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Baby's Story
by Carolyn Reynolds
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 It was May 1, 2006. I drove home from work at 5:30am dreading what I would find. I know the Lord spoke to me that night about 2am with a single word...'Baby'...and I prayed. I had left my 15 year old besenji/rat terrier mix the night before covered with a blanket and laying on a heating pad in my parents old bedroom. She had been going downhill for awhile now and I knew her time was close if we did not get the divine intervention I was praying for. I know 15 years is a good life span for a dog but the timing couldn't be worse. These last few years her face had turned very gray and she was no longer the vibrant companion she had always been, especially in these last few week.
 I had never been to this place with a beloved pet before. Maybe, for Baby's sake, I should have taken her to the vet for the easier way out. The very thought of killing my friend was more than I could consider. All I could find in my heart to do was pray and hope. I had no doubt my Heavenly Father gave her to me and I knew He cared what was presently happening. I had prayed many many times for her in her life time and now I was praying for what very well could be my last plea for her. Without this miracle, one day soon, it would be goodbye forever. Troy, my human best friend and God's young warrior had died in 1998. My bond with Baby over the years had made the past 8 years of loneliness bearable. My mom had just died and dad 5 wks later. Dear God..now the one who was always there through it all is leaving me too.
 As I drove those long 12 miles home that morning I was reliving my departure the night before. I had gently taken her by the snout (something I had never done) and placed the sweetest kiss on her we had ever experienced. I could sense the presence of the loving God who had put her in my life those many years ago. It was always that way for us. This God of the living and the dead was ever present when no one else was. I knew He knew the last link to my past was slipping from the grasp that my aching heart had on her. He came in His compassion to stand with me as I was forced to deal with this part of me that was breaking away as I held on. His presence was to be another gift in a future day when I was able think beyond my desperate hope for more time.
 I was torn the day before about having to work that night and tried desperately with so little sleep, to get replaced. I had always believed nothing should die alone. But pets are not considered family. Because I worked in a care facility with little 'night' help & supervisors that didn't care to understand, the threat of losing my job loomed if I refused to comply. I'm an intercessor in the Body of Christ and am very familiar with the hordes of hell and how they fight anything heaven does in our lives. I knew who was fighting us and anything God would do in His love. Everything in me needed to stay by her side but life dictates the need of a job and hell made sure misunderstandings were being used to harden the hearts of those in charge. I did everything I could to ensure she was in need of nothing in the night while I was gone. Her temperature had been too low, she hadn't been eating and she could only wobble when she walked. To add to my worries my
 house was too cold for her because of my financial challenges so I set up a space heater for her. With great heaviness of heart I tried to think of everything and as we shared that last kiss I told her to wait for me in heaven.
 The Lord had put this sweet little clown pup with her coat of many colors in my life when it seemed no one had a kind word to say. Even what little family I had here were being so critical. I knew they didn't understand or think what was influencing them but life was so hard when I was trying my best to learn how to walk as Jesus walked as the Bible teaches. The more I was criticized the more I withdrew. It's interesting to me that prior to the time the Lord put this spotted beauty in my life I had watched a movie in which a young girl was in a very strict school. In this movie her dad showed up with a puppy for her as she sat rigid with row after row of others all dressed alike. I realize in retrospect that having Baby in my life caused me to relax and understand my Lord's unbridled love for us. I realized that my Christianity wasn't about rules, although they are important, but about love. This furry gift from Him, along with my new human best friend
 who owned her father, brought unbelievable freedom and so much joy and love into my life.
 My entire life had always been so serious and about survival but with Baby and my human best friend and spiritual son, Troy, I had learned to laugh. We had been through so much together in these last years. Many times I had shed tears into that mottled coat. When I lost those I loved she was there..familiar..steady..willing to soak up my tears. She always loved me and was always there when I needed love. But for me as a christian, God was intensely involved in that mix. I cannot know the many prayer-filled & thoughtful miles we walked together in those years. Now she was leaving and with her went what was left of our lives when I had learned to laugh and know I was loved.
 I was afraid to walk through that door. I raced home fearing..hoping it wasn't the time. Please God, please! But I found her awkwardly sprawled out in front of the bedroom door. She was gone. I don't know why but I screamed no! no! no! over and over as though I hadn't spoken those now prophetic words to her as we parted the night before,.. to "wait for me in heaven." On my knees I held her in my arms in that horrible moment, as she lay on a cold urine-soaked linoleum floor in this dark, empty house that not too long before was full of life with my parents and our pets. I was screaming and crying into that beautiful fur again for what seemed like twenty minutes. Then, with quiet resolve, I laid her on the old kitchen counter and bathed and dried that lovely coat one more time. I laid her out on an old army cot in the kitchen and called one that knew about the loss of an animal friend and understood.

