I could (and should) have known that it was too early. Still, I drove to the mall and parked on the almost empty parking lot.
Open at 9.30 am, the sign said. I couldn’t wait that long, because I was on my way to the Bible study. Berating myself, I headed back to the car.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a sand colored puppy came running towards me and hid under my wide skirts.
“Hey? Where did you come from?” I looked around for the owner.
There didn’t seem to be one.
In an impulse I scooped the puppy in my arms and walked to the car.
What next? How was I going to drive with an unleashed, young dog that might panic, endangering myself and others?
While I sat pondering behind the wheel, the puppy with its beautiful brown eyes and black nose looked up at me. Then he lie down in my lap and fell asleep. Driving home, the puppy seemed undisturbed by my constant legs movements.
Due to the surprise I had on my hands, the Bible study had to do without me that morning.
At home, the puppy drank greedily and seemed to be so hungry he didn’t mind eating stale bread.
The plastic shopping basket was a perfect fit, and he stayed put while we drove to the vet.
“He’s around six weeks, and a mixed breed. Something between a lab and a retriever,” the vet said while checking him over. “The owner probably dumped him near the mall, hoping someone would take him.” He sighed. “Not many puppies end up so well like this little one. How do you call him?”
I decided to call him Baruch; the male version of the Hebrew “Bracha”- Blessing.
For months I had longed for a dog, but didn’t tell my husband. My dilemma was that it had to be an animal that was right for our special needs children. How could we find such animal?
The answer to my unspoken prayer was sent to us. For me it was a fact.
But how was I going to tell my husband?
I decided not to phone him, but surprise him in person – with Baruch.
Still in the shopping basket, we first went back to the mall where I bought him a leash and necessary food. Quietly he stayed put and enjoyed the many “oohs” and “Ah, what a sweet puppy” from the people we passed.
At Bill’s office we received the same reactions. Indeed, Baruch looked like a little toy, sweet and cuddly, waiting to be stroked and hugged.
“Where’s Bill?” I asked one of his colleagues heading for the stairs.
“Upstairs, I think.”
“Don’t tell him,” I warned, “I want to surprise him.”
“Bill, in a moment your life will be changed forever!” His colleague’s mysterious remark had made him VERY curious.
My plan of attack had been the right one, for the moment Bill saw Baruch, he was surprised, but also immediately smitten by the little dog.
“But he has to stay outside in the garden, not in the house,” was his only stipulation.
Knowing his tendency to allergies, I agreed, relieved and glad he took it so positive.
“But how about the camping trip?” Bill wanted to know. In two days we were going to take the children up north - a long trip.
“I guess we just have to take him along,” I said.
The children loved the surprise that was waiting for them when they returned home from school. They played in the garden, vying for Baruch’s attention. Their laughs and squeals and obvious merriment were such joy to hear. Baruch loved the attention.
He seemed to have accepted Tiger, our red tom cat, as well. The big cat which also lived in the garden, had adopted us when he was a kitten. Baruch and Tiger were about the same size, and after the first initial careful and suspicious “introductions”, they quickly became buddies.
I didn’t need to have worried how Baruch would behave during the long trip north.
Like on that very first day, the moment we drove away he lie down on my lap and peacefully slept throughout the trip.
On the camping, people smiled when they saw the cute little play-thing with the floppy ears. Someone even offered big money to buy him.
“No way – he’s part of the family!”
Through His amazing grace, God had brought this special dog to us.
Such blessed surprise!
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