Last month, I went to play BUNKO with my friends. For those of you who don’t know, BUNKO (sometimes spelled BUNCO) is a mindless dice-rolling game that serves to allow my now-retired-Army-wife friends and me to eat delicious food and share stories, all while rolling dice for points and a few dollars.

Gambling in Alabama y’all!

Anyway, during round two, my friend Laura told me she and her husband had just returned from St. Louis to pick up the puppy they’d adopted. I knew she’d lost her much-loved, furry friend last fall, so I wondered what had changed her mind about adopting another one so soon.

But then she told me her story.

She was up in St. Louis, visiting family just after Christmas, and Laura and her mother decided to visit an aunt. As they drove out in the country along a ditch-lined road, something up ahead caught Laura’s eye. There, right in middle of the road, were two little puppies.

The ladies stopped the car and Laura jumped out.

Next to the ditch stood the momma dog, barking frantically, and another puppy hid in some vines partway down the hill. Laura looked down to the iced-over creek and saw what must have been terrifying the momma dog.

A fourth puppy had fallen through the ice, and she was barely clinging to the edge with her front paws. Laura could even see the panic in her little eyes.

Without a second thought, Laura plopped to the ground and slid on her bottom down into the ditch. She didn’t even take time to process the fact that a four-pound puppy had just fallen through the ice. What would happen when a not-so-four-pound woman slipped out onto it? But slip out onto it she did, ignoring the sounds of cracking ice.

Scooting across the ice on her bottom, Laura prayed over and over, “God, please, please, please let me get there in time. Please hold on. Please let me get there in time.” She said the little puppy wasn’t even whimpering. Just waiting.

Right then Laura told God if He let her get there in time, she would take care of that puppy for the rest of her life. But, just as Laura reached the edge of the broken ice, the puppy slipped under the water.

“Please, please, please,” she prayed and stuck her hand into the water — and found fur.

Laura and her mom loaded all four puppies into the car. They tried to catch the momma dog, but she wouldn’t let them close. Because the wet puppy was in such poor shape, they knew they had to get her to a veterinarian, so they left momma dog behind.

Laura wrapped that soaking wet puppy in her scarf, put her in a reusable grocery bag, and held her against her body as they drove the pups to the nearest veterinarian.

Laura said they took one of the puppies back to the ditch later that day, hoping puppy cries would bring momma dog running. But she was long gone.

As you can tell by the photo above, that little girl wasn’t doing so well at first. She couldn’t even lift her own head. But the God who created everything and moves mountains is also the God of a quiet woman who slid onto the ice and saved a little puppy from drowning.

Within hours, the little pup with the speckled fur had perked up. She had to stay in the shelter for a couple of weeks to be vetted and spayed, but Laura kept her promise and drove back up to St. Louis last month to get her new baby.

She named her Pepper Grace, and I’m sure you can imagine why.