I’ve tried to wait a bit before writing this column. Since one of my life achievements is excellence in procrastination, I’ve been successful, although on rare occasions I’ve even put off procrastinating.
But I needed to wait. Some things are hard to keep in perspective. At the top of the list is anything—or anyone—that we love. And, no doubt about it, I loved that lazy furball, the little brindle-colored cross-breed canine critter we had to have “put down” recently.
People can be so crazy—literally—about pets that the excessiveness is obscene. I don’t doubt for a moment that a dog is “man’s best friend.” An incredible blessing.
But dogs are dogs. And though real grief at any level is still real grief, I’m slow to mention “this” grief in the same paragraph—or universe—as theirs.
But if it were possible, my sympathy for those facing severe loss is heightened as every time I walk into the house, get out of bed, open the blinds in the morning, or kick back in the recliner, I miss my friend.
Jesus tells us that his Father is so intimately connected to creation and his creatures that he sees when even a sparrow falls.
Hmm. That makes me wonder a little about grackles. You know, those goose-stepping, ill-mannered Nazi blackbirds. If I had my way, and my aim was better, lots more of them would be falling.
Up on their high branch, above the patio they’ve defiled, Grackle #1 growls to Grackle #2, “Say, did you hear what happened to ol’ Jake last night? Right in mid-cackle, he wing-clutched his chest, went inverted, and hit the deck. His heart? Not sure. One of the boys said he thought he saw something fly by and nail him. Maybe .177 calibre lead. Dunno if he was gone when he hit, but I’m dead sure he was gone once that Doberman down there got to him! The ol’ screecher leaves 42 children and a host of friends.”
Our little gal, Maddie, liked to chew on grackle when she could get it. I discouraged the practice. She seemed to have a hard time keeping it down, and I couldn’t imagine it being a healthy habit.
Son Josh was in high school when he brought the wiggling puppy home and unashamedly begged like a four-year-old to keep it. He said she was a Chihuahua-Shih Tzu mix. Definitely a puppy of the first part. But I’m not so sure about the other part. Some sort of short-haired terrier?
Opinions vary widely as to her “beauty.” But her heart was good—even when twelve years later, her ticker wasn’t. From the get-go, she was sweet, gentle, and, to me, cute. She could jump like a cat, but, at rest, and she was almost always at rest, she crossed her paws like a little lady.
The house was a renovation wreck, two of Josh’s brothers were in the throes of preparing to head to Africa for mission work, and Mom was wisely and firmly against importing a dog at that moment. Tears all around. I backed off to a safe distance, expressing no opinion aloud.
Josh won. Maddie stayed. I’d already fallen for her. When Josh left home, Maddie didn’t. She and I were thick as thieves.
I don’t know what plans God has for our animal friends when “all things are made new.” I’ll not be surprised if He delightfully surprises us.
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Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.