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“Ding-a-ling-a-ling!” rang the bell on the ice cream truck.
It was spring break, and Justin and Jessie were playing outside.
“I’m hungry!” Justin exclaimed.
“You’re always hungry,” Jessie teased.
They ran up to the house where their mothers were chatting on the front porch.
“May we buy some ice cream? The truck is on our street right now!”
“Sure,” both moms said as they handed some money to the kids.
Justin and Jessie raced down the sidewalk towards the truck.
“I’d like a strawberry sundae cone,” Jessie told the driver.
“I think I want cookies and cream,” Justin decided.
They turned to walk home when a shaggy dog trotted up beside them licking his chops.
“Woah! Where did you come from?” Justin said. “I think he wants my ice cream.”
“Go home! Go on,” Jessie commanded.
But as they kept walking, so did the dog—all the way back to Justin’s house.
“What is that?” Justin’s mom asked.
“What do you mean? It’s my ice cream,” said Justin as he wiped some off his cheek.
“No, not that—that!” Mom pointed past Justin.
Justin turned. There, lying on the grass, was the dog.
“Oh! I guess he followed us home.”
Jessie noticed the dog was panting.
“He looks hot and thirsty.”
“Why don’t you give him some water, Justin?” said his mom.
The fluffy dog lapped up the water with gusto. Justin knelt beside him.
“Hey, Mom. He’s a nice dog. He doesn’t have a collar. Can I keep him?”
“Oh, Justin. He might actually belong to someone and may have just lost his collar.”
“I promise to take good care of him. I’ll wash him and feed him and brush him,” Justin begged.
“We’ll see what Dad thinks when he gets home. For now, you can feed him some bread and milk.”
Justin and Jessie sat in the yard with the dog, watching him gobble down the bread and milk.
“He sure likes that stuff,” said Justin.
“Yeah, but I think he really wanted your cookies and cream ice cream,” Jessie giggled.
“Hey! I think I’ll call him Cookies & Cream,” said Justin, grinning.
“His fur is all mixed up black and white like cookies and cream,” Jessie agreed. “But how about just calling him Cookie?”
Just then, Justin’s dad drove into the driveway. “What is this?” he asked walking towards the kids.
Justin explained how the dog had followed them home. “We just named him Cookie,” he finished, patting Cookie’s head.
The conversation at dinner that evening was all about the dog. Would they keep him or not? What if he was lost and someone wanted him back?
Justin frowned when his parents decided to take the dog to the animal shelter.
“You see,” Dad explained, “if he is lost, his owners would call the shelter, looking for him. But if we keep him here, they would never know and that wouldn’t be fair.”
Justin said goodbye to Cookie and Dad took him to the shelter.
Later, Dad walked into the house frowning.
“What’s wrong, Dad?” Justin asked. “Is Cookie okay?”
“Yes,” Dad replied. “But the man at the shelter said they can’t keep Cookie very long. They have too many dogs, and it’s too crowded. If Cookie’s owner doesn’t show up by Saturday, they’ll have to take Cookie somewhere else.”
“Oh no!” Justin said. He didn’t want Cookie to end up in a strange place all alone with no one to take care of him.
Justin thought about Cookie all week long. Finally, on Saturday Justin and Jessie sat in Justin’s yard.
“I don’t want Cookie to be alone, so I’ve been praying for him every night all week long.”
As Justin finished explaining to Jessie about the dog, his mom called to him from the window, “Justin! Will you come in please?”
“Okay! See ya, Jessie,” Justin said as he got up off the grass.
Justin walked through the front door to find his mom and dad staring at him.
“Um,” he said, “did I do something wrong?”
His parents smiled. “No. We just need to ask you an important question.”
Justin sat down.
His dad began by saying, “Justin, how much do you really want a dog?”
Justin’s mouth dropped open. He was flabbergasted!
“I’d love to have a dog!” he shouted as he jumped up.
“Good! Because the animal shelter said Cookie is yours if you want him,” Mom announced.
“Yippee!” Justin danced around the room. He couldn’t believe it—finally, a pet all his own. “But he’s still at the shelter, right?” Justin asked. “How do we get him out?”
“Well, we have to redeem him I guess,” Dad replied.
“Redeem?” Justin thought a minute then remembered that word from church. “Doesn’t that mean we have to buy him back?”
“Yes, actually. That’s exactly what it means,” Dad said. “Do you have any money to help redeem your dog from the shelter?”
Justin ran to his room and looked in his bank. “I’ve got ten dollars I’ve been saving up for something special!” he exclaimed.
“Well, this seems pretty special to me, don’t you think?” Mom asked.
“Oh, yeah! It sure is.”
Justin clutched his ten dollars all the way to the animal shelter. A man led them to the dog cages. When Cookie saw Justin, his tail wagged, and he began to jump around like a crazy puppy. “Woof! Woof-woof!”
“Looks like you’ve got a sweet dog there, Kid,” said the man.
“I sure do!” Justin replied as he handed the man his money. “Come on, Cookie! You’re all mine now. Let’s go home.”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.