My apologies for taking this long to write a post, so much has been going on and I have been looking at life unfolding in a steady forward movement and wondering what it is all about.
After some innermost reflection it all seems to lead to one thing no matter how much I try to make it into something else: life is about opening our hearts in order to experience the love within every single aspect of it.
I am sitting at my desk with the latest addition to my life snuggled comfortably on my lap, a little Chihuahua dog I named Georgy. Outside a blizzard has been blowing snow all day long without an end in sight. Yes, it is the perfect moment and day to sit down and write a post. No excuses.
So, where to begin? I guess from the beginning of the latest adventures. I will need to roll back time all the way to January 21st. I will also need to give some background information to make the story clearer.
I work in Black Forest, Colorado managing a household comprised of a middle aged couple and three dogs, two Great Danes, Scarlett and Lulu and one toy poodle, Moose. I enjoy my work there as I get to spend much of my time caring for the doggies while their parents travel around the world mostly for work.
Every year the dogs leave for about two months to be with their parents at their other home in D.C. and every time my heart aches as I watch them happily leave.
When the time for their departure drew closer my heart ached more so than ever before.
Around the same time I began having a strong desire to have a dog of my own again. It had been over two years since I had my own pet.
Once I got the approval from my employers to bring my own pet over whenever I would be watching their babies, I began searching online for a dog to adopt. I wanted a small one, 10 lbs or less and one that was already house broken; older dog and I would even consider a senior dog. I filled out numerous online applications and each time the dog I was looking for would be either denied to me or no longer available. A couple of weeks went by and I was beginning to feel discouraged by the results of my search. I really didn’t think it would be this difficult to adopt a dog with so many out there in need of a home.
A week before the dogs were scheduled to depart I decided to drive out to a shelter that rescued Mill dogs. On my way there I was listening to a Christian station and these two songs came on back to back. The first song, “Tell your heart to beat again by Danny Gokey, had been on my mind for several days. The station had never played it for as long as I had been listening.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to the familiar lyrics; my heart ached with every beat. The next song, the latest by Mercy Me, “We are almost home,” brought more tears along with a sense of renewed hope to my ailing heart.
“Why is my heart hurting this much?” I wondered, knowing that it had to be more than just about wanting the company of a dog. “What is the Holy Spirit trying to tell me through these two songs today?”
Nothing really prepared me for what I experienced during the visit to the mill dog rescue shelter. These dogs were so beautiful and yet so broken and scared from a life of neglect and abuse. They had lived locked up in tiny cages, never touched or loved, not knowing what the feeling of running free on fresh grass or sunbathing was like. I could feel their deep pain and desire for love and yet the fear of the new and unfamiliar surroundings was far greater and getting in the way of them opening up their sweet hearts to receiving love.
I took the ID numbers of two dogs I felt connected to although I wanted to take them all with me. I was told that I needed to go through a lengthy process before I could qualify to adopt one of their dogs. I was upset at the news and left the place quite disappointed but determined to go through the qualification steps.
As soon as I got home, I filled out the online application and then proceeded to watch the video they provided explaining the reasons for the lengthy and detailed process. Watching the video I realized that I wasn’t in a place where I could actually provide all the care and training these babies needed. For some of them the scars ran so deep that they would never really be “normal” dogs.
I returned to the shelter the next day hoping to see the two dogs I had chosen. On my way there, once more the two songs came on back to back just like the first time.
“What are the odds of this happening?” I wondered. “Something is up.”
Both dogs had already been given in adoption to someone else. Even though I felt disappointed I knew that this wasn’t the venue for me to find my pup.
That night I had a dream and in it I was bathing in the light of the Holy Spirit when I noticed angels inviting the dogs that were in the shelter I had visited to come into the divine Light. I watched as the Holy Spirit began to heal their broken hearts and mine too! I woke up feeling once more a deep ache in my heart.
That day I went to the Humane Society to check out their dogs. Only one of them was small enough and when he met me he didn’t show any interest. I left disappointed once more and ready to give up the search altogether.
The day came when the dogs I care for left. I felt so much grief that I decided to go to the Mall and look at the dogs at their pet store. On my way there I saw dogs walking on the street everywhere.
“This is so unusual. There are never dogs walking on the streets!” I wondered.
While watching the pups play happily in their glass cages, I got a strong nudge to drive to the Humane Society before it would close for the day.
