Walking Sammie

Out for a morning stroll around the neighborhood with our Golden Retriever, Samantha (Sammie). She loves nothing better than kids, so when a young mom emerged from the condos with her two little ones, about 2 and 5, Sammie began her happy dance.

“Hi,” said the littlest one, smiling and waving at us. “She just wants to play,” I announced, reining her in on the lead.” At which point the serious-countenanced mom gathered the kids in and rushed them into the SUV. The look said it all. She wasn’t worried about the dog, who was in any case all wagging tail and smiles. She was worried about the friendly man with the dog…who might very well be a threat to her precious ones.

It is so tragic that we have come to this. After all the training I have received about “safe church” and sexual abuse, I virtually never hug a child not of my own family — in church or anywhere else, for that matter. I remember some years ago, coming into the nave of a church and seeing a little girl with whom I was somewhat acquainted sitting by herself on the front pew. My first inclination was to join her, for company. My second inclination: No way. Might be misinterpreted.

I do not, for one minute, believe that we do not need to take such precautions and require such training in our society today. But we have lost something of immense value.



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