by Debbie W. Wilson
“When the vet calls to confirm my appointment for Tuesday don’t cancel this time.” Larry’s words socked me in the gut. He had made two previous appointments to put our 14 1/2-year-old yellow lab down. But, when she seemed to rally, I canceled the appointments.
Larry’s back is more important than giving her a little more time, I told myself. But I grieved. Corrie was deaf and lame, but still alert in the evenings. She never so much as whimpered when she fell, though her falls had to hurt her arthritic body. Our vet had said most dogs would be grumpy at her stage in life. Corrie wasn’t.
I spent Sunday afternoon alone with Corrie. She ate the food I placed between her front paws. She loved her biscuits, so I gave her extra. I selected the thinnest rawhide chew, but by evening she was so weak she couldn’t hold her head up. I held it for her. Her life was ebbing away before my eyes. Tears ran down my cheeks every time she looked at me with her lab eyes.
As painful as it was to see her like this, it was her last gift to me. She seemed to say, “Larry’s right. It is time.” I needed that assurance.
For the last year Larry and our son Brant had to carry Corrie outside. She couldn’t negotiate steps. But she still had her spirit. She would lean her head into your hand when you petted her. She perked up for treats, and she always roused when Brant came home.
Why would we hang on to a pet who could do nothing for us—she had numerous accidents. Christmas Eve, Larry had to bathe her between dinner and dessert. We washed her bed several times a week. She was heavy to lift.
We hung on because we loved her.
Jesus said “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God” (Luke 12:6 NIV). Jesus was making the point that if God remembers sparrows, how much more does He treasure you? The world may not remember us when we are gone, but God will, because He loves us (Psalm 103:14-16). Each of us is significant to God. Vastly more significant than how our beloved pets are to us! It may seem silly to even compare the two, but our attachment to them can be a reminder of His great love and concern for us.
Do you have an imperfect pet you’ll never forget? When you think about your pet, remember how much more God loves you.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT).
About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.
Join the conversation: What lessons have you learned from your pets?