Dogs are not like other pets. Dogs are unique and I might add, as far as pets go, they are the best! For instance, I have a semi-tamed feral cat. He is not anything like a dog. He is independent; a self-made kitty-man, if you will. Oh, he knows what he wants, when and how he wants it and he is very determined in all of his kitty pursuits. He bullies me for food; bites and scratches without warning; spends most of his time outside roaming a 12 block radius, rarely sitting on my lap or allowing me to sneak some love. Naji is not a dog. He’s a cat. Lonely for dog love, we used to call him, “Puppy”. Although this strategy was ridiculous, stupid, and flawed, as you can imagine. Again, Naji is not a dog.
We had the sweetest dog a little over 3 years ago. Her name was Kizmet, which means fate. At the time we named her, we did not know that her name would become a summation of her life, but looking back, the name was perfect. Kizzie was our pal. Everyone loved her. She was a beautiful roan, English Cocker; a real show girl, bred for display. Turn on any dog show and you will see Kizzie look-alikes. Still, she loved quiet walks and snuggles on the couch; a simple life. But after only four short years, she developed epilepsy, and began having grand mal seizures about every two weeks. We discovered the breeder was not sound. True to her name, Kismet’s days were numbered and there was nothing that we could do about it. I kept her mostly healthy for 3 more years until our last vacation in a cabin in the woods with the whole family and then, suddenly, she was gone.
About six lonely months later, not wanting to experience caring for or grieving the loss of another inbred dog, I switched breeds and brought home the cutest little fuzz ball. Gracie is the best of dogs and is the best of breeds. You may not know it, but German Shepherds are really smart. I had no idea. She house-broke herself with a bell in a few hours and learned so many tricks and words, it was overwhelming. I took her to all of the dog classes and she always was the star. Gracie was everything to our family. I am not sure how, but Gracie almost became more important to me than God. I spent most of my free time caring for her, making homemade dog food, and ensuring her exercise needs were met.
It is possible to make your dog an idol. I know, because I did it. This may have been the reason why God asked me to give her up and move overseas. It was a terrible decision. How could I give away my baby? Why would God ask this of me? We were happy. Up until a week before I was to leave, I still didn’t have a home for Gracie. I prayed ceaselessly for her and then at the last moment, a miracle happened. Through Facebook, a friend told me of a family who wanted Gracie to come and live with their three children on a farm. So, on a whim we drove over seven hours to Pennsylvania to meet them. And lo and behold, Gracie loved this family, from the start, which was not her norm. God had done the impossible and provided a home for Gracie. Gracie loves her children and her farm life. Her favorite activity is herding chickens and visiting the cows.
Now that I am home early from Israel and back in the states living just a few miles from Gracie, I am more dog-lonely than ever. I can’t bear to go see her. She is happy. Gracie has a farm to run on and seeing me would muddle things up or so I believe. Go back overseas? Well, God has closed that door and I am wondering about this new future and if a dog is to be in it. No question, I want another dog, but I am waiting for God to bring him or her into my life. I have talked with several breeders, but thus far, the answer has not been what I was looking for. So, here I sit, waiting and dreaming of a dog.
Was giving up my dog to move overseas worth it? Yes, unequivocally, God is always worth it! I don’t understand everything about it. I can’t see why I had to come back 2 years early when so much was sacrificed… And yet, after all this and being back home I know that God’s presence is with me, in my grief and in my dog-loneliness, now more than ever. Someday, maybe in eternity, God may reveal this mystery to me. But for now, I am content to love God in whatever situation He places me in, even if it means sacrifice, suffering or being without a dog in my future. I will praise God forever!