I had never heard of a Maremma. The only thing I knew was that we were starting a flock of sheep, and we needed help on the farm. God knew what He was doing. He placed the perfect partner in shepherding in our barn and it has lasted over 30 years.
This is the story of Arya, and how she has helped me learn about the Holy Spirit while we shepherd this flock of Border Cheviot sheep. Arya brings a simple joy and gentleness to life, and she brings a smile to my face every day. We've shared every emotion together and stood together through difficult times.
Arya has an innate wisdom about how to do her job on the farm. She has never been trained-she just knows what to do. She lives in the present and doesn't worry about yesterday or tomorrow. She has natural instincts that keep the sheep calm and content in their surroundings. She leads them home from the pasture at night. She stands guard all day to guard from timber wolves and coyotes. When we have a sick sheep Arya keeps track of her in the barn.
She is dedicated to her job with the sheep and stays with them through any weather conditions; 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees below zero. She always stands up to the storms. She's a comforter. When a ewe loses a lamb, Arya stays nearby and makes sure the sheep stay together for comfort. And she's comforted me when a family member has died.
God loves shepherds. From King David to the birth of Jesus, shepherds hold a special place in the Bible. Jesus Himself is the Good Shepherd. Every day when I look at Arya I'm reminded of the nature of God, and how the Holy Spirit works in my life. That's why I call Arya the Holy Spirit Shepherd Dog.
Come along on a trip to our small farm, spend some time in the country and read my stories about Arya and our partnership as shepherds. I'll guarantee you'll never look at a farm working dog the same way again. And along the way, maybe she'll teach you a couple new things about the Holy Spirit.