I grew up with a farmer’s mentality when it came to animals. We had some pets but they lived outside. They didn’t really feel like part of the family. If you would’ve told me that I’d grow up to call myself a dog mom, I wouldn’t have believed it. Still, here I am, cuddled up with my “furbaby” even as I write this.
My husband and I adopted him from a rescue out of Omaha called Hands, Hearts, and Paws. We named him Maverick. While I loved him from the beginning, I can pinpoint exactly the life event that deepened my bond with him. Just a few weeks after we brought him home, we found out we were expecting our first baby. But only a week and half later, I miscarried. I was curled up on the couch, anxious and worried, when the nurse called to confirm it. I was heartbroken. But there was Maverick. Right beside me. I picked him up and cried into his fur. I remember him trying to lick away my tears. In the midst of my heartache, I couldn’t help but smile a little.
Over the next several weeks, I felt like I was stuck in a big empty pit and I couldn’t claw my way out. Grief. People in my life were supportive but they couldn’t take my pain away and nothing they said made me feel better. My husband was wonderful and tried to comfort me. Friends and family reached out to me and tried to encourage me.
But there was only One who could heal my heart. Only One who had control of this situation. And I wasn’t talking to Him. I was hurting and I couldn’t fathom why this had to happen. I just didn’t know what to say to God so I avoided Him.
Meanwhile, my maternal instincts were on overdrive. I was desperate for something little and cuddly who needed me to love him. And there was Maverick. I wanted to wallow in the dark but there was Maverick, dragging me out for a walk in the sunshine. I wanted my husband to hold me so I’d know it was all going to be OK. There was Maverick, trying to weasel his way in between us to land a kiss on my face.
I wanted to go to bed, curl up in a little ball, and cry. But, there was Maverick, whipping his tail back and forth because he was so excited to see me. Dragging me his toys and whining until I threw them or flipping over on his back and wiggling around until I gave him a belly rub. I didn’t want to laugh at his antics, but I did.
One day, I was reading a book on the couch, and there was Maverick. Curled up beside me. He’s always so close to me, I thought. He never leaves me. Suddenly, these verses popped into my mind.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those whose spirits are crushed.” -Psalm 34:18
“…he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
In my puppy’s nearness, I caught a glimpse of God’s nearness. Yes, his presence reminded me of His presence. Even when I was not seeking Him, He was seeking me. He used whatever means necessary, even a dog, to comfort me in my pain and point me in His direction.
So, with Maverick curled up on my feet, I did what I always need to do when I’m hurting. I picked up my pen and my journal and I “prayer wrote.” I poured out my pain to Him on the page. I asked my aching questions. I told God everything He already knew but I desperately needed to say. All of the hurt didn’t just disappear, but the healing began. Maverick’s nearness reminded me that God was still there, too. Close to me. And He wasn’t leaving.
Fast forward a few months from that moment. I saw another plus sign and my husband and I were dancing in the bathroom. There was Maverick, bewildered at all of the hysteria but loving all of the excitement. He’s now the proud big “furbrother” to our son and watching them play together brings me so much joy. When we rescued him, I had no idea that God was going to use that puppy to bless my life in such a big way. Now, I proudly label myself both “mom” and “dog mom.”