One Man and his Dog by James Archer
Printable and editable Word version
The relationship between God and Abraham told as a story from an unusual angle.
(This could be performed either as a monologue with the presenter as story-teller half acting out the story, or with a second actor (perhaps even with a dog) taking the part of the Shepherd, with whistles etc)
(Theme music from the television programme One Man and His Dog) Good evening, and welcome to One Man and His Dog. This evening we pay a nostalgic visit to two of the earliest participants in the programme at home in their retirement, and ask what it is that makes the relationship between man and dog so special.
So, here we are in the farmhouse on the slopes of Mount Zion. Father Abraham is stretched out on a rug in front of a roaring log fire. As I enter, he turns round, wags his tail, gets up, and hobbles over to greet me; then goes back to his rug as if to tell me to take a seat and enjoy the fire. Seated comfortably, a door opens behind me, and the bleatings of a flock of sheep on the hillside float towards me on the breeze. I turn, and there, framed in the doorway, is the Good Shepherd himself. His hair is as white as snow, and he is dressed in a simple robe which reaches down to his feet, with a gold sash around his chest; his face is ruddy and glistens with good health, and I am struck by the intensity of his eyes as he smiles a greeting to me. “Welcome to Paradise!” he booms, and I feel at once very welcome and very humble in the presence on one who is truly great. Abraham, hearing the voice, jumps up and bounds across the room as if he were still a puppy, all his aches and pains forgotten in his eagerness to greet his Master. The Shepherd bends down and ruffles the old dog’s fur affectionately, then lowers himself into an armchair, whereupon the dog clambers into his lap and snuggles down comfortably.
I ask the Master what he remembers about the programme that made Abraham a household name. “It was a tough course, and Abraham was only newly trained to the whistle. The sheep were miles away in rich pasture. The pick-up from Ur went smoothly, but when they got to the gate onto the open moor at Haran the sheep didn’t want to go through – they just stared at Abraham and pretended that they didn’t understand what he wanted. He lost one of them there, but eventually got the others moving again. He got them quickly into the ring at Bethel, and then it was time for the pairs event. I teamed him up with his mate Sarah, and they took the sheep down to the river at Egypt. Abraham was frantic because Sarah got caught in a trap, and I had to go down and rescue her. In the end they got the sheep back to the pen at Beersheba. They were the only ones who managed to finish the course.”
As he finishes, he strokes Abraham’s head, leans over, and whispers in his ear, “Puppies, Abraham, puppies!” The dog lets out a moan, almost a purr, of pleasure at the thought. “Old Faithful, I sometimes call him,” the Shepherd continues, “my first and favourite dog. We worked the farm together until it was time for him to retire, and now he lives with me in my house. Whatever I say or do, he trusts me and obeys me. A very special dog!”
Special snores, too. I slip out quietly so as not to disturb him as he sleeps. Out in the farmyard, the Shepherd’s son is training up a young sheepdog called Isaac. He has Father Abraham’s distinctive nose – perhaps this is the puppy the old dog is dreaming of. (Theme music returns)