“New Mercies I See”

I love my dog Cody.

A little over a year and a half ago my family realized what a gift it would be to have a dog. Our lives had finally gotten to the point where we could actually invest time in an animal, a new family member. We discovered this when I dogsat overnight for a friend at our home. Her puppy brought such peace, joy and childlike happiness to our home. This time last year we began looking for a puppy and when I texted my family the picture of Cody (at 7 weeks old), they loved him and we could not wait to bring him home!! I have this maternal drive that will hopefully one day be focused into a family of my own. Until then, I have my furry son haha!!

Eleventh Hour Rescue made the process so easy. They were very supportive and Cody’s transition home went very smoothly. I am so thankful they exist. They travel and resue animals from kill shelters and then place them in foster homes until they are adopted into their “forever homes.” My little man is from West Virginia.

My dog teaches me many things. The thing I knew I would learn, and was longing for, was how to care for something other than myself. To dedicate myself to another living creature. He has taught me to be a good steward of another life. I bathe him, file his nails, brush his teeth, clean his ears, give him his medicine, make sure he has fresh water, rub his belly when he has a belly ache (he groans, it’s so funny!), snuggle him when he’s cold (he’s usually the little spoon), and many many many other things. When he’s hurt he runs to me. I am able to meet his needs in such a cool way.. and he does the same for me. When you see those stickers “Who rescued who?” Well, they’re not kidding!

One of the things I love about Cody is that he trusts me. He waits for my signal to go up and down the stairs. He waits patiently when I feed him. When he hears something that alarms him, he looks to me and is soothed when he hears me say, “It’s okay.” He has this surprising booming bark when he feels protective of us. He follows me around the house because he knows I will take care of him and give him everything he needs. When I travel he sometimes sleeps outside my door and looks outside waiting for me to come home.

I have learned how to understand his language. I know every stance, how his tail is positioned (thanks to my brother’s observation of his curly “gotta poop tail” LOL), the look in his eyes, his whines and barks. He gets MAD when he’s laughed at. If you say the words “walk” or “treat” he get so excited! He has such a personality and he can’t even speak with human words.

Sometimes I just sit with him and watch him sleep. Other times I may be busy doing things and he shows up and lays on me and forces me to stop with my fast-paced life and take him in. He makes me slow down and enjoy him. He is so beautiful.

Adopting and taking care of an animal is not easy. Discipline is the hardest part, but it really pays off. Honestly there were a few times where I felt in over my head and thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t have done this.. Maybe I can’t do this..” But then the thought of Cody with anyone else freaked me out. I can’t imagine him anywhere else and being taken care of by anyone else. And I thank God that He gave Cody to me. Jesus knew what I needed and what needed to be fostered in my heart, so He sent me a dog.

This may sound silly, but thinking about my relationship with Cody reminds me of my relationship with Jesus. It makes me think about how tenderly Jesus cares for us. We were alone and would surely have died in sin without Him. But he pursued us and adopted us as his own. He meets all of our needs so diligently and reminds us that the most important thing is our relationship with Him. I pray that I could look to Him to lead me and trust in Him like my dog trusts in me, and that I accept his care for me.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”
-Psalm 23 (NIV)

I have learned so much from Cody. I think of him lonely in a West Virginia kill shelter and that he would have been murdered for simply existing. Never having known what it was like to run after a ball, snuggle, being told he was a “good boy” and kissed on his nose. He has lived such a wonderful life already in his past 14 months. God willing, I look forward to the next 10+ years. When I got him, I thought, “Wow, this dog is going to be so important in my life. He will be there when I get married, when I have kids, and it will be hard to lose him one day.” But knowing I was able to give him a long, full, happy life will be so worth it.

Please consider adopting, fostering, donating or even publicizing for Eleventh Hour Rescue.
If you want to check them out, see here: http://www.ehrdogs.org/

I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I have kids..


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