“I’m getting a dog,” I told the Preacher, after a stressful day at work. “I want a pet that will walk with me. And,” I sniffed in a self-pitying sort of way, “one who’s crazy about me.”
His Grace (the cat) favours the Preacher. And though I’m certain our parrot Ernie adores me (bless his tiny green heart), he can’t go on long walks or cuddle in the LazyBoy – at least not for long. He nibbles my ears, chews on the temples of my glasses, and pulls apart my afghan.
“Well.” Rick shrugged. “I’ve had no say in any of the rest of our pets. Guess I’ll manage this time too.”
“Hey,” I reminded him. “YOU decided we should keep both the cat and parrot. Remember?”
He thought a moment. Sighed. “Right. OK…do whatever you have to.”
I searched rescue websites for hours for the perfect dog: Quiet. Not a puppy, but under seven. Small, but not tiny enough to trip over. Fluffy and hypo-allergenic. Healthy, but not too active. Gets along well with lively grandchildren, sedate adults and cats. Not likely to attack other pets.
Our last dog, Mindy, a Llahso Apso Terrier cross, spoiled us. We got her at three, and she shared our lives till she died at nineteen. Mindy met almost all those criteria – although the terrier side of her emerged twice, sending two or our children’s hamsters scurrying across the proverbial rainbow bridge.
Four hundred kilometres away, an adorable blonde mongrel, three years old, with startling blue eyes, had waited a long time in a shelter for the perfect furr-ever home. According to her description, Lady would be perfect. Head over heels, I applied to adopt her.
The small dog rescue organization thanked me for the application. Another family had showed interest, they said. They’d let me know their decision. In the end, Lady went home with that family.
After a few weeks of perspective (and actual prayer) I realized something: Though I didn’t get my way, there were numerous reasons God may have shielded us from what could have added more stress – even heartbreak – to our home. Grace, our highly territorial watch-cat, for one. Every tooth and claw exposed, he once chased our neighbour’s massive boxer back home. And whenever I bring another animal – even a homeless kitten – into the house, he takes his angst out on me. (Yet he was a stray himself, that graceless Grace.)
Rushing headlong after even innocent passions – without taking time to pray and reflect – never works out well. An insistence on doing things his way ruined King Solomon of the Bible. God gave him incredible wisdom (which he applied to everyone but himself) as well as vast riches. Sadly, indulging his passions for women and horses ruined his life and separated him from God.
God may lead us to the right dog in his time. Until then, I’ll remember, in times of stress, that for this we have Jesus. I’ll pray more. Interact more with the people and pets God has already placed in my life. And keep off the rescue sites.