I was standing there, breathless in my jammies and red fuzzy slippers in the neighborhood next to mine. I had on a cardigan sweater that I wear in the mornings. I think it gives the appearance that I am dressed appropriately to take my kids to school. But the jig was up. I was on full display, sweaty and mad that I had to chase my dog, who we rescued from the shelter.
He’d run off, again, after I opened the car door to go inside the house to get legit dressed and ready for the day. He loves a car ride, but it is always a roll of the dice when you open the door. He may or may not run. Today he ran. You’d think I’d just put a leash on him but that would be too simple. I likes to keep it exciting, but honestly, I’m hoping that he will trust me and stay with me. I know it’s silly but it kind of hurts my feelings when he runs.
His name is Little C.
He is the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen in a dog, the polar opposite of our old dog Arnold. Arnold was my husband’s baby and in Sean’s life before I was. Arnold was a battle axe, and I’m pretty sure he would eat a tin can given the opportunity. He was an Australian Cattle dog/Jack Russell mix and instilled fear in many a person. Arnold took his job as a protector and herding dog seriously and would just as soon bite you as look at you. We had a muzzle for him and used it often, and he looked like Dr. Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” when he had it on, and at times he seemed as diabolical.
But he was Sean’s baby and a long time ago a wise woman I worked with told me when Sean and I were dating that if I was in love with the man, I needed to fall in love with the dog. So, I tried. For a while I tolerated the dog, but then I came to love him in the way you love a growth you can’t get removed.
As the years went on, and Arnold aged, he began to lose his sass, his fire. He slowed down and began to gray around his eyes. In the months before his 18th birthday, his lost the ability to get up and down the steps to go outside. Yes, you read that right, 18. 18 years old. People years, not dog years. His little body began to fail and Sean and I both knew his time was with us was close to coming to an end. We, along with our veterinarian, determined that the most kind and loving thing to do would be to send him over the rainbow bridge. It was one of the hardest things we’ve had to do but Sean and I were with him, holding him right to the end. The next hardest thing was telling our boys and being with them as they grieved the loss of their Arnold, as flawed as he was. And I had a hard time facing the fact that another little piece of my boys’ innocence was taken as they faced a hard truth in life, a precursor to so many more they will face.
But joy follows, doesn’t it? Though the sorrow may last for the night, the joy comes in the morning!!! (That’s in Psalm in the Bible.)
Fast forward a week or two later, out of the blue, my youngest son says while we were riding in the car, “I want you to start calling me Little C.” I said, “Little C. What does the C stand for?” He said, “Little Cookie!” We didn’t think too much about this because, that’s just my son, always with a joke or tale.
Discussions were taking place at home about getting another dog and I really didn’t want one. I wanted a break from taking care of another thing for a hot minute. I was just a no for me, Dawg. (See what I did there?) but the local animal society had an upcoming adoption event and we went, “just to look,” half-knowing it was time to get another dog. We walked through the facility looking at the dogs in the pens, and reading their names and ages. As we got near the last of the dogs, we saw it. The name placard said Little C.
But there was no dog in the cage. And we all kind of froze, looked at each other with wide eyes and panicked because we knew this was no coincidence. A dog named Little C! How could it be? It had to be the Lord!!!
Turns out that Little C outside playing with a military guy and he had first dibs. The soldier left and we got our chance to play with the dog and there was no question. He was a 5 year-old shepherd mix, with a scar on his face and paw, who had just been brought back to the shelter for some undisclosed reason. It was crystal clear that he’s seen a few things. And we were just the family to love Little C.
There was no time to do adoption paperwork that day and as a family we agreed that this was for the best, that we weren’t making an emotional decision. It was good to have the paws…I mean pause. We talked of Little C that night, prayed and asked the Lord for peace if the dog was chosen before we could return. My oldest son said, “If we get Little C, I’m gonna put a red bandana around his neck.”
When we go back the next day, we see Little C, with a red bandana around his neck that was not there the day before.
Some people say that they thank god for unanswered prayers. I will argue that no prayers are unanswered but that the Lords’s answer is no, not right now or I have something so much better. In this instance, I thank the Lord for an unprayed-for answer.
Little C has brought challenges to us…he’s a runner. But I’m known to be too. When things begin to get tough, I’ll cut and haul tail. Or if I get intimidated or fearful, I’ll withdraw to avoid pain. You hurt my feelings, I’m gone.
He destroyed our window blinds. A few times. I’ve been known to destroy a thing or two. When I drank alcoholically I destroyed trust and relationships. Today I still break stuff. You can ask my husband about the handle on the pool pump or a nice wool Polo sweater he had. C steals my shoes and my kids’ stuffed animals and smacks his mouth late at night and he kinda stinks. But he also is evidence to us that the Lord loves us and hears us and is with us and is concerned with details and specifics of our lives. And I believe that the Lord hopes we will not run, but choose to stay by His side. And tomorrow, I’ll load him in the car to take the kids to school and gamble on if he’ll run or not. If he does, I’ll chase him and he will be received with love, just like the Lord receives us after he rescues and adopts us.