She just about didn’t make it. And Doc says changes in weather on a dog worn by time can be deadly and now she’s half-hardly hanging on … but still breathing.
And sometimes we can be half-hardly hanging—doing good just to breathe. Sometimes all it takes is just one more thing—one more change. Rejection. Bill. Rude comment. Sick child. Sometimes it’s all we can do to just keep taking that next breath.
Husband found her down by the fence line in a patch of thick grass, in a heap of exhaustion—waiting to die. He’d whistled and hollered, called out her name when he came home from work. Knew something wasn’t right when our Little Ann didn’t greet him—because she always greets him, follows him everywhere like she’s following her best friend.
But not today.
Yeah, some days greeting and following can feel too hard—like work we haven’t an ounce of energy left for. Some days we just need to lie down in a heap of exhaustion. And wait—to be rescued.
I wipe my hands on a dish towel as Shaina Hope runs in with the news… He has scooped up all fifty pounds of her and carried her home. And we kneel there on the porch, hearts hopeful, pulling together wondering if she’ll pull through.
Loading her up is like loading our own selves. Loads of memories in the bed of that Ford as they drive to the clinic. And tears fall easy—because she’s more than a good dog. She’s a part of us all. And dearly loved.
I phone the boys. “You’d better meet Daddy there if you want to see her.” Voice cracks and a murmuring … “Not sure if she’s going to make it…”
Oh please, a little more time, Lord?
Wasn't two shadows ago they saw her at the folk festival, the little pup with her brother now buried. Had it been fourteen years? But I’m not ready to bury her too.
We’d spotted them in the petting zoo that November, couldn’t take our eyes off the pair. Turned out, they’d been abandoned to a Wal-Mart ditch, then found by some kind fellow who got the notion to bring them to the camps of Beaver’s Bend—right where God’s path took us— that same weekend.
Boys pleading, Mama giving Daddy those eyes, grossly outnumbered—he agreed.
Didn’t take long to start fighting the duo. They dug holes under fences, escaped Husband’s wired-up contraptions while we were all getting electrocuted, drug up chewed-up flip flops and Frisbees (and MUCH more), made “acquaintances” with the neighbors. And howled. all. night. long.
But in the end, they stole our hearts and never gave them back. The boys spent many an hour trekking woods and creek beds, camping under moonlight with the hounds. Not sure they’ve snuggled as close to me as they did those dogs.
And now Annie Girl fights to stay with us. And we fight to keep her.
Please God, just a little more time—to love her a little longer, and better.
Husband comes dragging in hours later … Broken. But thankful. The answer is yes—at least for now. “She might come through, Honey. Doc says it is exhaustion. A combination of things really … Age. Heat. Tired heart.”
It’s life heated and hearts exhausted for too long that make entire systems fail. We grow weary in battle’s fumes. And a patch of grass in late afternoon is about all we can hope for.
I'd looked deep, seen it in her eyes there … the way I feel too some days. The way most of the world feels. Many days.
And we collapse into worn-out heaps. And like Husband with Ann, God calls our names, searches until He finds us, scoops us up and carries us through the flames—to the other side of ourselves, cradled in His strong and loving arms.
So we wait when we’re tired, when there’s been an overwhelming change or too much of the same thing, when the heat that normally wouldn’t get to us does because it’s pounded us far too long, when our hearts feel like breaking and we can’t find strength for just one more deed or word or breath.
We wait …
And are rescued.
And last I hear from the veterinarian … Ann’s face is "looking a little perky," she’s "taken a few steps on her own."
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
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