Lessons From the Hurricane Hound: Part I
By Wendy Lanier
CBN.com There she was. I had hoped she wouldn’t be—but the skinny puppy I had seen earlier was still there. I half expected her to bolt when I approached, but instead her tail wagged hopefully. When I spoke kindly to her, she shivered with delight.
Not only did she make no effort to run, but as I got nearer she flopped over on her back in a “scratch my belly, please” pose. It was then I realized she was hurt. Her left back leg hung uselessly at her side. Her stomach was covered with ant bites, and she had so many scabs and abrasions it gave me the willies to stroke her.
I heaved a sigh. If timing is everything, then this was definitely NOT it. We already had two dogs. Our finances were in no shape to accommodate another one, especially not one requiring extensive medical treatment. With both of us working, who would be home to nurse her back to health anyway? And to
top it all off, there was an impressively large hurricane out in the Gulf spinning in our direction.
Of course, it was the last fact that made it impossible to walk away. The lessons of Katrina had not been lost on us. We simply couldn’t leave her to face Hurricane Rita alone. There was nothing to do but take her home.
For two days the black lab mix hung out on our back patio while we tried desperately to find someone to care for her medical needs and give her a home. During this time she also acquired a name. Taking our cue from the fact she had been abandoned on Brooks Road, she became “our Miss Brooks.”
By midweek a voluntary evacuation order had been called for our city. The decision was made to “get out of Dodge” with Miss Brooks in tow.
Thankfully, our evacuation went smoothly in spite of having three dogs in one car along with our daughter and as many belongings as we could carry.
We were able to leave early enough to avoid the gridlock on the freeways that would be the fate of many others. By late Wednesday we were comfortably ensconced in my parents’ home two hundred miles inland, safely out of the hurricane’s path.
The next morning I took Miss Brooks to a local vet. He took one look at the x-rays and announced she would require an orthopedic surgeon. When he estimated the cost I felt my heart sink. There was no way.
“Is amputation an option?” It sounded drastic, but not as drastic as death.
“Very much so,” the doctor nodded emphatically. “With a break of this kind, even a specialist will make no guarantee. This dog is young. She should adapt just fine. If she were my dog I would spare her the additional surgeries and just take it off.”
With the cost at about a tenth of the other surgery my husband gave his blessing for the amputation. “She deserves a chance and it’s worth that much,” was his observation.
The surgery took place on Friday. On Monday Miss Brooks, minus one leg, came home to be a permanent member of our family. Watching her play with our other dogs, I shook my head in disbelief.
Now I would have three dogs in the house, and that was only if the house was still there when we returned. “Why this dog, Lord? Why now?"
Obviously, the Lord felt this was a teachable moment because there was an immediate answer in my spirit. “Have you noticed how closely she follows you around? She doesn’t let you out of her sight.”
It was true. Miss Brooks gave new meaning to the phrase “dogging my steps.”
“You’re her savior.” I could see that. Without me, she probably would have died in the storm.
“I’m yours. Stay close. Don’t let me out of your sight.” The words rang in my head so clearly, I can tell you exactly where I was standing when this revelation came to me.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly our new charge was no longer just a stray puppy. She was a living, breathing object lesson. I stood watching her in awe as I realized God was using her to speak to me in a way I could never have anticipated.
Deuteronomy 13:4 tells us,
"It is the Lord our God we must follow and revere. We must keep his commands and obey him; serving him only and holding fast to him."
Similarly, Joshua 22:5 reminds the children of Israel, and us, to love God, walk in his ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him, and serve Him with our whole heart and soul.
Both scriptures contain the admonition to “hold fast.” In other words—keep Him in your sight.
Like many Christians it is never my intention to let God get out of my sight. It’s just that somehow the business of living sometimes gets in the way. Before I know it, I reach the end of my day only to fall into bed too exhausted to do more than whisper a hurried laundry list prayer just before I fall asleep.
While I may not have ignored God altogether during my day, He never really got my full attention either. I let the day slip past without spending any quality time with Him.
“Quality time” is the modern catch phrase that simply means giving someone our undivided attention. Make no mistake. God yearns to spend quality time with His kids.
He would really like it if the feeling was reciprocated. Now, here He was using our Miss Brooks to remind me that He would appreciate a little face time with me on a more regular basis.
As it turned out, this wasn’t the only thing He wanted to show me. There were more lessons from my three-legged pooch to come.
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