A Warm Place in the Sun

I recently read Brent Coleman’s book Wounded in the Name of God, in which he dedicates the book to his dog Pepper. I find it so amazing how these creatures of God can bring so much comfort and stability to our lives, and how we become dependent on their love and companionship. I know that the Lord has blessed my life with three remarkable dogs and placed then in my life when I needed them the most.

God guided my life a several years ago to leave my family and friends to move to a remote location with a new job and responsibilities. After a few weeks of trying to make the adjustment, a co-worker had a puppy that was not wanted and offered to give her to me. Minnie was a mutt of sorts, some terrier, some hound dog, you name it I think she had it in her. I found myself with a four-legged companion and an avenue to gain some sanity for myself.

I had always relied on the support of my family and friends and felt very alone and disconnected from my world but Minnie brought me some focus and stability. She was always there to greet me at night. She slept in the bed with me, and was there to comfort me when I was homesick. Minnie and I shared a short time together on this earth as I returned home after a few months and in an unfortunate accident Minnie was killed. The heartbreak of this loss has stayed with me, like losing a family member, and I still think of her often.

Several years passed before I was able to reestablish my connection with those loveable creatures. Life took its twists and turns until my partner and I settled into our house and decided it was time for a new dog. This may sound crazy, but God has a plan, even when it comes to pets, and it comes in His own time. Matthew came home one evening to say that he had heard at work that someone had Jack Russell Terrier puppies that they were giving away.

“Ok,” I said. “I suppose you want to go look at them.”

So off we went to a neighboring town to give these pups the doggie attitude test. When we arrived, the house was full of chaos with puppies barking and running all over the downstairs. And there among all of this was our little Ellie Mae Clampett. She just sat next to one of the breeders and watched as we sat down to play with the other puppies. Of course it was “love at first sight.”

Jack Russells have a unique personality and each one has a different one at that. After an hour or so we said we would take that one, the one sitting quietly on the sofa. I think the owners were disappointed that we chose Ellie Mae and not one of the rambunctious ones, but they wrapped her in a blanket, handed us food, a toy and we were off in the car to her new home. That was four years ago and many adventures later.

Ellie grew up with the same laid-back attitude we had seen in her that night when we brought her home. She has grown to be one of the most affectionate dogs I know, always waiting to lavish you with those wet doggie kisses and ready to snuggle down deep in the bed covers on those cold winters nights. Elle Mae follows the sun around the house during the day finding patches of sunshine streaming in the windows to lay, bask and warm herself. She seeks out the warmth of the sunshine, she instinctively knows that it’s a good thing. She was our one and only little princess for three years.

Then came Jaqie (pronounced, “Jackie”). Another co-worker, (why is always co-workers who have these dogs and deals and cars and all sorts of things that “You need”?) asked if we would like to take in another Jack Russell.

“You already have one, what would be one more?” she asked.

Jaqie was an orphan who had been abused and had a quirky personality to boot. She is the total opposite of Ellie Mae in almost every way. Bouncing off the walls, full of energy and barely stops to eat or sleep. They have become our children, loved and cherished, and spoiled.

Over the last four years these two have given unconditional love and support to Matthew and myself on many occasions, always being there in good times and in not so good times, showing their love and faithfulness to us as adoptive parents. God knows exactly what he’s doing when He brings pets and people into our lives, expected and unexpected joy and happiness will follow from both.

Ellie Mae and Jaqie are integral parts of our family unit. They have a sense of how things are in the household: Is everyone happy? Is there tension? Did I do something wrong? Dogs have that ability to meet you where you are in life. They share your joy and happiness as well as your pain and sadness.

Both our dogs will snuggle up to us if they sense sadness or pain, or bounce around the room on Christmas day at the excitement of the event. Our lives would not be the same without our little fur balls and God blesses our lives for taking care of His little creatures. I recommend a good dose of doggie kisses for anything that ails you.