ve made my Dad out to be a heartless ogre, let me just say that after three days of silent treatment, he drove an hour and a half to come meet Sadie.  It was love at first sight and now, “Grandpa” and Sadie are the best of pals.  Also let me say that my Dad is the one that taught me that being there for people in the hard times is the best, strongest, most important ministry of all.  (So Dad, now that Chris and I have been your object lessons in sermons for 30+ years, now it’s your turn!  You forgive me??)

About Sarah Salter


  1. Eliza Garrison says:

    Hi Baby, Awe, What an awesome Message of love, faith, and the true heart of Christ in Action!! Sarah, I Love every word of this message, in action!!
    I love Your Dad & Mom, without them I would not have the privilege of knowing such an awesome, and wonderful child of God!!!!

    Love ya!

  2. Neal Salter says:

    Yes, it’s time for pay back and yes I forgive you. I am also grateful that God has used you so many times to remind me of lessons in life He is trying to teach me as well. I should tell you more often just how much you mean to me and your mama. I know your grandparents are smiling in Heaven at how great a witness for Christ you are. Continue to relate your life experiences to us to help us see that certainly the Word of God is applicable to every avenue of our life.

    I love you,


  3. Hi there. I noticed I have seen you on Billy’s blog a few times and wanted to check your site out. I also was thrilled to see you had Billy’s button. I made that for him and I was so excited to see it actually used; how cool!!!

    Sadie looks like an awesome dog….I’m the same way….I saw a freakin’ turtle once cross the road and I stopped right in the middle of other cars to make sure it didn’t accidentally get run over, then scooped it up and took it home. This was years ago, but since thin I just love little turtles, though right now I have zero pets, just kids-ages 3 and 5. Does this count as pets? It sure feels like it sometimes, wiping up after them, cleaning up my 3 yr. old’s ‘accidents’, if you know what I mean…….

    Anyway, I wanted to check out your blog and see who you were as well.

    I always enjoy getting to know more friends, especially Christian friends. Anyway, nice to meet you. I’m sure I’ll see you around still from time to time. Just wanted to plop in and introduce myself. I’m Sarah, just like you…..love your name by the way….don’t we have the coolest names????! LOL

    Your blog is different….why don’t you have a ‘followers’ list for someone like moi to follow or others to follow? You sound like a light-hearted and fun person to know….or at least read about on occasion.

    Well it’s getting late….better get back to leaving comments on my other friends blogs so they don’t feel I’ve disowned them…..and then it’s time to hit the hay! Good night!

    ~Sarah Cecilia

  4. Well you did “paint a pretty heartless picture of your Dad”, but we all know better.. And turn about was fair play.. Hey I think we were both “strays” at one time.. and I still am.. lol.. But anyway.. you always do what Christ would have done and that is what counts..


  5. SO glad you have Miss Sadie in your life…and your daddy is glad to have a “grandpuppy” to be sure!

    I do so love your stories…and having been called out in one or two of my own daddy’s sermons, I can certainly appreciate the need for payback! LOL.

    Bless you sweet Sarah!

Speak Your Mind