June 30, 2012
Tonight I will have to say goodbye to you and give you to a new family. I just wanted to write a little note and tell you how much I love you and how much I will miss you.
I’ll never forget when we first got you 5 years ago. HJ and I had just gotten married and moved to town. She absolutely did not want a dog. But when we were walking into the store that day, we spotted a beat up old pickup truck with a cardboard sign saying, “puppies 4 sale.” Surprisingly, she wanted to stop and see. It was a hot summer day. When we looked into the back of the truck, we saw you and your siblings–all black. They all layed there panting in the heat, but you perked up and put your paws on the truck bed: the first lick you ever gave us. We agreed immediately that we would buy you–for $10 dollars. You were our first child. Later that day we took you down to the river. You skipped along in the tall grass, trying to keep up. You did NOT want to get in the water, you did not want to swim until you were older. As a puppy you got too cold.
Since you were a “rescue” puppy, we quickly realized we needed to take you to the vet. Your ears were infected and you had worms. That turned out to be nothing serious, you are such a healthy dog! As you grew, you easily learned your manners. You know so many tricks, and you were so easy to potty train. You did have a few rebellious moments when you became a teenager, but a little discipline quickly fixed that.
You had such energy as a puppy. I remember that time we went tubing all day down the river and you swam the whole way. That night you were so tired you would not move. Now you tire out much quicker. I’ve noticed that after a strenuous hike you get stiff and have trouble getting up. But don’t worry, I don’t mind picking you up and carrying you outside to go potty when you get stiff. Boy, we have had so many adventures together: hikes in the mountains, hikes to waterfalls, swims in the lakes, hunts in the woods…the list goes on and on. Plus there’s that game of keep-a-way that just you and I play. Do you remember that one time that we were hiking in the winter time and you fell through the ice? I managed to pull you out, although I got soaking wet and cold in the process. Or do you remember that one time you flushed out the bird and I shot it with my 12 gauge? Now you get excited anytime I get my gun out.
Sophie, I love it how you follow me around the house. I love how you lay at my feet and sleep. You spent countless hours at my feet, under my desk, as I typed my thesis for school. When I needed a break from all that studying, you gladly played outside with me. I still think it’s funny how you consider yourself a lap-dog. You often try to get in my lap when I’m sitting down, even though you are 75 pounds!
You’ve slept at the foot of my bed every night for these 5 years. And of course, each night before bed we go through our little bed-time ritual: I pat you on the head and tell you, “This is your bed, sleep like a pup.” Then when HJ and I are in bed and turn the light out the last thing we always say is, “Goodnight Sophie, sleep like a ball of goodness.” Then, each morning when I get up, you get up too.
Sophie, you shed like a mad-dog. Seriously, where does all that hair come from? Although this is my last day with you, I fully expect to find little black hairs here and there for the rest of my life. That’s why we jokingly say that you are omnipresent. For example, one time HJ and I were eating out at a fancy restaurant. During my meal I noticed a coarse black hair on the plate. I knew without a doubt that it was yours. I’m sure I’ll be finding those little black hairs here and there for the rest of my life!
As you know, Sophie, our family went through a huge change 18 months ago, when mom and I brought the baby home from the hospital. To be honest with you, I was unsure how you would handle that. I thought you might have some jealousy now that my affections would be divided. But you adjusted like a champ! Never once have I seen you lose your patience or get aggressive with the baby. You are so gentle with her, almost as if she were your own pup! And I know you would never let anything happen to her. The first couple weeks you would even try to keep the neighbors and friends from getting too close to her. Now you and the baby have such a special friendship. She loves to pet you and climb on you. And you love the extra attention. Do you remember that the first time the baby ever giggled was when we were out on that walk. You picked up a huge log and started chewing on it, and the baby started giggling. How special!
Sophie, you have never seen me cry. In fact, I have not cried in over 5 years. But tonight when I say goodbye to you and give you one last hug, I am going to weep like a baby. Thank you so much for being my friend. Thank you for all the lessons you have taught me–I’ve learned many lessons about my faith in God from you, and that friendship can be had without a single word being spoken. You have given me a glimpse of unfailing love. I know you have not understood what has been going on these past few months as the house has emptied and the furniture has sold. At least we as a family have been together, right? Now I am sad to say that we must part. We simply cannot take you to live with us to Germany. Know that we will miss you every day. Know that every time I get done eating a meal and go to put the plate on the floor, I am going to feel sad since you will not be there to lick it up. Every walk I go on you will be missed. Every night I will get a knot in my throat when I go to pat you goodnight.
