Recently, we had a Monday our entire family won’t soon forget. After hearing my wife shout, I lept out of my bed still half asleep. She says, “Help, Boo just got hit by a bus.” I ran as fast as I possibly could to rescue our cocker spaniel who was no match for a school bus. Face to face, I knew things didn’t look too hopeful. I scooped up our beloved furry friend of several years and took him to safety. Within minutes he drew his last breath and that’s when many realities surfaced.
#1 I LOVED THIS DOG. Now, I will quickly admit that I’m not a big time dog lover. I hate dog breath, I hate cleaning up after dogs, and I don’t view dogs as equal with humans. But, as I looked into those eyes one last time, I realized there was an unspoken bond. He always sought to protect us from potential harm. No matter what he was always by my side. He was there when we brought my youngest home from the hospital. He loved the same family I loved. And, deep in my heart I was very grateful for the moments we shared.
#2 MY KIDS LOVED HIM MORE. Nothing hurts more than seeing your kids hurt and cry their eyes out. As we all gathered around Boo’s graveside it was obvious we were burying much more than a family pet. We were saying goodbye to unconditional love, a best friend, and a member of the Crosby family. Written all over their faces was the fact that nothing would ever be quite the same from this point forward. Even though I know time heals all wounds, I knew change was in the air. This would prove itself to be very true as they each struggled to settle down and sleep that night.
#3 HE WILL BE MISSED. Sometimes you think they just cost money, make messes and create extra work. In reality, he provided things in the family that were necessary. In just one day God showed me just how much a dog can mean to a family. Flooding through my mind are countless memories Boo shared with our family. I recall how much He looked after us all. I watched him form an undeniable bond with each of my boys. On more than a few occasions I watched my three year old hug this furry critter to death. I can still recall the day we brought Boo home and how excited the family was about this new family addition.
#4 THERE IS A DOGGY HEAVEN. Nowhere in the Bible does it say an animal has a soul. But, it does make clear that God created every living creature. Why would God create something or someone he doesn’t plan to care for? No, I don’t think an animal has to know Jesus in order to go to Heaven. And, I don’t think any animal has an eternal soul. But, somewhere within me I believe there is a doggy Heaven. That there is a place where there is no more hurt, pain, suffering or goodbyes. A place just the opposite of what Boo or any of us have observed while living on this earth.
#5 HEALING TAKES TIME. Sure, I know we just lost a dog, not a person. And, I know many tougher losses will follow. But, for now it hurts to say goodbye. Most of my grieving is not even over the dog. I grieve for my kids, the changes that will follow and all the trigger moments sure to come. As with any loss, you are reminded that only God knows what tomorrow will bring. You are reminded that what lies in front of you is never guaranteed. And, you’re reminded that healing is never an event, but always a process of moving forward one step at a time.
Well, I can just hear the mixed reviews over this article. The preacher must have lost his mind writing a full article about losing a pet. In ways I can’t explain, God used this dog to speak to my heart. To remind me that life is precious and tomorrow is not promised. To remind me that many things we take for granted today will be seen as priceless blessings tomorrow. Well, scripture does say that confession is the beginning of healing, so I feel better already. To Boo and all the pets that have left us, we will see you later dear friends.
*Pastor Craig Crosby invites you to join him on Sundays 10:30a.m. @ the Colleton Recreation Center (280 Recreation Lane, Walterboro, SC). Refuge Church will “Change The Way You Think About Church.”