Loki and Roy—Best Friends

DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Guest Post by Curt Iles @CurtIles

Loki and Roy—Best Friends

I stood on the sidewalk outside Tamp and Grind Coffee, waiting for our weekly, homeless Bible study to begin.

That’s when I saw Roy. His face was a mask of pain, and his puffy eyes were ample testimony that he’d been crying.

Roy’s countenance and body language weren’t contortions of physical pain. It was pure grief.

Grief. When you see it, you’ll know it. It’s hard to hide.

I looked for Loki, but the dog was nowhere to be seen. Something had happened to Roy’s beloved companion. Many homeless people have dogs, and they are much more than pets. They’re a comfort in their hopeless wanderings.

I had observed Roy and Loki weekly at Church on the Levee. As Loki sat tethered, his master tenderly stroked Loki’s back. Clearly, this black and tan hound helped calm the demons in Roy. But today, Loki was missing, and Roy stood alone, obviously in deep pain.

Someone whispered. “Loki was killed this week. Someone shot him.”

I was shocked. Loki was a gentle dog tied to Roy by a red leash-lifeline. The story sounded murky. When you live on the street, many things can happen, mostly bad.

I walked over and stood beside Roy, grieving with him. I also know the deep pain of losing a beloved dog. I put my arm around his shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Roy. I know how much Loki meant to you. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

I’ve learned that fewer words and more physical touch are needed in the face of grief.

As Bible study began, I took my seat in a wrought iron outdoor chair. My dog, Bandit, stirred under my feet. Bandit is my constant companion and great company. He’s a mutt from the animal shelter. We have a mutual admiration society. I saved him from the pound and an uncertain future. He faithfully sat beside me during the blackest depths of a depression that shook my life to its foundation. We are grateful for each other, and that’s why I enjoy his company. That’s why he’s with me today. I simply enjoy being with him.

Roy took a chair beside me, his head in his hands. I sensed the sorrow flowing from his soul.

Evidently, Bandit recognized it, too. He ross from under my chair and placed his muzzle on Roy’s shoe.

And that’s where Bandit stayed. He eventually put his paws on Roy’s knees, and Roy stroked his back.

Bandit kept vigil at his post throughout the entire lesson.

I’m not ashamed that I cried. Not boo-hoo sobbing, but the best type of tears: my eyes welled up and silently overflowed down my cheeks.

I looked up at some of my friends. They nodded at Bandit with a quiet, knowing smile mixed with the same kind of tears.

The Bible study ended.

Roy walked away.

One of our leaders nodded at Bandit. “Curt, that dog’s a comfort dog. He knew just what to do. He knew Roy needed his presence.”

I silently nodded.  I don’t believe animals have souls, but I do sense that God has put a spark of something inside a dog that can sense when a person is hurting.

We don’t call them man’s best friend for nothing.

Curt

Our homeless Bible study meets Tuesdays at 5:00 PM outside Tamp and Ground Coffee in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana. Come join us for a cup of coffee.

Read more stories like this at www.creekbank.net or follow us at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCreekTribe/

Curt Iles is a Louisiana writer who shares stories celebrating the people and places of his home state. He is the author of thirteen books and regularly posts at www.creekbank.net and on  Facebook.

Curt and his wife, DeDe, live in Alexandria, Louisiana, near their nine grandchildren.

Thank you, Curt!

Comments 24

  1. Such a precious story! As a counselor, I have a therapy dog named Luci. Her presence in the counseling room brings much healing to those hurting. She has also been a comforting presence for me during the past three years I have been on a grief journey. God truly meant for there to be an animal – human bond!

  2. Such a beautiful story. I have seen animals mourn their owners when they pass. I always think it is good to find a new pet to love on…we love our present kitty!!

  3. Thanks for this story, DiaAnn.
    God works in mysterious ways, including using aninals to comfort humans by their love and loyalty. As children, growing up in Jamaica, we always always had dogs.They waited for us, at the bottom of the hill, when we returned from school each day, and I remember my next to youngest brother, being inconsoalabe the day, our dog Rover was not here to meet us, because she had died.

    1. Frances, thanks for sharing your story. If only we could find that same love and loyalty in every human. Losing a pet is a type of grief only another pet owner can understand.

  4. I thank God for this outreach ministry and for sending Curt’s dog to comfort Roy. I am so sorry for his loss as I know how deep that pain is.

  5. Proverbs 12:10 says, “A righteous man is kind to animals.” Watching a friend being kind and gentle to her dogs spilled over into my own life. If I didn’t have the sense to restrain myself, my house and yard would probably be infested with cats and dogs. I will leave you all with this. My cat Jade would watch me go out the front door and then she would run through the house to the back and perch on the window ledge to watch whatever I was doing in my back yard and meet me back at the front door whenever I was ready to come back inside. God made animals so smart and to be treated with special care🐕🐩🐈🐶🐱

    1. Dawn, thank you for sharing your love of animals. I hadn’t read that verse in Proverbs, and it is fitting for today’s post. Our animals love us! And we love them in return.

  6. This story broke my heart. I hope that Roy finds another dog to love in time, and I hope that in the meantime people are looking out for Roy. He needs all the compassion and help he can receive from those around him.

  7. Love this story. We had two Boston terrier. Sisters. Abbey and Sami. We got them in 2008. They were inseparable. We loved them so much and gave them the best life we could. Sami eventually lost one eye but managed well. She ended up with diabetes and we had her on insulin. In January 2021 she became really ill. Vet told us there was not much he could do for her. We had to let her go. Abbey knew here sister was no where around any more. As 2021 moved forward we discovered she had diabetes also and her eye sight was diminishing. November 2021 she became very ill. We knew what the outcome was going to be. We had to let her go. We cried many years and still do. Miss them so much. I will never understand how anyone can mistreat them. They are beautiful little creatures and such good companions. I honestly feel for that man. So sad. We have yet to get another dog. I want one so badly so we will see. Thank u for the his story. Truly touching and tearful.
    Joan

  8. Beautiful 😍 I had tears in my eyes as I read this. I have my own special pup who has ministered to me during days when my chronic illness has left me either in bed or on the couch. His loving presence is a balm to my soul. Thank you so much for sharing this touching story.

  9. Sweet sweet story. Great reminder that we need fewer words and more hugs to express our sympathy. And great reminder to hug my own little dog this morning…she is a “heartbeat at my feet,” to quote Edith Wharton, and a comforting gift from God.

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