The wedding was beautiful. The flowers, gorgeous. The decorations, stunning. The bride, radiant. I was exhausted.
I’d finished five bouquets for the attendants, seven table arrangements, eight pew holders, and I’d decorated fourteen tables. After dinner I was ready to go home.
When I arrived, my mom’s caregiver mentioned that my dog wouldn’t come in from outside. That was strange. He was not an outside dog. I found my twelve-year-old standard poodle barely standing by our fence. We coaxed him in, but I knew something was wrong.
It was the weekend, so I spoke with an emergency veterinary to describe the symptoms.
“It sounds like a twisted stomach.” I thought as much. What should I do?
“Only surgery will help. Or it might be too late.”
“What if I just want to leave him home and make him comfortable?”
“Better to bring him in and get him checked. The best thing would be to put him down.”
My 20-year-old-son, Micah loaded him into the car. I gathered my purse. As we pulled into the animal hospital, a man slightly older than me exited, tears creasing his face.
They took Esau into a back room while we waited in an exam room. Decisions had to be made, money needed to be paid. Micah put his arm around me while I sobbed. My sleeve got full, so I crossed the room and grabbed a handful of tissues.
I remembered when Micah and I first saw Esau. He was a creamy white, fluffy thing that followed Micah everywhere. It was Micah’s eight-year-old birthday present. Now he would be with me when Esau died. I touched Micah’s hand.
Four years ago, I put down my black standard poodle Jacob. I sobbed then, too. Because of working full time, caregiving for my handicapped parents, parenting two teens and trying to keep my home together and my marriage good, I hadn’t paid much attention to my dogs. His death was a turning point for me.
I took more time with my double-amputee-father and was kinder to him. He died eight months later.
I wondered how long my 90-year-old mother would be with us. She loved Esau more than me. I cried harder at the thought of telling her.
They brought Esau to us and we said our good-byes. We petted him and I whispered in his ear that he was a faithful friend, a good dog, and we’d miss him. And then he died.
It overwhelmed me. But it doesn’t overwhelm God. Death and life are all from Him. He gives. He takes away. But His blessings are indescribable.
I sang about Him in worship on Sunday, and I was encouraged. He is the One who gives me hope. He is the One Who died and rose and conquered death for me.
I think I’ll wait to get another puppy. But I will.