The Story Behind Our Stories

God works in mighty and mysterious ways to draw together people and ministries. I (M.R. Wells) thought you might enjoy a little “back story” about how our books and outreach through our pets came to happen.

pet_morganRewind with me to a Christmas over 15 years ago. I’d been having a persistent training problem with my little sheltie mix, Morgan. I’d been trying to work with him. But Christmas night, he “messed” again. In spite of all my efforts, he’d still blown it. And I lost it.

I knew I loved this dog dearly. I knew my yard was fenced and gated. I knew I didn’t mean what was coming out of my mouth. But I needed to vent. I put Morgan outside, in the fenced and gated yard, and told him to go live somewhere else.

Three minutes later I was running up the outdoor steps to the back fence, calling the little guy. When he came I gathered him in my arms. I plopped down on a step, wept into his fur, and told him that no matter what he did, I would always love him. I told him he was going nowhere. He was mine, no matter how badly he blew it, no matter how many times he messed.

And suddenly, out in the cold on Christmas night, with my little dog in my arms, it hit me. What a picture of my relationship with God! Through faith in Jesus’ death for my sins, I was adopted into God’s family…just as I’d adopted Morgan into mine. But I still sinned. I still kept “messing.” Even so, God didn’t put me out and tell me to go live somewhere else. He loved me so much that He was not willing to part with me, even though I deserved it (so much more than my dog did). So, figuratively speaking, He did with me what I did with Morgan. He gathered me into His lap, wept over me, and forgave me!

In that moment an idea was born. Could I write a book about how my Master used my dogs to reveal more to me about His love?

Fast forward several years from that moment. During the intervening time I occasionally went back to that idea, like a dog to a bone. I toyed with it. But I didn’t really “chew” it. Other people had done devotional books about pets. Was there room for another? Did I have enough to say?

Then one weekend, I was part of a small group praying over a mutual friend who was battling cancer. After our prayer time, some of us started talking. I learned two others in that prayer group, Kris Young and Connie Fleishauer, had both thought of doing books on what their dogs had taught them about God’s love. We looked at each other and said, “What if we wrote a book together?”

I already had an agent because of another book project. We put some thoughts together and shared them with him. He was intrigued and asked that we develop some sample stories. We worked with him to tweak our format and some months later he sold our project to Harvest House Publishers. They released our first book, Four Paws from Heaven: Devotions for Dog Lovers, in February of 2006. It has now sold over 125,000 copies.

Okay, so we’d given recognition to how God used the special dogs in our lives—but what about our cats? Connie and I had kitties too. Were there things God showed us through our equally delightful but somewhat more willful feline friends that would make an engaging devotional for cat lovers?

God emphatically said “yes” and in the process gave Connie and me a new cat-loving co-author…an awesome Bible teacher and dear friend, Dottie P. Adams.

I and my friends went on to write four more devotional books together, two for cat lovers and two for dog lovers.  Now they’re pursuing other endeavors, but God has put it on my heart to turn a new page in my own love of animals.  Dogs to the Rescue celebrates how our wonderful four-pawed pals help their humans in a multitude of ways.

Each story also serves as a metaphor for how God rescues us.

I am now working on a new book about the healing influence of dogs.

My royalties from both of these solo efforts will go to nonprofits involved with the stories who are working to expand the marvelous partnership between dogs and people in ways that provide hope and help and make a positive difference.

So, that’s my story so far…and now I invite you, my readers, to join the tale as well.  Click “Reader Feedback” and share your response to the books on this site.  Or click “Share Your Story” and tell how a special pet of your own has impacted your life.  I’d love to hear from you…and thanks so much!