Stories: Soft paws, Wet Nose, & God’s love
Growing up I had always wanted a pet. A cat or a dog or really anything other than the ever-chirping parakeets that we were allowed. Those birds were no fun. You couldn’t take them out and play with them. You couldn’t cuddle with them at night. They mostly just sat in their cages and occasionally squawked in the middle of the night, much to our chagrin. In short, the birds were not filling the pet-shaped void in my heart and mind.
My mom is the only woman who takes cleaning her house more seriously than I do. Her aversion to all-things furry and four-legged was strong. We did eventually wind up getting a cat a few years before I left for college. Ollie was orange and fluffy and awesome and, poor thing, took the brunt end of years of pent-up pet love that I had stored. I quickly realized that cats are less-than-thrilled if you attempt to hold them all day or squeeze them too tightly, or even pay them more attention than they are willing to allow you to bestow upon them. So, while Ollie was a wonderful foray into the pet world, there was still the desire for a little bit more.
After Jason and I married in 2004, we decided a few months into marriage, that we’d go about starting the process of getting our very own four-legged friend. A friend of ours had recently gotten a Boston Terrier, and we fell in love and decided to get one, too. We called the breeder and were placed on a waiting list, to be called the next time she had a male Boston Terrier available.
Months and months went by, and we had all but forgotten about our inquiry for a new furry family member. Then, the unthinkable. On Friday, June 24, 2005, we received the call that would forever change our lives. My recent medical tests had come back to reveal that I did, in fact, have cancer. I was broken. I was petrified. I was angry. I felt so many emotions rush into my reality at the same time, that I nearly choked on them. I was overwhelmed by the sheer rate at which my world had just been shattered.
And then, something broke through my panic. My phone rang for a second time that day, but this time, the news was far more welcomed. It was none other than the breeder, calling to inform us that the very night before, our long-awaited pup had entered the world. I rushed through the phone call as politely as I could, eager to drift back into the ocean of despair that was threatening to drown me. But then, I felt something. It was God’s calm, gentle voice.
“Don’t you think if I care enough about giving you your heart’s desire to have a dog, that I can handle taking care of your life, as well?”
It was a moment I will never forget. It was just the reminder I needed . God had not forsaken me. God had not forgotten me. This God, the God I believed in, was caring enough to know and remember my desire to own a pet. Surely, He could also be trusted to carry my life through the storm that I was about to enter into.
It may seem simple, but for me, it was enough. It was that boost I needed to realize that God hadn’t let me go. He was right there. He was going to be with me through the journey that lay before me, and He was going to care for me in a way that only a Father could. Today, when I look at Winston, our beloved Boston, I think back on the day that God used him to remind me of His love.