Lost Dog The Cold and Hungry

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This past Friday night around 1030 pm this beautiful dog came up to our back patio door  scratching and begging to come in.  Hesitant to let a strange dog in I had hoped it would run off back to its home, but she just kept on looking at me through the glass and laid down along our back step.  Our dogs were going crazy as well as two of our three kids were getting all gaga over this bundle of furry sweetness.   Our most dog crazy daughter was staying at a friend’s home for which I was so thankful.  The drama of the begging “can we keep her?” would have earned her an Oscar I am quite certain.  My first step to help this sweet creature was to take to Facebook.  We started with a picture of her scratching at the door and sent out the plea to hunt down the owner.  There were comments, likes, and shares of the post, but at first no sign of the owner.  Eventually I felt safe trying to let her in much to our yellow lab’s disgust.  She was not a fan.  It was getting late so my oldest just took her downstairs with her to keep the dogs separate.  Our oldest daughter was totally in love already.  In the meantime we got this much nicer photo of the sweet girl’s face.

Eventually we were able to sleep.  Early in the morning I had gotten a message that it potentially was the messenger’s neighbor’s dog.  Through back an forth messages and more photos we were both confident this dog indeed was her neighbor’s.  About eight hours of her showing up on our door step she was riding off into the sunrise with her rightful owner.  The power of social media was a grand thing that day.  That same sweet face looked at me from the truck’s passenger window as she rode off.  She seemed to say “Thanks for letting me crash here!!”

My posts to search for the owners continued to be shared far past the reunion of dog and master even with stating in the comments that she had made it home and making a “Nala’s home” separate post.  My husband suggested that I just delete them so that the post would stop, but part of me was just too curious.  My curiosity won out and the posts remain.  Part of me really wanted to see how many people would try to help a dog.  Part of me wanted to see what kind of judgmental comments there would be on the shared posts.

One of my posts had at least 227 shares and the other with the better picture had at least 98 shares.  Far from viral, but impressive to me.  There were comments from people I didn’t know that leaned toward judgmental that we should “let that poor dog in!”   In fact we did let the dog in.  With the hypocritical thinking of our society, I know exactly the kind of judgment I would have rendered had the dog attacked one of my children.  “What kind of idiot lets a strange dog into their house!!!”   “She got what she deserved, you don’t let a strange animal in your home!!”  “What kind of mother is she?”

As the story goes all was happy and a sweet ending.  My children are bugging me that much more for a third dog now.

One thing that amazes me about our society/community/world is the extent people will go to for an animal while there are human beings that are cold and hungry.  Also the extent that people judge each other.  Recently I watched a video about an adopted redhead.  The video showed a young redheaded little girl that “annoyed” her adoptive parents and the end of the video shows the dad taking her to a country road getting her out, throwing her doll, the girl chasing it as the dad drove off in the car.  The end of the video shows him looking in the rearview mirror and the red headed girl was actually a dog.

Believe me I am huge animal lover and I certainly don’t want to see any of God’s creatures mistreated.  My point is that I post about foster care and hurting children all the time and these posts essentially are ignored.   My question is what would be the help or judgmental comments had the living being knocking on our back door been a child?   What would you do if a cold and hungry human being came to you for help?   What are we all doing to help the cold and hungry in this world?  This has just been such a strong burden on my heart after seeing the response I had for this dog.

1 John 17-18 ” If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Matthew 25:35-40

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Beaten Down…More Lessons as a Foster Parent

As we continue along this journey our family continues to learn more about ourselves and how to love the broken daily.  There are days that feel like Satan has literally whipped the tar out of us.   Mostly speaking for myself having felt beaten spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. Lately the battle has been intense.  The struggles are a strong indicator that we are exactly where God wants us to be.  Satan leaves us alone when what we are doing has no significant impact on the eternity of someone else.  When we are making an impact he throws his best shots at us.

