Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: DOG (08/09/18)
By Nancy Sullivan
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Somewhere inside a voice began nudging me: “You need a dog.”
My husband and I had already had a conversation about no more house dogs, a one-sided chat actually. But still the silent voice persisted from some place deep. While searching for my new best friend in the ads, I began reeling in unnecessary spending from my part-time income.
When my secret savings grew to match the posted price for a new munchkin, I phoned my sister early one morning. “Are you ready to do this?” I asked.
“I’m not sure I want to be part of this,” she replied. Joyce has a great respect and affection for her brother-in-law and would have much preferred disappointing me over betraying him. But sisterhood won out and we were on our way.
A few hours later I pulled into our car port. Uh-oh. The man of the house had beaten me home. He and his helper were busy unloading ladders and tools from the day’s labor.
I picked up my tiny hair ball and gently shifted her around to the small of my back. Busted.
“Whatcha got?” my love inquired.
“Nuthin,” I replied sheepishly.
“No. Really. Whatcha got there?” he asked, smiling. By now his young helper was backing up and easing toward his own pickup truck. I was tempted to take my little charge and go with him.
Might as well get this over with. I slowly rotated my hand from my back and produced the little miss who would forever be known as “Candy.” She was a Shih Tzu, a brindle with a little spot of white buried beneath her fuzzy chin. I’m not sure which one of us was trembling the most.
Now, my husband is a gentle giant. But this was one of very few times in our marriage I deliberately went against him and his feelings about anything, much less a dog. Our previous attempts had not ended well. But there was this voice that would not relent.
By now, Bryan was safely stepping into his truck. I guess he didn’t know his boss wasn’t prone to being angry, or at least showing anger. He would have been relieved to see that my husband’s reaction was just a gentle shake of his head, eyes low, and then turning back to his own matters at hand.
Over the next week, every time Candy even slowed on our carpet she was placed “outside.” She became very familiar with that word. One evening, she came and plopped those little buns at my feet and looked up at me.
“Do you want to go outside?” There was that word again. She bopped over to the front door and waited, bushy tail wagging, for me to set her out. Candy’s reluctant co-owner was astonished AND impressed.
“How did you do that?” I grinned and shrugged because I was just as surprised as he, but he would never get to know that.
From that point on, Candy’s new “daddy” claimed his roll admirably. When he went out to the shop or to feed our horses, she was next to him in his truck. My daily companion quickly transitioned to HIS dog the minute he walked in the door. He even nicknamed her “Boogie”.
She would be our Candy/Boogie for almost 18 years until she began slipping away one part at a time. Losing her eyesight, her hearing, her ability to bark, then refusing to eat or drink meant the day would come too quickly when we would have to make the tough decision to do what was best for her.
That voice that could not be denied eighteen years earlier came from Someone who knew I needed a cuddly fur baby to follow me around and snuggle into my lap. Candy certainly fulfilled her purpose --- someone needier than I at that time in my life. She won the hearts of family and friends along the way.
Candy died on Valentine’s Day, a fitting holiday to immortalize our sweet friend with a gentle heart.
“…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Mathew 6:8b NASB
True story. We now love our rescue Shih Tzu’s three and four, but there will never be another Candy.
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