by Bob Wickizer

Bob Wickizer
Jeremiah 23:1-6

Today we celebrate a variety of things; all related – The last Sunday of Pentecost, Christ the King Sunday, and my final Sunday serving as your rector. They are all related and to show you how they are related, first I need to tell you a story about my dog, Mike.

Mike is a chocolate Labrador retriever. His mother lived with us in four of the five locations where Joan and I have lived during our marriage. Some of you may know that I love to hunt small game including quail, pheasants and waterfowl. Mikes' mother was a fabulous hunting dog and she accompanied me on many memorable trips in the field. During seminary we followed the campus rules that allowed pets but not pets procreating more pets. Both of our daughters in their early adolescence desperately wanted to have puppies so when we moved from seminary to North Carolina, having puppies became one of their top priorities.

Mike's mother was also a chocolate lab. Our girls named her Tootsie. For two years I worked with a local dog breeder and trainer to fulfill my daughters' wishes for puppies. The efforts at canine procreation however proved fruitless. I gave up on the dog breeding program.

One day while working in the yard, Tootsie ran away for a couple of hours and returned with another chocolate lab in tow. She had good taste in partners and in due time she delivered a litter of nine puppies, all chocolate labs.

The girls had one of their childhood dreams fulfilled. I carefully tested each puppy for hunting potential. I settled on Mike and the girls were thrilled to keep one dog while we gave away the other eight. I trained Mike for a year until his first trip in the field. A traumatic event that day caused Mike to be forever gun shy. My hopes for another field companion were obliterated in our first trip. To make matters worse, his mother died relatively young leaving me with no help on my favorite outings and a noise p ...

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