By Karen Granger
The Good News
According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 74.5 million owned dogs in the US. Thirty-nine percent of households have at least one dog. Just 10 percent of owned dogs are adopted from animal shelters.
You think someone couldn't possibly write an entire book in rhyme?
Well, you're barking up the wrong tree.
Dr. Andrea MacVicar of Coral Springs, Fla., did just that when she penned, "Tales of Zoftic," a beautiful story of family love based on the life of her rescued black Labrador.
And the really beautiful part? MacVicar and her husband, who have served in Christian ministry for most of their lives, decided to give all the profits to charities.
"We're giving away every penny of the proceeds. Our goal is to give away a million dollars to charities," says Andrea.
Organizations benefiting from the book include The Broward Humane Society, Christian Aid Mission, Friends of Greyhound, the Tri County Humane Society and Wycliffe Bible Translators.
"Since we've been in ministry most of our lives, we say we're in the rescue business – we rescue dogs – and souls," Andrea says.
Andrea grew up in a dog-loving home that made it a point to rescue unwanted dogs, and that didn't change as an adult. Many years ago she heard whining coming from the large field behind her home in Michigan. After investigating, she found five puppies that had been abandoned. She kept a female and found homes for the others.
One day, a friend was admiring Andrea's newest family member, who was growing into a chubby pup. The friend exclaimed, "She's a Zofteg!" referring to a German term meaning "well endowed."
Andrea and Mac, her husband of 44 years, would soon refer to their beloved canine as Zoftic, which was easier to pronounce and fit in well with the poem Andrea began to write about the dog.
Soon Andrea became busy with education, and she tucked her writing away. She earned her doctorate from Kingsway Christian College and Theological Seminary in Des Moines, Iowa. She also received a scholarship and studied creative writing.
Over the years, Zoftic became a beloved family member and became particularly close buddies with the MacVicar's other rescued dog, Winnie the Pooh.
"We gave Winnie the Pooh her name since she won our hearts and poohed a lot," laughs Andrea.
When Winnie lost her sight, Zoftic literally became her seeing-eye dog, leading her all around their property. Andrea realized what a special gift Zoftic was, and after decades in full-time ministry, she dug out her writing on Zoftic and began expanding the poem, turning it into a full book, completely in rhyme.
Zoftic up, Zoftic down,
Zoftic all around the town.
She's as proud as she can be;
her heritage boasts pedigree.
Soft brown eyes and sleek black nose,
she is welcomed where she goes.
Sadly, Zoftic eventually died, and grieving her loss, the Lord put it on Andrea's heart to rescue a greyhound.
"A greyhound?" she questioned. She'd never been around a greyhound.
"Wouldn't a greyhound be too big to care for?" she wondered.
Sure enough, the MacVicars would soon run into a greyhound that needed a home. They've never run into one since. They are certain that the "Princess" currently at their home was meant to be with them.
Just as many people pray for a child or a spouse, Andrea and Mac believe in asking God to bring them just the right dog.
"Each dog has different temperaments and personalities, just as people, do," Andreas says. So it's important, she believes, for God to bring the perfect dog to just the right family.
She also sees knows that humans have a lot to learn from their canine friends.
"Dogs have a lot of traits we should have as Christians," says Andrea.
"They're loyal, defending, non-judgmental, forgiving and they love unconditionally."
"Their memories are not like ours," she adds. "They don't count wrongs. You walk in the door, they're happy! A dog makes a great companion."
Because of her love for dogs, her theological education, and because she's served in ministry for so long, Andrea is often asked if dogs go to heaven. While only God knows the answer to that one, Andrea says, "The Scriptures say [that] not a sparrow falls without the Lord noticing, and that our Lord comes back on a white horse. We also know heaven will be a place where we'll feel comfortable, and Adam and Eve were created in an environment of animals. I can't imagine heaven without our pets we enjoyed here on earth."
"Tales of Zoftic" can be found at www.InspirationPress.org along with a list of Andrea MacVicar's book signing events in South Florida.
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