Saturday, November 13, 2010

The tale of a dog named Djaingo

Steven Boyd had been 12 years in the army. A series of accidents left him with multiple traumatic brain injuries, followed by a paralysis of the gastrointestinal tract. He could vomit 10 to 15 times an hour for days on end. He sometimes broke ribs in the process.

Steven felt he was dying.

One day he wandered into an animal shelter and offered to walk some of their dogs. While he was there, his eyes met the eyes of an Australian cattle dog.

In that moment, he said, he knew they were meant to be together. He offered to buy the dog. The shelter workers said the dog was due to be put down the following morning. The dog was too aggressive and could not be trained. Steven insisted.

He got his way.

Steven called the dog Djaingo. He put him through his own course of training. Within six months, Djaingo was affectionate and obedient. "He saved my life as much as I saved his," says Steven.

Four years ago, however, several days of vomiting left Steven feeling it was all too much. He took the cap off a bottle of bleach and prepared to commit suicide by drinking it.

Then he heard a voice, as clearly as he has heard anyone's voice. "Don't do this," it said. "It was my Father God," says Steven, "and I broke down. I get teary-eyed now talking about it."

Steven says his sickness has changed him. It has softened his heart in so many ways; made him realise that things people take for granted are sometimes the most important things in life.

Last year he taught Djaingo to say grace, and made a video of Djaingo saying grace as a gift for his mother. Steven knows the dog is not really praying, just being obedient so he can get his dinner - but, he says, "it's an affirmation of my faith."

Steven put a copy of the video on his Facebook page to amuse a few friends. Someone put it on YouTube. It was shown on TV. It's been seen by thousands, if not millions of people. (You can see it by clicking here.)

Steven has received 5,000 messages from people around the world, many of them saying how they have been blessed and encouraged by the video.

"Who would have thought," says Steven, "God would use my fat dog to spread His glory?"