One thing I am learning of myself is that I go from happy to extremely angry in 0.0002 seconds when the safety of others is compromised.  Threats of physical harm, hatred, and disrespect of life really ticks me off. It is sin that I despise.  The sins of hatred that exist in this world and I despise what it stirs within my own self.  How do we remain empathetic and therapeutic with a young little human being who has known nothing but chaos, hatred and abuse?  God continues to reveal more and more the effects of trauma, lack of parenting, and lack of nurturing on a human life to us. Reading all sorts of books still has no comparison to living it.  There is no cut and dry, no black and white, no easy answers.

There is so much I can’t share.  There are multiple conversations about life daily our child and I have.  This morning’s conversation I think it is safe to share.  One thing I have learned is that a traumatized child will turn to material objects as their comfort.  They can control them and break them.  They can keep them and those objects don’t pose a threat to them.  Human beings have failed them.  TV, video and computer games has been the nurture for this child.

I was talking to one of our dogs this morning in my high pitched, make the doggie hyper and happy voice.  Telling the dog how beautiful she is and how much I love her.  Our child piped at me “She is ugly!!  She isn’t happy!!”  My reply was “Well you can have your own opinion, but I think she is beautiful!”  The returning comment was “You think she is ugly!!”  Once again I reply “I think she is beautiful!”  “She is a living creature and all living things are beautiful because God created them.  Everything God has made is beautiful!”  Our little one asked “So do you think the TV is beautiful?”  My response was “No the TV is man made and really to me it is junk!”  He then asks “What about phones?”  My response again “They are junk and really not important either they are a tool to connect with other human beings.”  “What matters most are living beings created by God not things that were made by man.”  He then asked “what about flowers?”  I state “Yes they are living and we have to savor them and enjoy their beauty fast because they don’t live real long.”  Next was “Do you think the laundry basket is beautiful as he pointed to it?”  My reply “Was no not really it is just a tool to help the human beings I have in my life to care for.”

Children that have not been valued and loved unconditionally struggle with being able to value other people.  Children who have not been nurtured in love struggle with loving others.  Their hope has been placed completely in failing and fleeting material things.  This is a rocky journey and I fall some days.  This mom gets tired.  Some days I feel like our family is just in survival mode.  Then God will give us sparks of hope.  God will renew the spirit within me the more I lean on Him and trust Him.   Some days I feel like I am just hanging onto Him by a fingernail with a dark hole beneath me.  Then I  realize that underneath the unknown, the unseen, God’s other hand is right there to catch me and protect us.  God is good and we will continue to learn and press on.

Love, Life Lessons, and a Three Legged Dog

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In an earlier blog “Dog Eat Dog World” I believe I had mentioned that sometime I would tell the story of our three legged dog. My heart was touched from the first I had heard of her and I was in love from the moment I laid eyes on her. Even our pets are a special part of God’s plan for our lives. Never an accident in how they become a part of our families.

The first I heard of Chloe was through a dear friend and coworker of mine. We were in a committee meeting at the hospital of which she was the head of. She was fighting tears that morning and having a hard time getting our meeting rolling. Through her tears she decided to provide the explanation of her emotions to all that were in the room. She started to explain that her sister had the sweetest dog literally jump into her minivan as she was loading up the family a few days prior. The dog had a broken front leg, was emaciated, had obviously just had puppies, and had no collar. The dog immediately won my friend’s sister’s heart and she decided to try to help. Her family called shelters and checked with neighbors to try to find the owners. No owners were found. There was a sign that they came across that puppies were found near the area where they live. The scenario gave the appearance that the momma and puppies were all dumped out in the country and left to fend for themselves. We can only speculate as to how Chloe obtained her broken limb.

