Friday, December 4, 2009

Life is hard - My dog has been given 2-4 weeks to live

LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD
My husband and I found several lumps on our dog (Baby) the other day - they seemed to appear over night. Baby has always been a healthy dog and she's pretty young too. Above is one of my favorite pictures of her and Emilio from earlier this year.

Emilio and I got married in Nov of 2003 and the next year I was bugging him for a dog. For about a month my friend Jaylene and I would pay a visit to the Riverside Pound and look for a dog after we got off of work.
I'd come home each time saying, "I think I found the dog I want".

"We're not home enough to take care of a dog...it wouldn't be fair to the animal." Emilio wisely would respond to me.

After several attempts of trying to coerce him, I decided to go straight to God.

"Lord, since Emilio won't give me a dog...I pray that you will."
I told Emilio what I was praying to the Lord and he just smiled at me and shook his head.

The week after I prayed, Emilio and I were studying Koine Greek at our kitchen table. It was about 11pm at night and we heard rustling in the back yard. I thought it was an opossum -they were drawn to our house since we had a lot of bushes - this was a normal sound that we'd hear late at night.

Emilio walked over to the sliding glass door, "I think there is a pit bull in our back yard!" He yelled.

My heart leaped for joy. You should have seen my face. "How cool!" I thought.

We ran outside together and sure enough there was a stray mangy-looking white dog hiding in the corner of the yard. She found her way in through a missing slat on our fence.

It was drizzling that night and the dog was getting wet...it just broke my heart. I wanted to take it in the house. Emilio tried to get her out of the corner but it was too wet and she started growling. She was afraid of us. I don't blame her. :-)

So to no avail at capturing her, went went back in the house and she spent the night in the back yard. The next morning she was gone.

For the next week or so I saw her roaming around the neighborhood -we lived in a pretty bad part of town in Riverside, CA at the time and so stray dogs were pretty common, but none had made it in our back yard like she did.

Each time I saw her roaming the streets she looked more and more skinny as the days went by.
One time I tried to get close to her with my car and I rolled down my passenger window and said, "Come here you cute little baby....come here baby...I'll take you home with me and take care of you!"

She took one look at me and was off - as fast as lightening.

A couple days later it was a Saturday morning, Emilio was gone and I looked out the sliding glass door and she had made her way back in the yard! But this time it was sunny outside and she was lying on her side soaking up the sun as it was beating down on her little skinny body.

I quickly ran to the kitchen, grabbed some chicken, and prayed, "Lord, I pray that dog won't attack me...I pray that it will like me...and let it not want to leave again."

I slowing approached her and she got up quickly, looked at me and then she crouched down as low to the ground as possible and started creeping towards me. I was kind of afraid of her. I wasn't sure what she was going to do. But I opened my hand and she took the food and feel into my lap.

Emilio came home and couldn't believe she returned. When I asked him what I should name her... he said, "Well, you've been calling her "baby" all of this time...why don't you name her 'Baby'. "

She's been a part of the family ever since and I didn't even have to go to the pound to get her - God brought her to us. :-)



The above video is in our old back yard in California. We probably only had Baby for about a week or so. She's much heavier now. She loves to eat.

I'm reminded of Job when he says "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." God is good when He gives and He is good when He takes away.

We took Baby to the vet on Monday of last week and they ran some tests on the lymph nodes that were swollen and gave her about 2-4 weeks to live. She has Lymphosarcoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). I could hardly believe my ears. We thought we'd have her for many more years. This just came out of the blue and it is a reminder that life is short, isn't it!

Death can sneak up upon us when we least expect it. I've come to realize more and more that this place is not my true home - I can't wait to see the Lord and be in heaven where there is no more pain and suffering. And I can't imagine some of the suffering that many of you have gone through or are going through right now - but God can.

The other day I was doing chores in the house, Baby was in her bed in the front room, and Emilio's bible was on the coffee table. It's funny because I had been walking past it all morning and well into the day and I hadn't even noticed it on the table. But at that moment it was as if it jumped out at me. I was pretty sad about Baby... and I knew the only place I could find comfort was in the Words of Christ. I walked over to the bible and I saw that that it was opened to John 14-16 and my eyes hit these words "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18).

About an hour later one of my dear friends emailed me this:

"Oh...Trish... Job 12:10..."In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." Look forward to this time with the Lord because just when you feel as if you can't even breathe...He'll renew your strength and be more precious than ever. I know you know this but I also want to reassure you that when those times do come, remember, you are not an "orphan," yet the daughter of The King Most High."

By this point, I was a teary mess.

That very same day I went on to the Chandler's blog (this family has been going through a trail way beyond mine) and I read this verse from Lauren Chandler:

For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steady;
he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
Psalm 112: 6 -8

Then on Tuesday, Sue (Ray Comfort's wife) comforted me by sharing what happened the day that they lost their dog:

"One brighter note that came of it though was we left the Vet's at the same time as another lady and her daughter who had just had their big dog put to sleep. We were all crying and Ray handed the lady a Million dollar bill tract to cheer her up and we all ended up laughing and consoling each other. It must have looked funny really. Ray saved the day again."

