Oh the love and heartbreak our dogs bring. I found “Mollie’s lifeless body in our garage that fall day in 2010. Her body was stiff and her blue eyes were frozen. I called my wife. “Honey, Mollie has died!” She let out a gush of tears as did I. We did not have her buried until our girls told our beautiful mix of Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute goodbye. She lived 13 human years. The memories of her chasing rabbits, and a deer, plus playing with a turtle like a soccer ball, gave us plenty of belly-laughs. She loved to sneak out of our backyard fence to run off on one of her wandering journeys. I would go find her and pick up her 40-pound body and carry her home.
We did not want to mourn forever, so we decided to get a new breed a few months after Mollie passed. It was going to be a surprise for our youngest daughter who was in elementary school then. I asked my wife and our oldest daughter: “Should we get yellow, black or chocolate?” On a snowy December night, my high school daughter rode with me to Athens, Tennessee to purchase a chocolate Labrador Retriever we named Hershey. Our youngest daughter screamed!
Hershey loved chasing frisbees, but he ate them, just like the beds he slept on. We were always embarrassed as we looked out our kitchen window to find him lying down in the backyard on his side humping his blanket. Since he was hyper, I took him to obedience school. He then listened to our commands.
Why are dogs more obedient than humans? Let’s go even deeper. Why are dogs more obedient to their masters than Christians are to their Master? We get in our own way! From the practical wisdom book of Proverbs 25:11 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.” God definitely uses animals to teach us in the seasons of our life. Hershey unfortunately lived 4 human years. An ultrasound revealed his kidney was the size of a cats’ even though he weighed over 80 pounds. Before we knew he was sick, I wondered why his face would drop when I asked him, “Do you want to go walking?” His body was tired. I cried remembering this.
I have no clue if dogs will be in Heaven. I do believe though that God in his creativity and sense of humor, allows these creatures to walk beside us as we journey down the road of life, especially when it gets too hard to even verbalize.
From her book Come, Sit, Stay author Ellen Vaughn offers some encouragement: “All it takes on our part is the faith that He will take care of us and the earnest humility to come running to Him like a bounding puppy.” Whenever I called our dogs’ names they always came running to me. God knows your name. Do you run to him with your hurt?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & His Nikon”.