Good Boy, Achilles! is based on the idea that, because we human beings are flawed and fouled-up, God has given dogs the task of helping us along. The story opens on a small farm, where a boy named Jeremy discovers that his family’s dog, Ginger, has finally given birth to her long-awaited puppies. Ginger explains to her puppies that they must leave the farm for new homes where they will take care of their own humans, for that is the Father’s plan. Jeremy’s parents tell him that the family can afford only one dog, Ginger, and will have to give the puppies away. As the story progresses, however, Jeremy and his favorite puppy, Thunder, or, as Jeremy calls him, Achilles, become best friends, and Thunder comes to believe that he will remain on the farm as Jeremy’s dog. Will he? On the way to finding out, he and Jeremy learn some basic Christian theology and some important life lessons.
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“Sit down on that couch, young man,” ordered Audrey.
“Exactly what were you trying to pull—putting
that box over that poor, little puppy?” his mother demanded.
“I just didn’t want her to pick him,” Jeremy said. “For all
I care, she can have all the others; I just don’t want anybody
to take Achilles.”
“Well, you listen to me . . .,” Audrey stopped. Her voice grew softer. “Achilles? You’ve named them?”
“Not all of them. Just Achilles. He’s my favorite.”
“Why would you name him Achilles?”
“We read a story about Achilles in school,” Jeremy half
mumbled, half moaned. “He was a great warrior. I thought
any dog as big and strong and pretty as him deserved a name
• Excerpt from Chapter 25:
Seconds later, Thunder stood at Jeremy’s side. He nudged Jeremy’s head with his nose, but Jeremy did not move. He barked, whined, and pawed at Jeremy’s shoulder, but Jeremy did
not respond. Thunder licked Jeremy’s face. He could smell and hear Jeremy’s breathing, but Jeremy’s skin was colder than it should be. Thunder’s instinct told him to stay with Jeremy, keep
him warm, and protect him. He knew he could do that, for the Father had given him a warm coat, big teeth, and powerful legs and jaws. He grasped the sturdy collar of Jeremy’s coat in his teeth and dragged him out of the water onto the creek bank. He stretched his massive body over Jeremy and lay on top of him. Surely, in the morning, when the Dawsons discovered that Jeremy
was gone, they would search for him. Until someone arrived, Thunder’s body would keep Jeremy warm, and anything that wanted to hurt Jeremy would have to get past Thunder.
As Thunder waited, alert to every sound and smell, ready to fight any enemy, once again the white snow seemed to turn gray, and the shining messenger stood before Thunder.
“Thunder,” he said.
“I did what you told me,” Thunder answered. “I found Jeremy.”
“Yes,” said the messenger. “You have done well, but your work is not finished. Jeremy is hurt very badly. He needs more help than you can give him, and he must have it very soon. You
must stop a vehicle.”
“The Father has made me very strong, and I can drag Jeremy easily,” Thunder said. “If I move him to the side of the road, a vehicle will stop.”
“No,” answered the messenger. “This is very rough ground, with many rocks, fallen trees, and thorns. If you drag Jeremy, you will hurt him more. You must stop a vehicle.”
Thunder’s ears drooped. “But my mother taught me to stay away from moving vehicles. She said they were dangerous.”
“Thunder, you must stop a vehicle.”
Then the messenger was gone. Thunder’s ears told him that the road was just a short distance away, up a small hill. He scampered up the hill and, just as he found the pavement, the lights of a car came into view. Thunder ran along the shoulder of the road toward the approaching car, barking and wagging his tail. As the car passed, he spun in his tracks and gave chase, but soon the car had sped out of sight.
“I’ll stop the next one,” he shouted. He didn’t have long to wait before a pick-up truck came rumbling along the road. This time, Thunder stepped into the truck’s lane and charged
toward it, barking wildly, ears pricked and eyes glowing in the headlights. As the truck swerved into the other lane, Thunder ran off the road and watched it pass, helpless to stop it. Thunder
stood panting and hung his head. What good were his thick coat, his powerful legs and jaws, and his big teeth now? He remembered his mother’s warnings about moving vehicles. He
remembered the words of the shining messenger. Then he remembered something else his
mother had told him: “If it was not too much for the Wounded One, it is not too much for us.”
Thunder stepped into the road. “The next vehicle will stop,” he said.