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Apple is a rescue dog. At ten months old, she was a pregnant and homeless teenager. There was no room in the inn, so she was sent to the Nogales shelter, where she was deemed undesirable (they thought she was a pit bull and would be difficult to place). So Apple was scheduled to be euthanized, her short life almost over before it began.

Then good things began to happen for Apple. A woman who runs a private animal rescue visited the shelter and saw something in Apple, saw that she’s a cattle dog with a good heart and a lot to give. And so Apple was taken to a foster home in Hereford, where she gave birth to three puppies, though she was still a puppy herself.

When her little ones were old enough, Apple was ready to be adopted, and was taken one day to an adopt-a-thon at a store in Sierra Vista. I walked into the store looking for a dog to rescue, but it was Apple who chose me. They let me open her crate to say hello; she came out and hugged me, literally leaning hard against me with a desperate yearning to be loved.

And now she is. She became our dog, and we became her family. Apple loves my wife Felida, and she loves me, and she especially loves her adopted puppy brother, a seven year old basset hound named Donald the Great & Terrible.

Apple bears the emotional scars of whatever happened to her before she went to the shelter. She is anxious and sometimes aggressive when she sees other dogs on walks, fearing that the streets are a dangerous place. She views certain men with suspicion, especially if they’re holding something like a cane. And she is eager for affection, as if she was once starving for love.  We are more than happy to share it with her, and she shares it right back with us. And so she is healing, and she is a happy dog.

She was once judged undesirable, but she is not. Now she’s where love lives.

This month, the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church begins a media campaign called ‘Where Love Lives.’ For the next year, you’ll hear messages about what kind of church we aspire to be – a scripturally based and fully inclusive church. A place where the image of God is recognized and valued in each person. A home for all, and especially for those judged by some to be undesirable.

As United Methodists, we know that the scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation.  We know that God’s amazing grace is a blessing meant for all people.  We’re called to be a courageous church – loving like Jesus, acting for justice, united in hope.  And we know that we are called to be a church where love lives.

I want to be part of that church, and I hope you do too.

Thanks for listening –
Matt

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