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A Man, a Dog and Tough Times

The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares a story about how a man found his way back to prayer.

Early this morning I was walking Millie when one of those little mop-like dogs I can never identify emerged from a brownstone on 29th St., tugging a middle-aged man on a leash. Of course Millie had to stop and say hello and get in a little pre-breakfast play. The mop-dog was named Boris.

“How old is Boris?” I asked while Millie rolled on her back and let Boris climb all over her. 


“Funny, I’ve never see you two out here. Millie knows all the dogs in the neighborhood.”

“Well, we’ve changed our schedule.”

“Daylight Savings Time?”

“No, I lost my job.”

I said I was very sorry to hear that. I hear it all too often these days and it always makes me feel awkward. 

“At least I get to spend more time with Boris,” he said. 

He was an engineer who’d worked for the same firm for over a decade. He was hoping that some of the money from the government stimulus plan might trickle his way and he would be hired on for a project soon. 

“All you can do is hope,” he sighed. Boris was chewing on Millie’s ear now. “My wife got a temporary job that’s been a godsend. But my daughter lost her part-time college job and had to quit school. She’s moved back in and, really, it’s been great having her around. I haven’t spent this much time with her in years. We cook and clean and so far it’s been fun.”

We disentangled our dogs and walked on down the block. 

“There are people worse off than me,” he said. “I started helping out at a church soup kitchen. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you see others so much worse off. In a way this whole thing has been a learning experience. I’ve really taken a look at my values. I never knew how much I’d been blessed until some of it started to go away. How much more I’ll lose I don’t know. But the important stuff, my family, my faith, the goodness of people, that won’t go away.”

“Don’t forget Boris,” I reminded him.

“He’s family,” the man said, scooping him up from Millie’s slobbery grasp.

“I just hope things get better soon,” he said, heading back toward his brownstone. “Sometimes worry gets the better of hope. I’ve been trying to pray more. It helps. I’d forgotten…”

We parted ways then. I liked talking to the man, and Millie clearly liked Boris. But I would say a prayer when I got home for Boris and his owner to get back on schedule soon.

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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