Well, I’ll cut right to the chase. We have a new member of the family – Hank, the Doberman. That’s right – we rescued another dog. And, as in most cases with us, there is a back story. By the way, not only did we take the plunge, but within the last several months both Kristin and Jill have adopted dogs as well! So Hank, Sara and Lola all have new homes after rough starts to their respective lives.
As most of you know, our Doberman, Lexie, died last July. It was a very difficult time for both Janet and me. We have been married almost 45 years now and this past five months is the longest period of time we have ever gone without a dog. We have become used to having dogs in the family but the trauma of losing Lexie to cancer was almost more than we could handle. At the time, I was of the opinion that our years of having pets were behind us.
Janet also was inclined to think that it was becoming too difficult for us to lose our pets and neither one of us knew if we could go through that again. Admittedly, I like some of the freedom that comes from being able to go away without worrying about boarding kennels and no more trips to the pet store for food; or to the vet for check-ups and grooming appointments. And there is the benefit of the house being a little neater – and I don’t have to go out and clean out the dog run every day.
But one thing is lacking – the love of a dog. There is a void in the house and in our lives. We have rescued numerous dogs throughout the years and every one of them has brought us joy. And when I look back on the various dogs we have had, I can’t help but think that both their lives and our lives have been enriched by the experience.
So… during the Christmas holidays we started to ponder the possibility of rescuing another dog. We both know that adopting a puppy is a tremendous amount of work and puppies get adopted rather easily. So we set our sights on an older dog – one who wasn’t as likely to get chosen by another family. And we tend to look for rescue dogs that have had a tough start. Hank’s story fit our profile.
He was born somewhere in Missouri and was surrendered at an early age. Somewhere along the line he made his way to Illinois, was adopted and then surrendered again. Nobody seems to know all the details but he has been fostered in central Illinois for the past month or so and were able to arrange a visit to meet him last Friday.
He was immediately friendly and social. But let me tell you, he’s a big boy – about 85# and quite tall. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised is that’s the reason he’s been surrendered. We noticed several open bite marks on his side – and yet, he didn’t seem to be affected by the fact that he had been abused by the other animals. There was just a sweetness about him that transcended the things that he must have endured the past several years.
We knew right away that he was the right one… and we brought him home with us that very day. Yes, we paid a fee to the rescue – and made a visit to the vet the next day for antibiotics to ward off any infection from the bites. In short, he is adjusting to his new home. We haven’t taken him anywhere else yet – he’s been passed around quite a bit in his life so we are just letting him chill out – learning the house, the rhythms of our family life and how we roll.
We’ve started cleaning out the dog run again, making an extra egg in the morning for Hank, working on his wounds, getting him adjusted to staying alone while we leave the house, vacuuming more often, worrying about leaving doors open – and all the other things that we have to consider with a new dog in the house. He goes for his first grooming in the morning…
To put it bluntly, we are all in – hook, line and sinker. Mark Twain was rather famous for some of his quotes about dogs. His life was enriched by his canine companions and Twain believed that dogs were very loyal – more so than people. In fact, Twain also said, talking about our furry companions, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and he would go in… ”
Our verse for the evening speaks to man’s dominion over the animals that God created. Adam was charged with the responsibility of naming the animals and, to an extent, taking care of them. Moses tells us, in the book of Genesis 2:19-20, “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field…” (KJV)
My encouragement tonight is that God created animals for a number of reasons – and companionship for man was one of them. My prayer is that we can all be sensitive to the needs of each other – and have compassion and the ability to step up and help the animals when we can. In the meantime, Hank has found his new home – so have Sara and Lola… and we have the already started to feel the love that a wonderful dog brings into the family. We hope you get to meet Hank some day. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…