In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had clearly been abused.
In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary known as a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need.
Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.
The dog had other ideas. No-one remembers now how it began, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It wouldn’t matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit, or probably a rhinoceros, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and where possible, deliver a welcome lick.
Geoff relates one of the early incidents. “We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the center and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the couch. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.”
“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her but to settle into their new surroundings.”
“She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.”
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted dog, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and d15 rabbits.
And one foe deer fawn.
Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster mom role. Jasmine showers Bramble with affection and makes sure nothing is matted in her fur.
“They are inseparable,” says Geoff. “Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It’s a real treat to see them.”
We all have the opportunity to be like Jasmine. It might be that new employee at t the company who feels scared. It might be that new kid or teacher in a school who feels uncomfortable. It could be someone coming to your church for the first time and not knowing what to expect. Taking a person under our wing might be just what they need at that moment. Surely something to think about.
It might even be one of our returning veterans of these two wars that have been and are still fighting.
Our Lord exemplified an encouraged his disciples to care for and love one another during his earthly ministry. The Apostle Paul instructed the saints to particularly care for those of the household of faith.
Soldiers of the cross together,