My dog snores. Quite loudly actually. Just when you are settling in to sleep, she starts to snore. Occasionally my husband joins in as well and together they create a symphony of snores so enthusiastic that I simply cannot fall asleep. But last night, as my little dog finally settled to sleep at 2:00 am, I didn’t mind the snores at all.
Today is Valentine’s Day. It is a day to reflect on love. The love within marriage, within siblings and families, the love between friends, and the deep and everlasting love of our loving Lord, Jesus Christ. But last night, a different love was on my mind. The love that we have for our pets, and the unconditional love they give back to us.
In late November of 2010 my husband wanted a dog. He would bring it up daily and I was adamantly against it. Not because I don’t like dogs. I absolutely love dogs! No, I was too worried about the cost of having a dog and if we would have enough time for one. Finally, he convinced me to go with him to a few shelters just to look. The local dog warden was participating in an adoption event at a large pet store that weekend. As soon as we walked through the doors, I fell in love. The cutest little pup you ever saw was staring at me and all my worries about money and time flew out the window.
She was a goofy yet adorable black puggle (pug and beagle mix) that had been found wandering the streets downtown near abandoned homes. The warden suspected that she was left behind when her previous owners moved away. Her name was Amber and they estimated she was about 2 years old. We filled out the appropriate paperwork and within a week and a half we brought our little rescue pup home.
God works in wondrous ways. He knew that although I was being stubborn, that little dog was just what we needed. She has been a part of our family for just over three years and I can’t imagine not having her with us. She goes for walks in the park with us, she plays games of tug and chase throughout the house, and she always knows when it is time to snuggle up and relax. When I sit down to say my Rosary she always curls up right by my side without bothering me one bit while I pray. She is the best company, especially when my husband travels out of town for work.
In the year and a half or so since we have started trying to have a family, I have realized just how important little Amber is to me. While I am fully aware that having a dog is not the same as a child, and while I still hope and pray for a baby daily, my little puggle pup has given me the perfect outlet for motherly love that has nowhere else to go. Month after month when my hopes get dashed, I can pick up little Amber and hold her and snuggle with her on the couch while I cry.
Last night as we were sound asleep, I felt Amber shaking on the bed. I figured she wanted under her blanket or was trying to get our attention to go outside. My husband got up to take her out and we turned on the light and quickly realized that was not the case. She was trembling uncontrollably, her legs were spasming, she could not walk without tumbling over. My heart started racing and I began to panic. Please God watch over my puppy! St. Francis please pray for us!
When it didn’t stop after a few minutes we took her to the nearest animal hospital where they took her blood work and performed a checkup. The veterinarian told us that it seemed like she had an epileptic seizure. She told us that some dogs might have one and never have an episode again. She explained that if it happens more frequently, we can get medicine for her but other than that there is really nothing to do. By the time we got back home, she was right as rain, goofy as could be, and full of energy (despite the fact that it was almost 2:00 am.)
Some people say a dog is just a dog. But I know better. Our dog is a part of our family. God created all animals, and our puggle pup is no different. Not only that, but He cares for all creatures He has created. He takes care of the little birds (Mt. 6:26) and knows when even the tiniest sparrow falls to the ground (Mt. 10:29). God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I may not know why this is not God’s timing for us to have a baby. But I can still praise Him for sending my little pup to us three years ago.
As we went to bed again and Amber snuggled up in her blankets, I thanked God that everything was alright. We knew what to expect if it ever did happen again and were relieved that it wasn’t anything more serious. And as I lifted up prayers of thanks while I tried to drift back asleep, I heard Amber beginning to snore and I smiled. It didn’t matter if her snores kept me awake all night. It was the best sound I could ask for.
Happy Valentine’s Day!