Our appointment is for 10:50 this morning. I plan on being late. Late on purpose. It's an appointment long coming....for my little precious pup. I won't get into defending the 'why', although that's my instinct. The instinct is to explain and defend why this morning is the last morning that my little Zoe will wake up here on earth. But I won't. Instead, let me tell you the beautiful, amazing story of how God has used a dog.
We met in a pet store in 2000. My sister was one of the managers of the store. Even though this little Boston was technically not for sale because of medical conditions, after an argument with one of her co-workers, my sister let me take her home. She had an eye infection, and her poor little ears turned backwards, along with several other ailments. She was broken. It so happened to be a time in my life, that I felt broken too. She was perfect.
Daughter was 2 at the time going through the 'Elmo' phase, hence, the name Zoe. Zoe rode shot-gun in the stroller, happily sitting along side our toddler. Husband trained her ears to go in the right direction with popsicle sticks and tape. We all loved her. Everyone loved her. She was a big dog trapped in a little dog body.
Zoe especially loved my father-in-law. Even in this last year, being blind and deaf, she still knew when he was almost here. She'd sit in the driveway and look in the direction of his road. And wait.
She has been a great nurse and comforter. There are things I've been through physically. Painful things. Twice I thought I might die. These are the times that you realize how alone a person can be in life. No matter how many people are around you daily, when push comes to shove, it's just you and God. And thankfully, God's gift to me, my faithful dog Zoe. Whatever ailment or hard time my body went through, she would cuddle all the more close, loving unconditionally, and not leaving my side.
When we first moved to our home on the lake, it was Zoe that taught me about the dangers of water. She couldn't swim. She sometimes tried, only to struggle and sink. Shortly after moving here, she slipped off a log in the lake and went down, not even popping up once. I ran to the log, laid down and stuck my arm into the murky water grabbing for whatever I could find. Luckily, she was wearing a bandanna, and I found it, pulling her straight up and onto the log, pushing on her back to expel lake water. She was no worse for the wear, but I walked away from that experience knowing that it could easily have been a child.
Years later, a friend adopted a 10 year old boy from Russia. She was struggling with him and the fact that he didn't believe God was there. This little boy had been through so much. He loved dogs and fishing, so she brought him by for fishing, playing, and the intent to take him downtown for a movie afterward. While visiting, our larger dog (no longer here) snapped, and literally/nearly ripped Zoe's throat from ear to ear. The little boy found her and came running, screaming in his broken English "dog dead, dog dead"! I rushed Zoe to the emergency clinic while my friend and her boy locked up my house and went to the movie theater parking lot, where the boy asked for his new mom's help to pray for Zoe to live. Weeks went by with daily calls and prayers from this little boy. The clinic gave me no hope. I told my friend to prepare her boy for the worse. Zoe's spine was severed, she'd never walk again, and the damage to her throat was irreparable, or so I was told. They reluctantly let me take her home because we were out of money. Poor Zoe was given no hope of recovery. Little did they know about the power of prayer. Long story short, God answered a little boy's prayers. It took a year for her to recover to her new 'normal'.
There are so many wonderful times we've lived through, and great adventures we've had. Standing on the peak of the canoe, never wanting to get left on shore. Jumping in the chicken brooder. Running away to Gramma's to find me. Chewing rocks. Stealing tomatoes from the garden. I am thankful for the years we've had together, for the unconditional love, for the comfort, and for someone always happy to see me.
Comfort. Comfort does not come in the form of a 'bridge' or 'rainbow'. Comfort comes in only one fact. The God who made us...the God who made all things including our pets...He is in control.
Life is short. Enjoy each day.