When I rescued my dog Charlie, God used him as a teaching tool about about grace and love.
Charlie and St. Francis
I was missing my dog Brandon. A beautiful Red Pomeranian, Brandon
was full of life and three years old when we adopted him. We would lose him just
three years later. In the short time he was with us, he became a sibling, a fishing
buddy, and a source of constant hilarity. Brandon had been through the sorrow
of abandonment, and when we adopted him, he became our protector and our
biggest fan. He was jealous, but in a good way. He cried passionate tears if we
were gone too long during the day. He was fearless, to a fault, standing up to
dogs many times his size if he thought we were in danger. His fur felt more like
human hair, silky, and soft. Petting him was a sensual experience. I don't like to
even talk about how we lost him, it's still too painful.I will just say that as quickly
as he joined us, that's how he left.
I believe there are no accidents, that everything is guided by a capable hand.
Brandon had been my companion, my co-miserator, and my most loyal friend.
When I lost him, I lost a softer side of myself. The joy of small things was gone.
No one was there to cover my face in dog spit when I cried. No one was there to
go cross-eyed over chocolate chip cookies, and no one would ever fill the hollow
in my heart, or in the mattress where Brandon slept, or so I thought.
I would not consider another dog to replace Brandon, It felt traitorous and just wrong.
I would see other dogs similar to him, walking with their owners. I would close my
eyes and think of him until I smelled his scent, and heard his greeting of, "harrrrrumph."
If you know about Pomeranians, you'll know they're great talkers. They try and
succeed to some degree, to say "Hello", "Bye-Bye", and "I Love You". Best of all
is the lady-in-distress, ear-piercing scream they let out when you come back after
being gone all day, while their eyes bug out and their feet don't know where to go.
Brandon was such a one, perking up our self-esteem, and enlarging our hearts.
I think that's why his was giving out, as he was always giving so much of his away.
So how then could I possibly try to replace him? It seemed blasphemous.
When I missed Brandon, I would do a computer search for Pomeranian pictures.
I would never find one with eyes that searched the heart like our Brandon.But
I would look at the pictures just the same, it was pain and comfort, all at the same time.
I resolved myself to the fact that there would never be another dog for us, and life
went on in a 2-dimensional sort of way.So I stopped looking at Pomeranian pictures,
and pushed Brandon into a corner of my heart.
4 years after we lost Brandon, I "accidentally" came across a picture of
a dog. He looked panic and grief-stricken, like he had just been mugged, lost all
his credit cards, and was put in jail for panhandling. This dog looked like he was
in mourning in every true sense. His eyes were rimmed in tears, his ears hung as if
there was no reason to lift them anymore, because his owner would not call him anymore.
He looked like a ghost dog. The Easton PA ASPCA website said his name was
"Winkler". I looked at those eyes, and saw Brandon looking back at me. It was if
Brandon was saying ,"He needs you too, just like I did." I yelled to my sons to
get in the car with no questions. I must have looked like a nut job, because they got
in the car quickly. I blurted out to the receptionist that I was there for Winkler. I was
informed I had to fill out a visitor log, and an adoption request. One of the attendants
brought him into the "Bonding Room", and I sat on the pee-stained floor without a care.
He slinked into my arms, looked up at me , and we connected in a way that no one on
Match.com ever would. He let out an audible sigh and layed his head on my shoulder
and I felt the energy exchange between us. Then panic set in....He might not become ours.
Others had requested him too. I looked in his eyes and promised we would be back,
hugged him, and then left.
The ride home was quiet, unusual for my family.My oldest son said, "I sure hope we get him.",
no other words were exchanged.The next day we recieved a call that Winkler was ours.
We cancelled our plans to go get him,stopping only at the PETCO to get a leash, collar,
dishes, and food.We were told he could not come home just yet, for he was getting a nip-tuck job.
We could have a short visit, and when he saw us, he looked like he was saying,"Wow!, You
came back! You really came!"
