Last fall, a tragic event happened at my house.
But first, let me back up…
Ten years ago, my husband and I owned a dog training and boarding facility. One day, a lady came in with a cute small brown dog. She asked if we could help find him a home. His name was Auggie, and he was 4 months old.
I took his picture and created a flyer so people coming to the facility would see it.
When it came time to put the dogs into their kennels for the night, I looked at little Auggie, and my husband said what I was thinking, “He’s so little, we should take him home overnight.”
So we did, and he got along great with our other three small dogs. And when I sat down in my recliner to relax, he jumped into my lap and put his front paws around my neck, and hugged me! He stayed in that position and drifted off to sleep. With him asleep on my shoulder, I was reminded of my daughters when they were babies.
I was touched by his affection
It was the first time I’d been hugged by a dog, but it wasn’t the last. During that weekend, Auggie jumped into my lap at various moments and hugged me. He also rubbed his cheek against mine. By the time Monday rolled around, I’d made my decision.
I told my husband, “He’s not going back. He’s mine now.” And I went to the facility and tore down all the flyers I’d posted on Friday. There was no way I could give him up now. He had chosen me with his sweet affectionate hugs!
Fast forward to last fall…
There’s no easy way to say this, but he died suddenly one day in the living room.
I was shocked and heartbroken. Although I had three other dogs, Auggie was special because he chose me. Every day that he lived with us, he reinforced that choice over and over with his sweet hugs and face rubs. I still miss him every single day.
I was his and he was mine. It was a special relationship.
Today, I realized that this is also the kind of relationship that God wants to have with us.
If I begin to “worship” other gods like power, prestige, or money, or long for a different and “better” life, I am dishonoring God, the one who chose me as Auggie chose me. If I am unhappy with some turn of events, I am distancing myself from God, the one who chose me as Auggie did.
God chose me, how could I not choose him back?
One evening, not long ago, I dozed off in the recliner and Auggie jumped into my lap and hugged me again, playfully rubbing his cheek against mine. He was real. I felt his weight on my lap. I felt his soft fur. And then he jumped off my lap and I was awake again. And he was gone again.
But it felt real.
Do dogs go to heaven? Are they allowed one last visit here on earth with their special human?
I don’t know.
But I do know that God chose me. And someday I will see Him face to face. And that is amazing.
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“We love because He first loved us.”1 John, 4:29 NIV