Unable to find an owner of the dog her sister decided to take her to the vet to see what could be done for the leg. A very expensive emergent surgery could possibly be performed at another pet hospital further away. Finances are a factor when the dog is your own, but to spend thousands on a strange dog it just wasn’t a feasible option for them. There also was the risk that it was already too late to surgically repair the bones of the leg. The vet could set one of the bones, but not both. Casting the leg was not an option. The only option was to keep the leg splinted and to try to keep the dog sedate and with the splint on for weeks to allow the bones to heal. Her sister quickly became exhausted with trying to keep the splint on the dog and the dog calm. They were at the point of thinking that the dog may need to be euthanized because all the shelters were full and it seemed that no one could or would take her in. My friend had also met and fell in love with the dog hence her reason for tears during the morning meeting.

A few days later one of my friends from church posted a story about a dog her neighbors had that needed a home. She went on to tell the story which sounded very similar to the story of the dog my friend from work shared. I messaged my friend and said this sounds so similar to a story I just heard. Through our conversation I learned that she lived across the street from my work friend and it was the same dog. My work friend had taken the dog to her own home to care for since our meeting at work. Upon this discovery and going on about what a small world it is I called my friend from work, Leslie. We talked at great lengths about the dog. She had quickly become exhausted with trying to keep the dog sedate with splint intact as well. Her boys had not yet had a dog as a pet and she wasn’t sure that the dog would be the right fit for her family.

Her voice perked as she said “Anita you sound like you might be interested in this dog!” We had just put our cat down about a month before and just had one small dog at the time. We had actually been thinking about getting another dog and just hadn’t started looking at the animal shelters yet. Rescuing a dog with no home was already on my heart as the best option for us. Dogs are so adaptable and potentially having a dog with only three legs was not an obstacle for us. We are accustomed to the weird and unusual in the Lucas homestead. A three legged dog made perfect sense.

The girls and I went to meet the dog and were in love. In addition to the broken leg her ears had sores from being bitten by flies and her eyes were weepy with a gooey drainage. Our church friend and neighbor of my friend Leslie knew of someone that could help financially if needed. That person couldn’t take the dog, but wanted to help who ever could with expenses. After bringing her home we tried to keep the splint intact to no avail. Giving her the name of Chloe we soon realized that Chloe was quite the Houdini. The first day in our home of course was a work day for us so we had to leave her. We tried to keep her in a pen in the garage. She escaped the pen, climbed over bicycles, a wagon, and a Barbie car, lifted the cracked window with her nose, busted out the screen and jumped to the ground about four feet below. She stayed in the yard and greeted my mother as she pulled in the drive with broken leg dangling and a smile on her face. The splint was left behind in the pen that she destroyed. We quickly learned that she was fine staying inside the house where our presence was felt even with us not there. Having rewrapped her leg at least a dozen times I saw firsthand or first pawed that this leg of hers was not going to heal. My friend already had a vet appointment scheduled at the same vet we go to that Saturday morning. We kept that appointment. The vet was so happy that someone had agreed to take her in because he really didn’t want to euthanize her either. When he took the splint off of her leg the look on his face demonstrated what I already knew in my heart. There was just no healing that would happen. We decided to amputate and have her spayed that next week. Doing both surgeries at once we thought would be the best option for Chloe and financially. We would have had to go into debt pay for all of it and were so grateful for the financial help with the cost of the amputation. It took the work of five families to rescue our sweet Chloe all together.

The morning I took her to the vet for her surgeries I wondered if she would still love me afterward. In such a short time we had already developed quite the bond and the concern that I would lose her trust was weighing on me. The vet allowed me to call and check on her a couple times and they were happy to give the update that she had come through surgery fine. She had to stay the night for observation with the amputation being such a vascular surgery. The next day when I picked her up she was a different dog. She was brighter, so happy to see me, the weeping of her eyes was completely gone, and she appeared to have a radiant grin. My tears started to flow as soon as I looked her in the eyes. “This indeed is a very special dog” I thought to myself. Healing was a piece of cake for her. She had already grown accustomed to walking with three legs due to the break. Chloe gives deer, squirrel, and any other living creature a run for their money despite only having three legs. She falls often, but gets back up without missing a beat. Digging has been no problem she just uses her one front paw and has even managed to dig up a mole or two. One morning I looked out the front window saw her dig and catch a mole. She flipped that mole around the yard like it was a squeak toy.

