Things that Foster Dog taught me, part 1

As I write, I’m thinking about a wonderful, four-legged friend who has become a rich part of our lives over the past couple of years.  Zoe, aka Foster Dog, was a temporary placement at our house. She was much too big for our small yard and we had another dog and . . .  the list actually grew quite long . . . and then magically disappeared.

But Nancy and I were drawn to the shy and gentle giant — half Great Pyrenees, quarter Siberian Husky, quarter wolf. When, at her first check-up, we learned that she had a heart murmur and an ear infection, we began to think that perhaps we should take care of her for a while.  The ear infection has been persistent and treated off-and-on.  And, of course, the heart murmur has only worsened — severely in the last month.

So now, Zoe is quietly resting for most of each day as various physical problems arise from the lack of oxygen. Visitors have always been a great treat for Zoe.  Her routine is to make an initial sniff-down and then retire to a point about 20 feet away where she silently guards both us and the newcomer.  But yesterday, when the lawn people came to fertilize, she stayed in her house watching from her front door.

Her only prolonged physical activity at this point is when we make the idle suggestion that we are ready for a walk if she is. Head held high, Zoe trots quickly to the gate to wait for her leash and her favorite part of the day.

The walk.

It pains us to take Zoe on walks now. While she seems fine (just a little slower) during the time strolling and sniffing, her recovery time gets longer each day. The veterinarian tells us that we should let her do whatever she wants to do.

And Foster Dog loves to walk.  So we walk.

I’m inclined to reason that perhaps it’s time to slow down and let this part of the daily routine cease.  But Zoe doesn’t think it’s time to stop. She seems to be saying, “God wants us, above all things, to experience true joy through His will for our lives. His will for me is walking. People wave to me. Children hug me. I sniff new smells and meet new dogs. I’m happy.”

So I have to ask, even in the face of great challenge, where does God unleash joy in your life? It’s a question I’m asking every day . . . on our walks.

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