She waddled up our sidewalk and into our lives just last Saturday. I wanted to keep her but I knew that I couldn't. No way. Ron said in no uncertain terms that he did not want another dog.
"We can't keep up with what we have let alone take on any more responsibilities." All he could remember about having a dog was dog hair everywhere, vet bills, and cleaning up the lawn in the spring after the snow melts, not to mention all the rest of the year through. All I could remember is the unconditional love and devotion. And how much I had prayed for just the right dog to take to work with me every day.
My office is in the basement of a home and my job is managing a program which supports the four young people who live upstairs and who have some pretty special needs. Any dog coming into that home with me would have to be pretty special too. It would have to be calm and easy going - able to deal with unexpected loud noises and odd movements. Able to adapt to 24 different support staff coming and going. Able to sleep under my desk while I worked, and able to stay behind in my office when I went to meetings, and yet a people dog, too, that would be a friend to four pretty special kids. A therapy dog, someone suggested. That's what I needed! But where was I going to get one of those?
I looked into buying a service dog - one that was specially trained to work with children with autism. The $18,000 price tag put me off of that idea pretty quick. I knew God was able, and I knew He knew what my own special needs are, and I knew He knew that Ron did not want another dog. Ever. Period. Final. No more discussion. It was a tall order. It was a dream really... just a dream - but I laid it out before the throne of grace. God COULD do it, I had no doubt of that. But I really didn't know if he WOULD. Only He could no for sure if it was the best thing for all concerned. I learned a long time ago that he knows the desires of our hearts better than we do ourselves (he put them there!) - and he longs to fulfill them.
When my daughter Abby called a couple of weeks ago and said, "You know that dog you wanted for your program? Well, I know someone who has a bulldog - four years old - that he needs to give to a really good home. She's supposed to be really friendly and really good with kids. Would you be interested?"
Interested... Hmmm. Yeah, I was interested. But I didn't know much about bulldogs. I told her to bring her over to meet us and I would think it over. Hope was rising, but I knew there was going to be obstacle after huge obstacle to overcome. I was hoping against hope, but I was hoping.
Abby brought her last Saturday. I told Ron she was coming for a visit and asked him how he felt about it. Boy, was he mad. Well, mad for Ron, that is. He's pretty even tempered and he pretty much lets me do whatever I want - within reason - but this wasn't reasonable. And I knew he was right. It was a pretty heated discussion we had last Friday night.
"Don't worry," I said when all my arguments were exhausted and all of his were maddeningly wise. "I know you're right. I'd really like to have another dog, but not when you feel so strongly against it."
"Well, you know how I feel," he said. "But I'm not going to stand in your way. If you want to get the dog, get the dog. But it's your decision, not mine." I knew it was his way of saying, "I love you more than I don't want another dog."
"No, it's OUR decision," I said. "And we just decided "no"".
And that was that.
I was going to call Abby and tell her not to bring her over after all. But I thought I should at least honor her efforts by keeping my commitment to meet the dog...
So Georgia Peach came over to spend the night on Saturday. I assured Ron that she was going back to Abby's on Sunday afternoon. But you know what happened? He fell head over heels in love with her. As did we all... And tomorrow, when I write a post just about her, I think maybe you'll fall in love with her too.
P.S. I popped up to the hospital with Ron this evening for a short visit with Belinda. She is looking incredibly well. She pulled out a notebook and read a quote to us that she overheard today, so I know she is using this recovery time to gather raw material for when she is able to start writing again. She recounted several stories to us about another patient in her room and laughed and laughed over some of the things she had seen and heard. We couldn't help laughing with her - while at the same time wincing with her, too, as the tenderness in her tummy is still a reality. She's doing really well, though, and the doctor said she may be able to go home by the weekend. All her tubes and IV's are out. She's the miracle patient, that's for sure! :)
Tomorrow: Georgia Peach, Chapter 2.