Second Dog-versary

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Cal!

Two years ago today, your daddy stopped by the shelter to pick you up on the way home from work. You rode on all-fours to my apartment in your daddy’s truck, and when I opened the door after I heard the knock, I saw you for the first time. Over the next three weeks of fostering you, I didn’t realize it, but I was falling in love with you as if you were my own child. When it was time to give you to the vet to have your heartworm treatment, I couldn’t bare the pain of never seeing you again. And so it was, that I adopted you as my own. The Lord brought you to me when I least expected it and I could have never imagined that I would love an animal as much as I love you. You’ve brought me so much joy, laughter, and sometimes embarrassment, but above anything else you’ve brought happiness to me. Your grandma was right when she told me, “All he wants to do is love, and be loved.” And that is you, Cal.

I love you so much and could not ask for a better, cuter dog!

Love, Your Mommy

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Why I believe all animals do go to heaven

The first true loss of a loved one I experienced was on February 25, 2004 when my precious baby, Princess (though rarely called that as we are big on nicknames in our family), suddenly had to be put to sleep at the young age of seven years old. It was one of the hardest things our family ever had to go through, and to make matters worse, my dad was deployed to the Middle East for four months the very next day. We were absolutely sickened by the loss of our beautiful animal we rescued from the wild in Clarksville, TN.

When we took her to the vet on that fateful afternoon, we said our goodbyes to the cat who was struggling for her life. I was out of control crying, petting her for the last time, as the vet and my parents all gathered around her one last time. “In a few minutes, you will close your eyes to sleep, and Jesus will come take you. He will take you home, sweetheart. Do not worry. You will be fine,” I told her, repeatedly.

“Say hello to our precious Jasmine,” my mother added. Jasmine was their baby that they had adopted before I was born, who had died of a seizure two days after his 13th birthday in 1999.

We were all crying as we watched her be taken to the back room where my parents joined the vet one last time. My sister and I waited in the waiting room, sobbing.

After we came home that afternoon, we were a grief-stricken family who could not even bare to look at her food and water dish, or even one of her many hairs she left behind on the carpet. I prayed out loud through my tears, “God, please tell me where she is. Please let me know if she is okay.”

The next day, I awoke to my find my mother sitting in the living room with her Bible and some coffee. She had tears streaming down her face and she said, “I’ve never done this before, but this morning, I randomly opened the Bible and at the top of the page, was this verse,” and she handed me the Bible, opened. Sure enough, there at the top was this:

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. -1 Corinthians 15:44, ASV

I looked at her wide-eyed as that verse stood strong at the top of that page. She told me, “Can you believe that? If it has an earthly body, it also has a spiritual body!” We both smiled through our tears, but still weren’t entirely convinced just by the one verse. Later that day, she told me that she had come across another verse as she began to research God’s view on animals some more.

Right before Genesis states that God created humans, it says that he created animals, both in the sea and on land as livestock.

God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good. -Genesis 1:25, CEV

God created animals before He created humans on the sixth day, and He looked at those animals and saw it as none other than “good.” He gave them an earthly body, so that they may also have a spiritual body, and He saw their creation as a blessing to the earth. How wonderful to know that our God truly cares for our animals! And not just our domestic animals, but also our whales, lions, and fish!

Later on after we had discovered these two¬†Biblical¬†references relating to God’s creation of animals, my mother came to me holding a small book titled something along the lines of, “What Heaven is Like,” with colorful, water-colored painted illustrations and one-liners on each page on what the author believed heaven would be like. It was one of those small gift books available near the register at Barnes and Noble, or perhaps a book you’d consider as a stocking stuffer. Nothing too intense, but also not a child’s book. Just a simple account of what someone’s dreams of heaven. I read the book aloud next to my mother on the couch, crying as we turned each page, struggling through every sentence. Throughout the book, there was one constant illustration, though subtle on each page. It was of a young girl with light brown hair, holding a calico cat. Every page contained this illustration even if the words on that page weren’t conveying anything about animals, there was the little girl in the corner, or in the background, holding her calico cat. I smiled a little as we approached the last page and read the last line (I wish I knew what it was but I can’t remember), and we both looked at the girl with her cat again.

“That’s you, Taylor,” my mother said.

“And that’s her,” I replied, more tears starting to come down my cheeks.

“Wh… wh… when did you buy this?” I struggled to say, realizing what God had revealed to us for a third time.

“About six weeks ago,” she said. She never buys little books like that and never really buys books, period, because she’s a big library-goer for her source of reading.

I looked at her and said, “That’s it, she’s there, I know she’s there.” God had told me through these two verses and this beautiful book that our Princess was in the hands of our Lord, free from all illness, suffering, and destruction. She was fine, and she would be waiting for me at the gates of heaven when I arrived.

And you probably won’t believe me if I told you this, but after we closed that book, I don’t remember us crying anymore about her sudden death. We were comforted with an overwhelming peace that she was in the hands of the One who created her, and that made it all the better.