It is a hard fact to admit but it took me five days to be able to bury her. The old house had an enclosed porch that was very cool so that presented no real problem. I would go out from time to time and stroke that lovely coat as I stayed before the Lord in prayer still hoping for a miracle and afraid to let go. I simply could not seem to face how life would be without her home waiting for my returns. She was all I had left. I finally was able to put her in the ground, more out of necessity than acceptance and covered with my keepsake blanket my sister had crocheted for me of many colors. I thought that so fitting.
 Shortly after Baby's burial I had to move and the old house was burned down. It had lived out its years too. I believe the outcome of my five days before the Lord after her death gave me the grace to refuse to feel sorrow for her when sadness would try to come. I determined to thank my God for the 15 years He gave me with her. After all, she was His instrument, sent to play His music of love and laughter in a couple of lives full of starkness. The sadness and the intensity of missing her companionship would lift each time I would thank Him..although it would come back periodically. After some months had passed, but when the need for her companionship would be so strong, I would search the internet and I would question if I was trying to replace her. I knew that would be so unfair for another dog to try to fill her paw prints in my heart. Twice I wrote down a phone number but only followed up on the last one.
 It happened when I was experiencing again the loss of Baby and was thanking the Lord for my precious time with her when an inner voice reminded me of the phone number I had copied down during the last search. I had actually forgotten I had wrote a number down since I would end a search not sure if I should be looking for another. There were columns after columns of pictures on petfinder but the one I copied had no photo. Just a line saying: female rat terrier/healer mix, approximately 2 1/2 years old. Surprisingly, I did call the number when I located it and the rescuer said she thought she had posted her picture. She assured me she would send me her picture right away and asked for my email address.
 I had taken care of some peoples animals for a few years and was at their house the day the photo was to arrive. I didn't have a computer of my own & because of the holidays the library was closed so I reluctantly asked if I could possibly use theirs to check my mail. They gave the permission so I proceeded with controlled anticipation. I typed in the needed information and waited as the photo materialized. And there she was. If ever I was given a gift of wonder this was it. She looked so much like my Baby. The same tricolored face. The same mottled coat. I knew my Lord had done it again! Tears flowed as I sat there enveloped in wonderment. I was suddenly remembering how I had talked to my God in this holiday season. I told Him how much I loved Christmas. I explained to Him how awful Christmas had been since my Troy had left (as though He didn't already know how I felt) and even though I knew Christmas was about Him could He help me? It was Christmas Eve when I laid eyes on this precious little beauty. He heard my hearts cry! I'm convinced at that moment all of Heaven was shouting to me...'Merry Christmas'!!!
 I waited to pick her up from a town north of me until I had a few days off in a row so as not to leave her alone until we really knew each other. I was so silly as to get my hair done before picking her up.  (I wanted a picture of the two of us on our meeting day..which sadly didn't turn out. Through all the depression I had gained too much weight).
 The terrible loss of my first Baby has never been felt again. Baby 2 slept in my arms for the first three nights. She never moved. We were bonded. She would never wander again which was the reason to be at a rescue where I found her. And by the way, she was only 7 months old according to my vet. She was born the very month my Baby left!
 I took her to puppy class right away and never did figure out if she knew this stuff or was just a smart little girl. She loves her tennis balls and is quite obsessed with play time, which helps this grama to keep moving.  And wouldn't you know it..a clown, just like her namesake. She has filled my life like none of my other beloved pets are able...just like her namesake! When I come home the house doesn't echo with emptiness anymore because my Baby is gone to her creator. He has created another.. just for me. I would never have thought that was even possible. She is different than her namesake in significant ways...a docked tail, very stand up ears, loves toys and is much daintier. But she's got the same creator who loves me so much that He sent me another furry friend to make the harshness of life alittle more fun.

"You make the place where morning and evening have birth to shout for joy,"
                     Psalms 65:8b



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