“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson
It’s been said that a dog is man’s best friend. Unyielding allegiance. Faithful support. So many canine qualities indeed make dogs a great companion. But for me six years ago when we brought Lindley home, she was so much more than a friend. As an infertile woman who wasn’t ready for the adoption process yet, my dog became my baby. And that’s why it was so hard to tell her goodbye today.
An unfortunate series of events led to her escaping the backyard yesterday within an hour and a half of me being gone. We came home to find Joey, our lab mix, alone in the yard. After about 20 minutes of yelling and hunting for her, Animal Control pulled up and let us know that they’d taken Lindley to the animal hospital. She was hit by a car. Quick visits and a review of initial x-rays last night had me hopeful my strong-willed dog would pull through. But today upon further review of more x-rays and her four pelvic fractures, we knew we had to let go.
I didn’t have a dog as a child so after Mike & I moved in to the Corner of Monroe, adding to our family was first on the agenda. We brought Joey home one month after we moved in and soon adopted Lindley three months later. The two dogs instantly became as close as sisters, some even asked us if they were born in the same liter due to their tendencies to cuddle and stay within a foot of each other at all times. I laugh at myself who sat on the floor the day we brought Lindley home, worried that we had made a mistake. “I’m not sure I can love another dog as much as I love Joey,” I told Mike. My how Lindley proved me wrong.
Within a matter of weeks, Lindley had become my dog. Over the years she protected me from guests she wasn’t quite sure about (sorry again about her snapping at you, John & Matt Hayes.) She was always at my feet when it was time to relax and she kept me warm in the winter as our old house let in cold drafts. She’d find a way to sneak into Mike’s spot in the bed early in the morning once he left. She somehow figured out how to lay just like him so that I had no clue it was her.
Lindley let me dress her up and take pictures of her. She caught a mouse. And a rabbit. She was always up for trying something new. She instinctively knew that Kelley was pregnant. And while Joey hesitated to welcome Mae into our home, Lindley was the first to get in her face (and sometimes her bath) and enjoy her newest sister. She even let Mae ride her like a horse and climb on top of her just a few days ago.
The loss of our dog today leaves a deep hole in my heart and a pain I’ve never experienced. I know dogs are dogs but I know even more today that dogs are family. And even beyond that – dogs are worshippers. The only thing that keeps me going to make sense of Lindley’s “all too soon” passing is that her time was up. She’d served the purpose God had for her and He was ready to bring her home. I’m certain that are dogs in heaven. She was just too great of a dog to not be there right now.
Scripture says let everything that has breath praise the Lord. And although she didn’t have a soul, Lindley praised the Lord and pointed me to Christ more than I realized. As I pet her head today and told her goodbye, I realized how great of a gift from God she has been. She filled a longing to love and nurture before a “real” baby arrived. She was a buddy who sat next to me while recovering from surgeries, wanting nothing but to show me love and support. And she protected me the way the Lord intends to do so – she wouldn’t let anyone she wasn’t sure about come near me. While it took a few minutes for her to warm up sometimes, once she trusted you, she was yours for life. As I always used to say, Lindley was the lover. This dog showed me God’s love in many, many ways.
I will miss my dog… my baby… but I am glad she’s not in pain. I wish our time together would have been longer but I’m thankful for the six years we did have. I couldn’t wish for a better pet to get me introduced to the dog world. Although I might have to throw on another blanket this winter if the cold winds come, I will take it as a reminder to remember Lindley and be thankful for the blessing it was to give her a home.