It was the burden and pain of what was broken that was making her sick. Once what was broken was completely removed she was able to fully heal and be happy. She is left with the obvious scar of what she has gone through. Every day she is a reminder to me that in our lives there is only One who can rescue us from the brokenness in our lives. Jesus provides the amputation we need to completely remove the burden of our sinful broken hearts. His forgiveness alone will remove our sin that separates us from God our Creator. The day I picked Chloe up from the vet reminds me of the day when I will look full into the face of Jesus. There will be no more weeping of my eyes and my smile will radiate joy! We are often left with emotional and sometimes physical scars to remind us where we have been. Jesus bears the scars to His hands, feet, and side as a reminder for eternity of where we have been and what He did to bring us out of our brokenness. We can continue to carry the burden of our brokenness leading to death and eternal separation from God or we can ask Jesus to free us from the burden of our sin and shame leading to eternal life in the presence of God.

“It’s a Dog Eat Dog World”

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The little black dog is harder to see all snuggled on my lap. One of my favorite pictures of the dogs, my buddies.

What a beautiful Memorial Day morning. As I sat on our back patio reading my bible and drinking my morning coffee the realization of all who sacrificed everything for the freedoms I was enjoying in that very moment was overwhelming. There are so many to whom I owe my humble gratitude Jesus, American soldiers, my parents… My attention then turned to my furry friends who had joined me. Our small dachshund /Lhasa Apso mix dog in the chair beside me and our three legged wonder Yellow Lab dog lying beneath my chair.
Our little dog tends to be more of the family annoyance. She is an extremely selfish and nervous creature. She would eat until she literally exploded. She seeks opportunities to steal any kind of snack from anyone not paying close enough attention. Snappy and grumpy if she is not getting her way her selfishness, her looks of paranoia, and nervous habits often tend to be the center of family jokes. Her choice human happens to be me and she only seems content when near me and/or eating.
Our sweet rescue dog is quite the opposite. Her quiet and peaceful demeanor has made her a true family dog. Completely unselfish in her love and affection for the entire family she shows pure gratitude toward anyone who cares to rub her belly or scratch behind her ears. Her patience with the little dog amazes me. At times I have observed her leave a few bites in her bowl of food for the little one to devour. It took the work of four families to rescue this precious pet. That is a whole other story of God’s timing that I will share sometime.
When the time comes that the little dog passes I am quite sure that I will be the only one to shed a tear for her. Her lack of affection for others and selfishness has not made a great impact on this family. On the other hand when our sweet three legged wonder passes there will be great mourning in the Lucas household.
It is amazing to me how we as humans will feel the loss and mourn for lives of ones who truly loved and led lives of sacrifice for others. When a selfish power hungry dictator, politician, or shrewd businessman departs from this life there actually may be a celebration instead of mourning. Our human response is so amazing in that we long for love and selflessness yet the attitude of do what is best for “me” overpowers and most often prevails.
Jesus was the ultimate example of God’s love. He demonstrated the perfect life of selflessness and sacrifice. The bible clearly provides the knowledge and wisdom of salvation from our selfish tendencies. God’s word reveals the true source of love. Often as I observe the world the two things that seem most hated are Jesus and the Word of God. Maybe like our little dog the world is so content in its self- absorption that there is a nervous fear of letting go of the self -made prison. We miss out on such a blessing in this life when we focus on ourselves instead of others. When we trust in Jesus and turn our selfishness over to Him the love he pours into our hearts is indescribable. Our little dog misses the blessing of enjoying the whole family in her little anxious world. Our three legged dog has this love thing down pat. Don’t let the opportunity to allow Christ’s love to fill your heart pass you by. There is tremendous freedom in giving Jesus more of my selfishness and allowing him to replace it with love. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There are so many verses on human selfishness and on God’s love. It is hard to pick just one or two.