I hope that if your struggling with something or if you'd had bad news come your way that you'll be encouraged by some of the scriptures that I've mentioned.
I've been mediating on timely resolution:

"Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of
the pains of martyrdom, and of hell."
Jonathan Edwards, Resolution #10
(all of his resolutions are good daily meditations)

When my friend Jaylene heard about Baby (she's a dog lover too) she sent me this:

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:5-8

As I walked out of the vet on Monday afternoon, I had a big lump in my throat but I held back the tears, reached into my handbag, and handed the lady at the counter a gospel tract. She laughed. There was another lady there that wanted one as well. They were both grateful.

It was a bitter sweet moment.

I thank God for bringing me this special dog and I pray that she defies all the bad reports and lives till she 19 yrs old. After all she may want to stick around to keep eating my burnt pizzas. :-)

And if she doesn't, praise be to God for giving us wonderful gifts like the gifts of pets.

"A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel." Prov 12:10

One day everything that I hold dear will be stripped away by death. But I thank God for the good news of the gospel.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." Rev 21:4

If you're reading this, I'm sure you've had some sort of suffering in your life. Isn't it true that the longer we live the more we will experience the loss of loved ones and the loss of our possessions? Things grow old, don't they? That new car isn't so new anymore. Pets grow old and die, people grow old and die. Life is hard.

The Bible gives us the answer for death and how we can have everlasting life. We experience death because Adam transgressed against God in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3). Now, we all have to go through suffering. But who of us hasn't sinned? All we have to do is look at God's law (the 10 Commandments) and see how we measure up. We've all told lies, or perhaps we've stolen or looked with lust. Who of us hasn't done this? The bible says that the soul that sins will surely die (Ezekiel 18:4). "Whosoever commits sin transgress also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). When we have to face God on Judgment Day we'll be guilty of breaking his holy law. But wait! There's Good News!

God Himself made a way for sinners to be forgiven...Listen to this...

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man and was without sin. He suffered and died on the cross and then He rose from the dead, defeating death. You broke the Law and Jesus paid the fine with His precious blood for sinners! Today, here's what to do, confess your sins to God, repent (turn) from your sins, put your trust in Jesus to save you from eternal damnation, and you will pass from death to life. Only through Christ can God forgive you and grant you the gift of everlasting life.

Trust in Him today and death will no longer have a sting and you will have victory in Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:50-58). Thank you for reading this and I hope you've found comfort that will last forever.

20 comments:

Lydia said...

I'm sitting here in Panera Bread crying as I read your post. I'm saving this post to read again when I face the next trial. Praying for you, Emilio, and Baby and sending hugs your way!

Cindy J. said...

I think you're going to make everyone cry.

perdita said...

I'm so sorry, Trish. She's such a cutie-pie - (hugs)

Travis Yates said...

Trish,
I am in tears as I type this. As you know, our dog showed up on our porch many years ago when my wife and I were just married. That dog was sweet and kind to our children (who came along after him) and during the years I worked nights, he would sleep in the bed with my wife and then stay there by my side during the day. He was so loyal. About a year ago, we unexpectedly lost him to cancer. Before that, I never understood why folks mourned over animals and since that day, I never look at animals the same nor will I take God's creatures for granted ever again. You were so kind to my family when we had this loss and my family is heartbroken over this news. Baby is so fortunate to have found you and you will be in our prayers.

stranger.strange.land said...

I understand Trish. I understand.
For me it was a wonderful cat-friend named "Mrs. M."

(Excuse me. My glasses need a windshield wiper) Bye.

Craig

ExPatMatt said...

Trish,

I'm very sorry to hear the news regarding your dog. We have a 1 year-old Rottie and my family has always had dogs, so I know the bond that can and does form between man and his best friend.

I'm glad that you got to have time with this dog (even more so for the dog - she might not have lasted at all if you hadn't taken her in) while you could and I'm sure you'll make the most of the remaining time you have together (hopefully longer than the vets predict).

Kind Regards,

Matt

Sarah said...

Trish,
I'm sorry to hear about Baby. My family had to put to sleep our dog, Viktor, five or so years ago. We had him for 16 years and he was just such a part of our family. I still miss him. I understand what you are feeling and will pray for you and Emilio as you go through this time.

Sarah

dede said...

emilio & trish,

i love animals sooooo much. all my pets have been a blessing.

everyone of those pets that i've lost was just soooooo difficult. my heart ached for days, even beyond that. but, God says in his Word...Psalm 30:5b ...weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning. He is true to be your Comfort.

blessings,

Chipper said...

Trish,

I have a lump in my throat as I'm typing. I'll be praying for a recovery for Baby, but ultimately that God's will be done and that if she does die He'd bless you with a really awesome story like Ray and Sue. Maybe you will be able to share the Gospel with someone that you would have only met through this event with Baby.

I'm praying for you guys!


Jessica

Sandra said...

