How My Dog Saved My Life

 

Some people are cat people. Some people are dog people. Some dog people are strictly for the smaller ones. Some dog people are all about the big pups. And yet others are all for one and one for all, no discrimination.  I myself (though I do like cats) am certainly a dog person and I like the big ones. Not only do I feel safer with bigger dogs and I can rough house with bigger dogs, but a bigger dog saved my life…and is still saving my life.

Growing up I was a very lonely little girl. I grew up as the oldest of two girls and found myself very protective of my little sister from a very young age. Now I want to preface the rest of this story by saying that I love my family UNCONDITIONALLY and with all my being, as my dad would say. My parents are both heroes of mine for different reasons and I am SO proud of them. I’m proud of the people they have become, the parents they have been, and the marriage they have fought for!! I know that they did the best they could and I honestly would not have it any other way! I want to respect them as I share MY story. But I can’t share my story without including them because after all, our lives are affected by people; good and bad.

As all married couples do, my parents would fight growing up and most of the time it was at night when they thought I was asleep. But being the loud family we are, I was very aware of what went on. There were several dynamics at play but I’ll leave it as the “dark ages” of their marriage…again, as ALL marriages have. But it affected me. Without details, it would make me sad and scared at times. I would sit outside my sister’s room at night to make sure she was ok and sound asleep. God wired me as a peacemaker and nurturing soul so I guess I instinctively wanted to take care of people from a young age.

As I went through elementary school and middle school I didn’t talk about what was on my heart and in my head because I was embarrassed and I didn’t think people would understand. Or I didn’t know how to say it. Everyone saw this bubbly, outgoing, talkative young girl. No one would believe the weight and anxiety that I was carrying around inside. There was one person, however, that I told everything to. One person that I would sit and hug and cry with. One person I knew cared and understood…well kind of. Her name was Lady and she was my yellow Lab.

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Lady Dog

It amazes me now still as I think back to God’s provision on my life. Even at a time when I was young and couldn’t really articulate all the things I was experiencing and feeling, God was taking care of me.  That dog was my best friend.  Any time there were loud noises, like yelling from an argument, she ALWAYS came into my room. Whether she was anxious or I was, we calmed each other. I would talk to her and didn’t have to worry about her judging me or my family. She would kiss away my tears. She would cuddle with me as I clung to her. She would lay with me until I fell asleep and then drift off herself. As silly as it may seem, she was my best friend and that’s a bond that to this day, 10 years after she’s been gone that I still feel.

You see, it was really God being those things to me but being so young, I needed something or in this case, someone tangible. And he gave me my Lady dog. I think about it now. How much God loved me and cared for me that even though the circumstances weren’t changing, he gave me a friend to go through it with. He gave me comfort and love and loyalty. I didn’t see it then, obviously but even as I was trying to take care of everyone then, God was still taking care of me.

Fast forward many years and I find myself a single gal, pursuing her dreams (or trying at least), working in her career, and still longing for that bond. God blessed me a year and a half ago with another pup who has been nothing short of a blessing. Oddly enough, when I rescued my Georgie I was just coming off one of the most mentally/emotionally seasons of life including a panic attack which came close to a hospital visit. She was the light at the end of my tunnel. In God’s grace, she was the hope I was holding onto to get me through. I know that I should have been relying fully on the Lord during that particularly difficult season, but I’m human and became consumed with stress and anxiety. So once again, God brought me the hope of a friend until we could be united.

Sure she’s energetic and rambunctious at times. Yes, she drives me nuts with the jumping and the zooms as I call them. No, I can’t just pick up and go places whenever I want and she comes with financial obligations. Yes, it drives me nuts when she picks up things she knows she shouldn’t in order to get me to pay attention to her. No, I don’t like playing with her all the time and often after a long day at work, gym, errands, etc. I just want to sit.

BUT the thought of NOT having her…I don’t know how I’d have gotten through the last year and a half. She loves people. She’s smart (but stubborn lol). She’s loyal. She cuddles!! 🙂 When we go for car rides I love pulling up to a light and watching people light up when they look over and see her smiling face hanging out the window. I love watching her swim in the summer and play in the bathtub in the winter. When we play and she hurts me she stops instantly and gently comes to check on me. She lets me hold her still when I cry. She gets me out of the house to enjoy some pretty wonderful weather. She legitimately smiles at me. She’s so happy all the time and when I come home she is so excited to see me. As a single person…these are important things. She’s my companion.

Sure I post pictures on Facebook of her and expect the whole world to like them because I think she’s the cutest thing ever. But the truth behind why I love her and why I know so many others love their pets is because she did save me.

There’s a saying that people who have rescue dogs have: Who rescued who? And it’s true. Whether I’m 7 or 27 God has been so loving towards me to provide me companionship and support in the personification of a dog. I know that ultimately the joy Georgie brings me comes from the Lord. He gave me a dog with the personality of just what I needed in this season of my life just as he did 20 years ago. I guess ultimately I want to say that it really was God who was doing the saving in my life. But because I’m human and need tangible things sometimes, he gave me that in the form a four-legged furry licking machine.

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About to get our beauty rest!
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My cuddle bug

I also want to say this, you may feel hopeless or anxious or stressed or lonely and feel like you have no one. But God never leaves us and is ALWAYS providing for his children even when it doesn’t seem that way. Sometimes we have to really open our eyes to who he’s put in our lives to take care of our needs. It may not be what we want or think we need…but it’s there. You just have to look!

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