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The Faith of Dogs. by Father Andrew Heyes as told to Anna Cooke W


hen his beloved dog Chalky became old and frail, Andrew Heyes and the dog’s veterinarian both knew it was time. The dog and Andrew had lived together in England for nearly 20 years. “We, the doctor and I,


both cried about it. As far as I was concerned, Chalky was to be my last-ever dog. Ever!” said Andrew. “I just didn’t ever want to


many resources and more than likely be put to sleep,” said the good doctor. “Okay, I’ll come over and take a look, but as I’ve said, I’m not


thinking about having a dog right now,” Andrew, who had gotten quite used to a dog-free regimen, replied. “I needn’t worry about getting home to walk the dog or about staying out late. Not that I did much of that, it was just, now I could. If I wanted to,”Andrew said, to no one. Still, he collected his car keys – and Chalky’s old collar and leash. Though his mind was not quite committed, in his heart, the dog had already found a home. At the veterinarian’s office, the dog, part Doberman


with the markings of a Lurcher, was encouraged to walk to Andrew, and did so in fear. “When he came to me and lifted his head, I found myself looking into the most trusting, beautiful eyes I had ever seen,” said Andrew, who announced, “His name is Toby.” Andrew had no idea where the name came from. Soon after adopting Toby, Father Andrew found him-


self up against a deadline as editor of his Church’s parish magazine. He had not yet written his column “From the Vicar’s Keyboard.” Drawing a complete blank about what to write, he looked down at his new canine partner and said, “Toby, I’m really stuck here. I’ve no idea what to write about. Have you any ideas? Of course, the dog had his own ideas. Father Andrew


soon discovered that Toby had a different slant on the world and could say things – and get away with them – that he couldn’t. Over the years, Toby and Father Andrew were together in three parishes across two continents, including the United States. Toby continued writing his column “From the Dog’s Paw” for the various parish publications that Andrew oversaw, including The Anchor for Tampa’s St. Clement’s Episcopal Church. Toby would be the first of Father Andrew’s three dogs to receive writing credits in the church magazines.


Father Andrew Heyes and Winston. Photograph by Anna Cooke


feel that wretched emptiness again.” A couple of months later, Andrew received a phone call from


Duncan the veterinarian. A stray dog was brought in by police after being hit by a car. “He’s in very bad shape – starved and weak. Normally I’d pass him on to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), but he’ll take up too


www.TheNewBarker.com


January 2003 - From the Dog’s Paw I was once one amongst thousands of other dogs who found out just what it really means to have a ‘dog’s life.’ I was thrown out of the house; I became the means by which people vented their tempers. If I was spoken to, it was only to be told to move out of the way. And all I was asking for was some love and affection – someone to recognize the affection I was giving to


them. Cats are strange creatures. Apart from running off when I approach them, they will also decide that they don’t like their keeper and move somewhere else. We canines can’t do that. We bond so much with our keepers that we see them as ‘top dog’ and so will follow them even if it means neglect and pain – and perhaps death. A dog has endless faith and hope.


(Continued on following page)g Winter 2018 THE NEW BARKER 49


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