Gift of God - an Angel with Fur
In February of 2005 a gift of God came to live in our house. Her name was Godiva (meaning "gift of God"). She was a magnificent chocolate lab with fantastic brown hair the shade of which was the beautiful progeny of the delightful marriage of dark and milk chocolate. Impossibly, her disposition was even more wonderful. I have had the joy of being around dogs my entire life, and I can say without equivocation that Godiva was the best of all that it means to be a dog and more. She truly was a gift of God.
To say that Jennifer, Allison and I were diligent about selecting a dog to become a part of our family would be a gross understatement. We had been through a lot together in seven years as a family of three. We knew that we couldn't just invite any dog to join in this family. No, if we were going to add one to our number, it would have to be just the right one. In an effort to find just the right dog, Allison and I developed a ritual of going to our local pet store every Saturday morning to see the dogs who were eligible for adoption from ARPO (Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership). Each week there were playful puppies, silly mutts, bashful canines, and big pooches. Week after week we would go to see if there were any in particular that seemed to fit right in to our family.
One week in particular, we met this amazing dog named Fred. The image that just popped into your head for this dog when you read that last statement is likely 100% accurate. Fred was one fun and fantastically odd being with big floppy ears, gangly legs, and feet that somehow seemed outside of his control. He was the canine version of the eleven year old boy getting ready to go through a growth spurt. Because of his awkward demeanor and fun personality, we fell in love with Fred. But not wanting to jump into a life transforming commitment on the spot (I told you that we took this venture seriously), we went home to think about Fred and to tell Jennifer all about him.
The more I thought about this beast, the more convinced I became that this was definitely the dog for us. I was daydreaming about romping in the park as a family during the day and snuggling on the couch together in the evening.
The great people from ARPO were supposed to return to the pet store on Sunday, and the three of us decided to go back. I was convinced that after Jennifer met Fred we were going to sign the papers and welcome him into our family. I was extatic. We were getting a dog! Yes, I know I was 37, and it was ridiculous to be that excited about getting a dog. But...
WE WERE GETTING A DOG!
After church on Sunday, we went home and changed our clothes to go adopt our dog. We walked in to the chaos of adoption day. There were dogs everywhere. There were big dogs and little dogs. There were red dogs and blue dogs. Okay, maybe not. But there were a lot of dogs. As I scanned through the wet noses, drooling faces, and wagging tails, I saw him. Fred! Without hesitation Allison and I went over to him and bent down to say hello. This was going to be great! What a match. I just knew that we were perfect for one another.
I looked to my right. And there they were. Jennifer was sitting on the floor in the midst of the madness with a 60 pound chocolate lab sound asleep on her lap. As I was petting Fred, I noticed the look of contentment on both Jennifer's and Godiva's faces and said, "We are going to get her, aren't we?" And with a simple nod and smile the deal was sealed and our lives were forever changed. It wasn't long until Godiva came to share our life and our home, and along the way she stole our hearts. She was the perfect match. She had chosen us, and we are thankful.
We said goodbye to this sweet puppy this week after over ten years together. Our hearts are heavy, but we are grateful to have been allowed to share life with Godiva, gift of God.
There will be a few more posts about Godiva coming in the days and weeks ahead. Hope the stories remind you of the special angels with fur that you have had in your life.