He also looked a little stoned due to the residual anesthesia in his system. I was allowed to
hold him gently for a bit, and then he went to rest and sleep it off. We returned 2 days later
to claim our new family member. When I put the leash on, he knew where the door was,
and that was all he knew. We were told that he had been left by his former owner, tied to
the statue of St. Francis in front of the ASPCA. A note asking them to watch over him was all
they left. He was not thrown from a car, he was tied to the Patron Saint of Animals. He had
been grieving for his family, full of questions he could not communicate, that would never be
answered. It was divine intervention.
The first thing I did was rename him, for a few reasons. First, "Winkler" seemed too
cutesy for an animal who had suffered and lost and loved as he did. He needed a name
that was upbeat, but still classy. If we did not rename him, he would think of his old owner
every time he was called. I thought of how God gave people a new name after saving them.
Abram became Abraham, Simon became Peter, and Saul became Paul. So, I named
him Charles, Charlie for short, it was dignified and yet comfortable.I only called him Charles
when he was naughty, and he loved it. So, he was Charlie most of the time, I say, "most".
He was as most rescued animals are, extremely grateful and clingy. He also made sure that
any friend of ours, became a friend of his as well. He took charge of our block, telling all the cats
this was his turf now, and that they better get lost. Except for one cat that he developed fond
feelings for, a long-haired Persian cat named Midnight. From the back, Midnight looked like a
Pomeranian, and Charlie treated him like a brother.Charlie also decided that the neighbor's
statue of a Puma was a grave threat to my life, and must be barked at and intimidated at all costs.
We adopted Charlie when My husband and I were both unemployed. Charlie was used to having
attention 24-7, and someone was always there to comfort him and entertain him. Then my daughter
became pregnant. He seemed to know Joy was carrying something very, very interesting. He
spent alot of time sniffing her and just inspecting her. When my granddaughter was born,
Charlie stopped snifing Joy, and shifted the attention to Luna. That was when Charlie found his
smile, an ear-to-ear, frightening, Joker-esque smile, while his eyes glazed over like he was on
Ecstacy, and he was in a way. At Luna's birth, Charlie acted as if he was the Daddy, running
around and yipping at us, as if to say, "Look! The little person is here! This one is me-sized!
Wow! I love it!" He loved her smells too, fascinated as much by the baby lotion,
as the poo in her diapers. He would watch every diaper change, and then sniff her bottom after, as
if he were in charge of the whole operation. So, Baby Luna became Charlie's pup, and she developed an
obsession of playing in Charlie's food dish, dropping the kibble into the water, until it expanded into
a grey, ghastly mess. Luna thought she was cooking for Charlie, and that we were being mean
by not letting her give him her special of the day. Which brings on another subject.....crying.
When Luna cried, Charlie would knock over furniture to get to her, and then eye us all
suspiciously to see who made his pup cry.He would whimper and lick every tear from her face,
which made her laugh, because he wouldn't stop licking. Her hair would be swirled up into a
Troll up-do, smelling of dog breath. Luna was Charlie's Mogli, and Luna knew it from day one.
Charlie was not kean on the idea of adding another dog, he was the only dog, period. He wouldn't
abuse the other canine visitors, he would just show them they had no place in our heart by all his ego
tactics. It took a while for him to gain the trust in us and self confidence to believe that he was with us
for life. And that is when he got romantic feelings again, this time for the right species.
The hour-long drive to his harem is a favorite activity. He is neutered, but very "romantic". He
sees that we give treats to his ladies, and that he spends time chasing, sniffing, and napping
with each one. Chloe the Yorkie, and Princess the Salt&Pepper Shitzu make Charlie feel like the
only man in their world, because he is. They are house dogs, toileting indoors on pet pads.
They never see any other dogs except Charlie, and he likes the attention. He is a gracious guest too.
He gives the bark and lick to each person he visits, and loves handshakes and conversation. When
people talk canine baby talk to him, he gets bashful, lowers his head, and looks up batting his
biggest doe eyes, like the late Princess Diana. What a ham.
But the most interesting thing about Charlie to date is this, He has been led by the supernatural
to do God's bidding many times. When I drifted away from God, He used Charlie as a living
parable to make me understand how God feels about me. When I need to hear a specific word
from God, he will cause a chain of events to unfold, aided by a willing canine.
I was told by the LORD that I must get up earlier to spend more time in worship and prayer.