“Why go all the way there again? There was nothing suitable a couple of days ago!”
The nudge got stronger and so I gave in and drove all the way to the other end of town where the shelter was located.
In the very front window there was this tiny pup curled up, eyes closed tight, shaking. He was a two months old Chihuahua mix dog.
“What is the story of this one?” I asked the attendant.
“He was returned because he didn’t get along with the house dog.”He answered.
“How can this little thing not get along?” I replied
The volunteer went to the computer to check for more information. It turned out that the dog had been surrendered to the shelter by the owners because it was the one leftover from a litter that they could not sell. A woman had adopted him and when she took him home, her dog wanted to play with him but the pup was too scared to play and so she returned him.
I was crushed. This dog was so tiny, he fit in the palm of my hand and by the time he would be full grown he would be no more than two lbs. I was considering taking him even if he was way too small and he was a pup that needed to be trained. A woman about my age approached me and looked at the little one.
“Do Chihuahuas bark a lot? I live in an apartment building and cannot have a barker.” I asked the volunteer.
“Yes, they do, very much so.” He answered.
“That’s not true, I have had Chihuahuas all my life and they only bark if some strange person comes to the door.” The woman standing next to me replied promptly.
“Do you have a Chihuahua?”I asked her
“No, not right now,” she replied. “I lost my last one three years ago.”
“Well, here is your new baby waiting for you!” I blurted out while pointing my finger at the little one.
She took a closer look. “I really didn’t come here to get a dog. I was dropping off some blankets that the shelter can use.” She mumbled while studying carefully the dog. I told her the story of how the pup had arrived at the shelter. “Okay, I will take a look. Can I see him?” She asked the volunteer.
I smiled and walked to check out the other dogs available.
A small, short hair, full grown Chihuahua was sitting calmly inside his pen oblivious of all the dogs barking around him. Our eyes made contact right away.
“What is this little guy’s story?” I asked the volunteer.
“We named him Jay. He was found wandering the streets. Nobody has claimed him. We really don’t know much about him.” He replied.
“Can I see him?” I asked.
“Sure, follow me into one of our meeting rooms and I will bring him over.”
I sat on the floor not wanting to tower over the little fellow and perhaps intimidate him. He came in wagging his tail. I nudged him to come over. He readily trotted my way, I leaned over and he licked my nose.
“I will take him.” I said without thinking it twice. The volunteered smiled happily “The other lady took the Chihuahua puppy, so you know.” He announced. “You will need to go into the waiting room and you will be called to sign the adoptions papers. Jay needs to be neutered so you won’t be getting him home with you today but he will be ready for pick up tomorrow late afternoon.” He explained
There were three of us waiting to be called to sign the adoption papers. One was the lady I had enticed to take home the little Chihuahua mix, the other one a young woman who was placing a hold on a sweet Beagle pup.
The young woman asked the older lady how she had lost her Chihuahua.
“It is a sad story,” she said. “It happened three years ago and it hurt so much that I promised myself to never get another dog. Today I came here to donate some blankets, never thinking of adopting anything, that’s for sure. Then this lady here (she pointed at me) convinced me to take a look at the little guy and when I held him in my hands I was in love all over again. But going back to the story, I had a tiny female Chihuahua and I always took her along with me whenever I went on overseas trips. This one time I was told by the airline that I could not take her with me in the cabin because there was already another person with a dog and they only allowed one dog in cabin per trip. Not wanting to send her as luggage, I asked a friend to watch her for me while I was gone and when I returned my dog had died.” She paused.
“Did your dog get sick while you were gone?” I asked
With teary eyes and choking on her words the lady whispered, “She died of a broken heart. She felt abandoned.”
At that moment, when the woman opened her heart to let out the pain she had kept locked inside for years, I felt God’s grace descend upon us in the silence of the room bringing solace and comfort.
I wondered how different the events of that day would have been if I would have turned a deaf ear to my inner nudge. Perhaps this lady would have walked past the tiny Chihuahua puppy without giving him a second look; perhaps I would have missed out on Jay licking my nose.
“Tell your heart to beat again” came to mind. It seemed to me that both of us were telling our hearts to beat again, to open again in order to give and receive love and in so doing healing and joy found its way back into our lives.
I will stop here for now. I will continue the story for next time.
Till then, tell your hearts to beat again because we are almost home!