I remember being in the congregation during a sacrament meeting in which a newly returned missionary was giving his homecoming talk. As he shared various experiences, he would explain why he felt the need to share. I remember him saying that all missionaries have at least one dog story.
“We do?” I had thought.
We knocked on two more doors I think, and then Sister Felix became disgusted and announced that we may as well just return to our car, as we obviously weren’t going to get anything accomplished. What? No more knocking door-to-door? I was right. They were four-legged angels.
“We do?” I had thought.
I must admit that I had missed his dog story as I had been thinking of my own. One that actually brings a smile to my face each time I think about it.
I was serving in an area where each door had been knocked on (weekly if not daily) by one religion or another. It came to the point that people just didn’t want to open their doors as they felt they were being bullied by religious freaks. We had actually been told to back off from going from door for at least a few months. No sweat off my brow. I hated that particular method of trying to find people, but I was with a companion who measured her missionary success by going from door-to-door.
Many members in that area referred to our companionship as “The Odd Couple” thus we named ourselves Oscar and Felix. I was Oscar, and my high-maintenance, “by-the-book” companion was Felix.
After two months of contacting members and searching for referrals in ways other than door-to-door, my companion counted down the days that we would go tracting door-to-door. I did not share in her excitement. I know there are people who have been found through knocking doors - but for me personally, it was not the greatest method and definitely did not measure my success (or failure) as a missionary.
We had gone to only two houses before a German Shepherd started to follow us from one house to the next. He would sit behind us and away from the door as we invited those who answered to listen to our message. A few would look at the dog and ask if he was ours. As we'd walk away from the skeptic who refused to believe the dog was ours, I'd make jokes just to get a rile out of my companion.
"Yes, it is our dog and if you don't listen to our message, he'll eat you."
My companion felt embarrassed and was a bit defensive as answered their concerns.
“He’s not our dog. He just started following us. We don’t know why.”
After four more houses or so, Sister Felix turned to me and said, “Sister Cannon, we need to say a prayer so that the dog will stop following us.”
I'm certain that the look that she saw on my face was one of puzzlement.
“Sister Felix, the dog could have been sent as a guardian angel. If a prayer is offered, it won’t be in harmony, as the dog is not bothering me. You go ahead and say a prayer if it makes you feel better.”
Sister Felix offered a prayer and pleaded that Heavenly Father return the dog to his home. No sooner did we say “amen” and we were joined by a Basset Hound – thus we had two dogs following us. They weren’t doing anything wrong. They seemed well behaved. But it bothered her – which only amused me further.