I was never a morning person, and this was very hard for me. I ignored the LORD's prompting,
thinking I would "make it up to Him" later on my terms. Uh-uh, 'cause when God speaks, you
better listen. I was sitting on the edge of my bed at 4:30 am, resenting having to get up early,
when Charlie came running up to me. He showered me with affection. I was reminded of how
he is a basket case when I don't see him all day, how he refuses to eat until I come home,
and how he relaxes after I show him attention he was missing. Then God told me in my spirit,
"That dog longs for you more than you long for me. He runs to you, he cherishes you, he will
sit for hours, just enjoying being near you and worshipping you. Why can you not do as much
for me when I made you and long to be with you and commune with you? Is a dog more capable
of devotion than you?" Well, "Ouch!", did that hurt my pride, and it attacked my lazy and
unwilling flesh. I also got the visual of how my relationship with God should be, with me playing
the part of Charlie. I was also not fasting when God spoke to my heart, prompting me to do so.
I would say to myself, "You only eat one meal a day, Why fast?", and other excuses. But God
used Charlie's lack of appetite when I am away as a picture of how I should I should sometimes
fast to be rewarded of the joy of Him revealing himself to me more deeply. It all made me think of
Skippy, my grandmother's dog. Skippy was a jerk. He never came when I , or anyone else called
him. He hid from people, crawling under the couch, unless you wanted to sit on it yourself. I guess
I was being a "Skippy". Which isn't good 'cause I hated Skippy. If I wanted out of the spiritual
dog house, I would need an upgrade in grace, born of obedience. I felt remorse at hurting my LORD.
I took my chastening, and now I am good, until I need chastening again.
One of those "mysterious ways" God moves in was evident today.I was in my devotions,
when Charlie jumped up to me, knocking my Bible, causing me to lose my page. After Charlie
settled back down, I didn't know the page was changed and I started reading, It was the passage
where Moses was weary from being the head of al the people, hearing their grievances, solving
their problems Biblically, and telling the people what to do on a daily basis. Moses was becoming
weary, and so were the people, for they would stand in line for hours or days, waiting their turn.
Moses' father-in-law called him on his stuff. Moses was burned out, and the people were not
being schooled on how to govern themselves. Moses' father-in-law told him he needed to
instruct them, and let them handle governing themselves, once they became grounded in God's
Laws. Moses did that, the people went home to their lands, and Moses was a happier camper.
After morning bible study, I went to paint murals for Children's VBS, and was met with a
burned-out Children's Pastor. She was discouraged that only a trio of women, myself inlcuded were
helping her. I told the ladies what happened with Charlie changing my lesson plans, and how it
applied to what they were doing. This isn't the first time God used Charlie to give me a glimpse
of His will and His Glory. I know now that it was Charlie who rescued us, and he continues to do
so occasionally. I think St. Francis must have pleaded Charlie's cause the day he was
surrendered by a broken master. And God told me, "That is how I felt when I had to leave my
Son. When he cried, "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?, I could not go to him, though
my heart ached for him. But his redemption for mankind would follow after he suffered rejection
God caused me to think of another problem I have, losing my first love for the cares of this world,
The thought popped in my head, that when Luna comes over to visit, she is spending less time chasing Charlie around. She no longers plays with his bisquits, water, or food. And she is more caught up in jewlery, movies, and fun girl stuff than she is playing with Charles. I have to console him after the brief, gratuitous
greetings are over. Luna still loves Charlie, but she gets distracted. Charlie gets jealous and longs for the days they were crazy about each other. God said that I have been drifting from his Daily Bread and the Water of Life, and that He missed me too. It hurt His heart that I was drifting too, into the cares of this world. Bills, debts, apartment searches, and oversleeping from exhaustion were taking more of my fellowship time with God.
I looked over at Charlie sleeping, he sleeps through the night soundly, because
he looks for my return all day, wanting to be ready to leap for joy when I come back home. We should all sleep soundly, after looking for the Savior to return. I only hope to be half the watchdog as Charlie, ever vigilant, ever faithful, longing for his beloved master.
How awesome is our Creator that He uses his own creations to speak wisdom into our
hearts even today!