Things were just a little bit quieter at our house this morning. I first noticed the beam of daybreak when my alarm clock went off. That hasn’t happened in over two years. I used to see first morning’s light when our dog, Ralph lifted his front paws to the edge of our bed, his eyes saying that it was time to get up and go out back. Ralph’s bladder was not as sturdy as mine. By 5:30 a.m. he needed to go out for some relief.
Those mornings are over now. Ralph won’t jump in the bed to let us know of God’s renewed mercies through the coming of a new day. My heart is filled with an altogether different mourning now.
You see, 10 months ago, God defied doctors beliefs and distributed divine blessings on our house through the birth of our daughter, Malia Rose. She is an angel in babies clothing! We prayed for her for years and she is more and better than we ever could have imagined. She is an incredible baby. She is sweet, she is cute, she is pure, she is adventurous…but she is also vulnerable.
And yesterday, in the blink of an eye, our normally playful, peaceful dog, Ralph, bit her on the face.
The decision we had to make was easy. He had to go! As a friend told me this morning, “We love our dogs, but we love our daughters more.” Making the decision was terrible! I have never cried so many tears. Even now they flow.
It would be easy to say a lot of negative things about having a dog like Ralph. He had been abandoned by his first owners, so he was very needy. He was growing older and sicker, so he threw up on the carpet often. He barked for hours when anyone came within 20 feet of our house. All of those things are true, and were at times annoying, but the thing that is truest about Ralph is simple: He was my friend!
Every time I was sick and confined to the house and bed, there was Ralph with his cold, wet nose nuzzled comfortably next to my arm. When Malia was a newborn and awoke several times in the night, Ralph was by my side as we rocked her back to sleep. Every moment of this year’s meager sunlight has been refreshed by Ralph’s beagle-brown-brilliant eyes.
He was my friend. I will miss him!
Most of the time, in this space on the web, I like to make spiritual applications about things. Not today. It’s not that there aren’t any, I just can’t think of them today.
But on second thought, I want my little corner of the web to be about “Seeking Relics of Divine Goodness.” That’s what Ralph was–an artifact of God’s goodness. I hate the fact that my dog–in the end–was a dog. He is supposed to bite stuff from time to time. But I’m reminded of another time, before Adam and Eve’s fruitful day, when all was peace. And I look forward to the time when that peace will return, when the lion will lie down with the lamb. When the baby will lie down with the beagle.
Like I said to Ralph yesterday, shortly before we drove away from the Bluebonnet Beagle Rescue, “I’ll see you in heaven.”