Rev. Neil Dunnavant

Rev. Neil Dunnavant
Executive Pastor

About a month ago a dog showed up at our farm in Patrick County, Va. She stayed under a tractor left out in a pasture. We started feeding her and eventually she moved her home to a hay shed.

She never growls and always wags her tail, but she is very afraid. Skittish is the perfect word for her.

With lots of love and care and coaxing, she will now get a few feet from us. My daughter Emily (who fancies herself a dog whisperer) drove over from Asheville to work her magic. She did touch her briefly a few times but really very little progress was made.

Our thought is that if we have the animal control come and trap her now,  she will be euthanized because no one will want to adopt a skittish, terrified dog that won’t come close and let you pet it.

She is a pretty dog, which helps. Collie and Golden Retriever mix I am guessing. We have neighbors who come to feed her when we are not there, and we will give it a little more time.


We don’t know why

We have heard stories of people adopting dogs like this, and after several months they finally quit being afraid and bond with their owners. We call her Lady because she reminds me of another dog named Lady.

Perhaps Lady was abused in some way. We can’t be sure. We have no idea how she got to us or where she was before or how many miles she traveled or why she decided to start sleeping under the tractor.


Church can hurt

People, too, are wounded and abused. Sadly, many people have been wounded by church experiences and never want to go back to any church again. They got hurt and don’t want to take another chance. They are skittish.

I find this so very sad. People come to church to be nurtured and loved and accepted for who they are and inspired to do better. How heartbreaking when of all places it is the church (church people, church leaders, church policies) that wound them.


Understanding & patience

We all have some wounds and some forms of skittishness from past experiences. Keeping that in mind helps me be more understanding and patient and hopefully less judgmental.

Contemplating my own previous wounds and slow recoveries reminds me of how long it takes to heal and how long it may take for Lady the dog to run up to us and let us pet her.