Almost four years ago, we rescued Hank from a shelter in central Illinois. Four or five months before that, we lost our previous dog, Lexie, who had been with us almost eleven years. She was a great pet and I thought that she would be the last dog that we would ever have. I still miss her greatly as is the case with so many of the animals we have had during the past 48 years.
However, it quickly became evident to us that the house seemed empty without a furry friend running around and Janet asked me to investigate the possibility of getting another rescue to fill the void in our home. Admittedly, we are partial to Dobermans and so I reached out to several organizations that specialized in finding homes for our favorite breed – one that had been surrendered or needed a new place to live.
It was several days after Christmas, in 2017, that we received a call about the availability of Hank, a two year old, born on September 18, 2015, who already been surrendered twice. He was born in Missouri, then given up, adopted again and moved to Illinois where he apparently went through the same process a second time. He was being fostered by a lady who worked full time and so he spent his days in a cage – from 7:00 am till 7:00 pm. At least he was safe although not exercised or socialized with other animals.
It was in this home that we met Hank on December 28, 2017. He had several open wounds on his flank and was being fed some inexpensive kibble from the local feed store. Neither Janet nor I could see leaving him in this situation so we made the immediate decision to take him with us. We had been pre-approved to rescue him as we have been involved with Dobes for almost a quarter of a century and knew what we were getting into.
Aside from our Doberman rescue work, I have been involved in our local humane society and was also an officer of the shelter here in central Indiana for many years. Believe me, you see all kinds of things that you would rather forget when you are intimately involved in helping find homes for unwanted pets. Cruelty beyond belief and once, I even had a man threaten to shoot his dog on the steps of the shelter, in front of a little boy, because we were closed and he didn’t want to return the next day. Needless to say, we accepted the dog in spite of being closed… enough said, it’s a brutal world where animals are concerned.
So, as you can tell, Janet and I have a soft spot for dogs in need – and Hank fit into that category. He has been with us almost four years and yesterday was Hank’s 6th birthday – and now, it’s kind of a mutual admiration society. We are lucky to have him and we both believe that Hank has been fortunate to end up with us as well. Of course, we have tried to figure out all his medical issues and he is on a better diet than we are! He is allergic to almost everything and it has taken several years to figure out his requirements to lead a healthy life.
I am convinced that he was surrendered twice due to his food allergies and medical issues. But such is the risk you take when you help a dog in need.
Aside from so many of the standard questions I get, I can’t tell you how many times that I have been asked about how God values our pets. People want to know if our dogs will end up in heaven or not. And does God really care about our animals?
Well, it is irrefutable that God cares for His creatures. There are numerous Bible verses that point us to that fact. Even Billy Graham once said, “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.” I agree with Rev. Graham.
Certainly, our lives are made better by having our pets around us. And we mourn the loss of them which is the price we pay for loving them. We wouldn’t grieve if we didn’t care. Hopefully, our pets will be with us for many years.
Tonight’s verse is one of the many that have to do with the value God puts on His creation of animals. The psalmist tells us, in Psalm 145:15-17, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.”
So God feeds all creation and cares for the animals beyond our ability to comprehend. My encouragement this evening is that we are stewards of the beasts of the forests and the pets in our homes. They belong to God, and we are charged with their care, as we are to care for the earth and all that is in it.
My prayer is that we will continue to love our pets well and realize that we have a divine mission to provide for their care. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace… and Happy Birthday, Hank. We love you and are glad that you are with us!