Monday, March 9, 2015

Losing Man's Best Friend

It was 6:22 pm on Sunday March 8, 2015 that I held my little guy (well my wife's little guy but he stole my heart and I stake 2nd rights to him) tight to my chest, clutching him like a baby as I often did, whispering I love you, as he breathed his last and left us forever.  That night my family said goodbye to our dear wee little companion.  Yes, we're dog people, unashamedly, dog people!

I don't remember the exact day our little guy arrived in our home but I do recall the scene as we first met him.  It was a sunny afternoon in Pasadena when my dearest wife held him for the first time.  It was love at first sight, first hold...for my wife. Me?  I was a big dog guy.  I thought he was the ugliest little rat I had ever seen.  But!  My dear bride needed a lap dog in her increasing immobility so a lap dog she got.

Little did we know how old he really was but one thing became very clear over time, he was being rescued from a private puppy mill where he was nothing more than a piece of meat used for financial gain.  That was about to drastically change as he was to be doted upon by my wife for the next 7 1/2 years.  Here he is sporting his Joseph coat, one of many custom hand-knit sweaters his mother would make to keep his little body warm through cold winters on the mountain.  He must have had 6-10 sweaters made for him over the years.  Each one with great care, a perfect fit....a mommy snuggle everywhere he went.

In the early days he would eat like a madman.  A grown man, being herded by a 7 pound terror, hopping back legs, front legs, over and over with his cute little rrruuff rrruuff!  Those days are long gone now.  No more 1 oz feedings 2 times per day.  No more adorable requests for breakfast.  Now it's just quiet loneliness and empty space.  As our wee little guy grew older he struggled more with doing his business out of doors.  He must have had a bladder the size of a marble, maybe a pea. But by this time our love for him grew so great that we just dealt with his accidents in the house. He often tried to make it to the back door, sometimes his little pea brain kept him close, close enough for me to get upset....if I lost my head for a minute.   l learned to appreciate he was still alive and with us and I learned patience because of him.

Perhaps by now you're thinking, "these people are crazy!"  I mean why put up with that?  Well, here's why.  His mother has spent the last 6 1/2 years housebound, imprisoned by degenerative discs that kept her confined to even a small portion of our home.  So while we all left every Sunday to go the the house of the Lord for what amounts to about 2000 hours, our wee little Yorkie was not only right at her side but often on her lap, comforting her, giving her a living being to be around and enjoy, allowing her to care for the one little guy she could when she wanted to care for her husband and children as she often said she should.

This little ray of light came into our life, my wife's life, as a gift from God. Seven pounds of love who snorted happily at every ear scratch, who attacked the cover monster at night, spoke when asked, and nuzzled in when her pain got a little stronger and hope seemed a little further.  He was there. Never questioning. Never attempting to fix.  Never correcting. Never running off because he didn't know what to do or couldn't take the pain and sorrow his poor mother was under.  Nope, not the wee little guy.  He just loved and loved and loved.

    Because God gives perfect gifts He gave my wife, us, our little Yorkie.

In the midst of the steadfast love of our little guy, he encountered his own bouts with ill health.  We nearly lost him two years ago, on numerous occasions...BUT God, being rich in mercy, knowing his child, my wife, still needed his comfort, He spared our little guy, but he too was going to require medication to keep his little heart beating.  So mom took up the task and dutifully, lovingly, provided this care 3 times per day, right to the very end.  And when wee little guy lost his appetite, lost his way intermittently due to apparent dementia, we loved him to the end, doing all we could to give him comfort and make sure he knew he was sorely loved.

But in it all we knew we'd outlive him and we know we won't see him again. Unlike man, he was not created in God's image nor does he have a soul. Though his heart was as big as the Grand Canyon it just was not fashioned for eternity. This is a difficult truth but truth it is.  How gracious is the Creator of all things to give us such beautiful gifts to enjoy here on earth! 

As for man, his days are like grass, they will fade.  His strength too will weaken, dimmer and then go out.  Then he will depart just as our precious wee little guy yet man will go to God, to give an account, to receive reward or to be cast out. And should we submit to our Creator as the rightful King and Sovereign of all by trusting in the blood of Christ to atone for our sins, we will gain far greater joy, far greater pleasure in the heavenly abode than anything ever given to us by His grace on earth. 

Remember how I thought he was the ugliest little rat dog ever?  He became to me the most precious dog I've ever owned.  I saw past his bad breath, his rotting teeth, his bodily control problems and God gave me eyes to see a big hearted little guy who offered more love than a dog 10 times his size and for me to see a wee little creature who desperately need my love, my care, my acceptance, my nurture, my direction.  And at the end all 4-5 pounds of the wee little guy needed my complete love and care.  Yeah mom did the really hard work but dad got in there a bit too.  And what did I see?  I saw a great big Holy God who condescended to a vile wretched man like me.  He took me from the dung heap, from the scrap pile, from the trash bin.  He cleaned me up.  He bathed me and washed the dirt off my soul.  He showered me with love, immeasurable and free.  He brought me from death to life.  He gave me a hope. I deserved none of it.  I was ugly.  Yet He did all this.  So when I think of our little wee guy I think of the immense love poured so richly upon me all because of love.

Now barely 24 hours after looking my little guy in the eyes and telling him I'm sorry and love him very much for what he has meant to my wife, to me, to my family, and seeing his light go out as I clutched him ever so close, I must look to heaven from whence comes my help.  For it is in beholding my Savior that I can see the manifold blessings He gives to His children.  I too will one day close my eyes in sleep, as you will too.  Will you have lived to the full in serving Him? Will you have lived with fullness of joy in believing upon Christ?

We could learn a lot from a dog, if we'd just open our eyes.

He must increase
~ Kevin