Trish: I'm so sorry to hear about Baby. I know how indescribably close the bond can be with our pets, and I can testify that when I went through a similarly sorrowful time, I was so terribly pained over the loss of my friend, Einstein (17, but was healthy and frisky until coming down with a sudden illness that couldn't be healed), but I asked God to use that sorrow for His work, so that it wouldn't be wasted. I know that the loss of a pet can't be compared to the loss of a person, but God used that sorrow in my life in several ways. First of all, I couldn't help but think that it must be something like the experience that an unsaved person goes through in losing a loved one, since they have no sure hope of seeing that person again -- much like the finality of saying "good bye" to a loved pet. Then, in the next week, I was on travel and sat next to a woman who was traveling south to bury her mother. She was Jewish, and my sorrow made me more sensitive to her sorrow, and I got to talk to her about our Savior. After returning from that trip, I got matched w/ a recent widow in a women's Bible study -- a woman who I'd not previously known -- and I remember crying with her over the phone as she talked about how much she missed her husband, and how it was so shocking to find herself without him. Again, God used my broken heart over missing my pet to make me more able to give words of comfort. And, all through, I knew that it was God answering my prayer that the sorrow not be wasted, but that it be given to Him to use for His work. Again, I know a pet can't compare with a person, but God used my love and sorrow for my pet to minister to others in their sorrow. And I know that He is sufficient for whatever you've been called to. I'm very sorry for Baby's difficulty, and I'll remember you in prayer as you go through whatever path is ahead.

Debunkey Monkey said...

Trish, words cannot express my heartfelt sympathy over the news of Baby. Pit bulls are some of the most loving and appreciative dogs out there. I owned a pit bull for about a week (long story), but she was precious.

All of my pets met an early demise. Our family's last dog had to be put down because he bit my friend. I have had 3 cats run over by cars. Another cat died from cancer. My mom's cat just died from a failing heart. I keep my current cat indoors at all times, and luckily, she doesn't try to get out like the other cats I've owned.

My advice would to spend every waking moment with Baby so both you and Baby are comforted in Baby's last days. Nothing feels worse than regret after losing a pet.

I'm sure Baby loves you and is very lucky to have such a caring and generous owner.

PS: I went to college at UC Riverside. I know how crummy and trashy some of those neighborhoods can be.

Fish with Trish said...

Thanks gang for all your comments. You each are special to me...and you'll be happy to know that Baby is doing well. She had her first chemo treatment on the 1st of this month. God has provided a vet that started coming to our church about 2 months ago (the timing was perfect) and he is treating her like his own dog. She's drinking water and eating like crazy - I hope that's a good sign. You can see a pic of her from the other night on my website (FishWithTrish.com) she has a bog red bow on (don't think she's excited about it though). I'm trying to make the most out of the Christmas season with her since it might be her last.

Marianne said...

Hi Trish, Jesus said that not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father. God even has a perfect will for animals so I remind myself of that evey time a pet of mine dies. It is such a struggle for me when that happens. I love them all so much. They are my "babies"! My heart breaks but I have to go on and help another one as I trust my pain to Jesus who has said he is always with me.

God is bigger than Baby's cancer so I will pray for him everyday.
Send Baby my love!

Angel said...

I can barely type through my tears, but I wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family (and of course that includes Baby!).

Pets are so precious and such a wonderful gift from God. I have lost a few through the years and still miss them.

Fish with Trish said...

New update:
As of today, we've had her on chemo for about 2 weeks and the
lymph nodes have grown back (which isn't a good sign)
I just got off the phone with the vet and he said if we stop all
treatments we'll have 1 quality week with her.

Mark Sohmer said...

Trish,

I can't tell you what an amazing act of providence this blog post is.

First off, sadly, I hardly ever get to read your blog anymore because my work schedule changed and I have much less time online. :(

Second, my wife and kids and I had to bury two 12-week-old kittens this week. It's been a very tough week in our home. These two kittens were so sweet, so cute, so fun. They were our family Christmas present, and they both died on this past Monday night due to an accident. It's been a rough time to say the least. Everyone from my 4-year-old daughter, to the 36-year-old daddy have been struggling.

So your blog post has ministered to me greatly, and for that I thank God.

I know our pets aren't people, but they have a way of grabbing your heart anyway, and it's hard when they aren't well.

Your blog post reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (and really the whole chapter):

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

God bless you and Emilio and Baby Sue as well. You're in our prayers.

The Sohmer Family

Fish with Trish said...

"We need bruising so that reeds may know themselves to be reeds, and not oaks." Puritan Richard Sibbes

Logic Lad said...

sorry to read about your dog, such things are always sad.

TAR said...

You make me cry Trish.

Unless you have lost a beloved pet it sounds shallow to morn a dog..

We lost our pug 1 1/2 years ago..a day does not pass that my heart does not remember him..

I will pray for your dog (no that is not silly) God cares for all his creation, even barking ones..

I believe I will see my Casey again, after all he was a perfect and obedient creation..

He will lick my face and I will rejoice

Fish With Trish said...

Baby has been sick lately would appreciate all the prayers of my dear friends.

Trish