On the Loose Again

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Mackenzie Isabelle Evans glanced out the window. “Oh, no!” Mac cried, “Molly’s running down the street! I better go catch her!”

“Put your coat on before you go out,” Mom said. “It’s windy.”

Mac dashed into the kitchen. She grabbed her bright blue jacket from the hook by the back door. She jabbed her arms into the sleeves, pulled open the door, and tried to zip up the zipper as she jumped off the back porch. It didn’t work. Mac took a deep breath, paused by the bottom step, and yanked at the zipper. She looked up to see Molly, trotting on her stubby little legs, disappear around the corner of the block.

“Oh, bother!” Mac muttered, jogging down the sidewalk. “Molly!” she hollered. “Molly! Come here, Molly!”

When Mac reached the corner, she saw Molly happily sniffing at the tires of a car parked next to the curb. “Molly! Come here, you naughty dog!” she called.

Molly lifted her head, stared at Mac, and trotted rapidly down the sidewalk. Her long ears bobbed and flapped as she hurried away. Mac chased after her. “Molly, stop!” Mac yelled as Molly bounced steadily along—right across the intersection, without looking for cars.

Mac stopped running. Molly was obviously not going to allow herself to be caught. Mac turned around and jogged back down the sidewalk, back around the corner, and up to Mrs. Lowe’s front door. She pushed the doorbell and listened to the chimes that sounded deep inside the house.

In a little while the door opened. “Why hello, dear,” Mrs. Lowe smiled. “How are you today?”

“Molly’s running away down the street! I’m fine, thank you,” Mac answered. “I tried to catch her, but she just ran away from me!” she went on.

Mrs. Lowe’s smile disappeared. “Oh, my!” she said. “I guess I’ll have to go get her. She won’t come if anyone else calls her name. Will you go with me, dear?” she asked.

“Sure,” Mac answered. “I’ll show you which way she went. She just ran across the street! She could have been hit by a car!”

“Let me put on my coat,” Mrs. Lowe said. “And I’ll get Molly’s leash.” She shut the door.

Mac jumped up and down, up and down on the three steps of Mrs. Lowe’s front porch while she waited.

Finally the door opened and Mrs. Lowe reappeared with hat, coat, and gloves. She clutched Molly’s brown leather leash in one hand. “May I hold on to your arm, dear, while I go down the steps?” Mrs. Lowe asked. “I’m not as steady on my feet as I used to be. I can’t jump down the steps anymore like you,” she said with a laugh. “I used to be a champion jumper years ago when I was young. Can you believe it?” She laughed.

Mac held her arm out away from her side, and Mrs. Lowe leaned on it as they slowly went down the steps. “May I hold on to you as we walk along, dear?” Mrs. Lowe asked. “I’m not as steady on my feet as I used to be, you know.”

“Sure,” Mac answered. She and Mrs. Lowe inched their way toward the sidewalk. Mac was absolutely positive they’d never catch up with Molly at the rate they were going. “Do you think we’ll find Molly?” she asked anxiously. She didn’t know how to hurry Mrs. Lowe along.

“Of course, we’ll find her,” Mrs. Lowe answered with certainty. “She will come to me when I call her. But I’m very unhappy with her for sneaking out of the backyard. She pushes and wiggles against the gate, you know, and if she does it long enough, the latch with slip open. I’ve got to get somebody to fix that latch for me. This is the third time Molly has escaped this week!”

Mac and Mrs. Lowe turned the corner the way Molly had gone. But Molly was not in sight. Mrs. Lowe stopped. “Molly, dear!” she called in her high, thin voice. “Molly, my dear, where are you?”

There was no doggy answer.

“I guess we’ll have to go farther,” Mrs. Lowe said. She and Mac started walking again. Slowly. Very slowly.

Halfway down the next block, Mrs. Lowe stopped once more. “Molly, dear!” she called. “Where are you?”

“Woof!” A low bark sounded from behind some thick bushes. A long brown and white face peeked around the bushes.

“Molly!” Mrs. Lowe exclaimed happily. “Come here, my pet!”

Molly trotted out from behind the bushes. She trotted right up to Mrs. Lowe. She sat down, wagged her tail back and forth, and waited patiently while Mrs. Lowe bent over and clipped on her leash. “Woof!” she barked again.

Mrs. Lowe straightened up and sighed contentedly. “Thank you so much, dear, for coming to tell me that Molly was out.” She smiled at Mac. “She has no sense of direction, you know. And she loves to wander. It took me over an hour to find her one time, you know. Let’s go home, girl,” Mrs. Lowe said to her dog. She held onto Molly’s leash with one hand and onto Mac’s arm with the other.

“It must be hard to have a dog that likes to run away,” Mac said. What she really meant was that it must be a real pain, but she was trying to be polite. “Don’t you get tired of going after her?” she asked.

Mrs. Lowe stopped. She peered into Mac’s face. “Oh, no, dear!” she answered. “I love her, you know!” she said.

Mac thought about what Mrs. Lowe had said as she walked back to her house. “Mom, did you know that Jesus is like Mrs. Lowe?”

Mom looked puzzled. “What do you mean, Mac?”

“Every time Molly runs away, Mrs. Lowe goes to find her and brings her back. She never gets tired of running after Molly because she loves her. Jesus does the same for us. No matter how many times we run away from Him and do something wrong, Jesus always comes after us and forgives us,” Mac said.

Mom smiled. “You’re right, Mac. Jesus is a lot like Mrs. Lowe.”

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