I know that you will find happiness in your new home. You will be with the neighbors just down the road. They have a black lab who is exactly your same age. You will be great playmates. The family is quiet and loving, just like us. In fact, you seemed very content there the other week when we gave it a trial run.
Sophie, thank you for the privilege of being your master,
you are forever in my heart,
December 26, 2010
November 1, 2010
I’m still puzzled by my fortune cookie, maybe you can interpret it for me:
I SPENT THE TIME PREPARE THE SONG,
WHILE THE SONG IS NOT BEING SUNG.
When we got home, we made chocolate chip cookies and then watched How to Train your Dragon. The movie was excellent, I thoroughly recommend it!
October 27, 2010
I went on a run last night with Sophie. HJ and I go walking together almost every day, but sometimes it is nice to push yourself a little bit and to just plain sweat. I find running is a good way to clear the mind and pray. Now, there were a few things about last nights run that caused me to pray a little extra harder: (1) It is hunting season and I was running in the woods. Sure it was dark and hunters weren’t supposed to be out, but you never want to assume; (2) It had rained yesterday and there were many puddles; (3) It was very mild, making the possibility that snakes were out and about very real (I was sure hoping that Mark 16:18 is original because I was sure claiming it). But, alas, I got home safe and sound without a single out of the ordinary happening other than some wet running shoes.
September 29, 2010
April 25, 2010
Sophie, my black lab, faithfully held down the fort today while I was gone, as she always does. When I leave, she has no idea where I’m going or when I’ll be back. But one thing she’s sure of: sooner or later, I’ll be home. And when I return home and open the door, there’s always an eager pup with tail wagging and warm greetings. In fact, she usually sits looking out the window so she can see me long before I’m home, while I’m still driving down the road. Then as I pull in the driveway, I can hear inside yelping excitedly as she bounds to greet me at the door.
Tonight as I thought about this I wondered: am I as excited as Sophie about my master’s return? May I keep a weathered eye on his coming, knowing for sure that sooner or later he’ll be back.
March 10, 2010
Last night I got to do the good, husbandly task of checking to see what that noise was. You know, the one you hear in the still, quiet house; the creak of the floor, and then soft “footsteps.” Now, I sleep with a shotgun next to my bed, but I opted for a different “weapon.” So I woke the black lab up (named Sophie), who was sleeping at the foot of the bed. Instantly she seemed to sense that both her owners hearts were beating fast and filled with adrenaline. So, with Sophie on the alert, and the wife in bed, I courageously sent the lab out of the bedroom and into the fray. I figured if there was somebody in the house, or possibly waiting on the other side of the bedroom door, my ferocious “guard” dog would at least startle them, allowing me enough time to come up and pull a half-nelson.
Sophie sniffed through each room, I followed close behind, turning on all the lights. We found nothing, but we still heard “footsteps.” They were coming from under the house, where there’s a sort of crawl space/garage/storage area. I grabbed a flash light, and Sophie and I made our way outside and then under the house. At this point I was 99% sure that the “footsteps” were coming from a cat. Most of our neighbors have 10-20 cats each, and while they’re good at ratting out mice, they’re also uncanny at getting under your house in the wee hours. As soon as I opened the garage door, out bolted a cat, which, to Sophie’s credit, she almost intercepted.
Not to draw too much from this story, but I will close with this. I often hear Christians debating whether or not to defend your family if the house is broken into. Should one turn the cheek in such a situation? Having a dog is an easy solution to this ethical dilemma; it will naturally want to defend you from harm, and it will answer the question for you. It will defend, and you will not even have to question whether or not to grab the gun.
February 24, 2010
My wife and I were browsing in Barnes and Noble the other week. Among the many fascinating books on the shelves, I noticed one entitled something like 10 Life Lessons I Learned from my Dog. The reason it caught my attention is because I have, like nearly every other pet owner, imagined writing just such a book. Think of how easy it would be to write it. All you would have to do is think of 10 things you’ve observed from your pet, tell a cute story about each one, apply it in general to life, and then contact the publisher (oh, and don’t forget the pictures).
If I were to write one about owning Sophie, I would entitle it, “10 things Sophie taught me about Theology,” and these would be some of the chapter headings:
1. Sin is nothing but a stinky trash can (why does a trash offer such an alluring attraction to Sophie?)
2. God will never abandon us (no matter what Sophie ever does, I’ll never get rid of her)
3. His gentleness is my strength (the longer I own Sophie, the more confident she becomes)
4. You don’t have to understand (Sometimes Sophie just can understand why I tell her no, but I have my reasons)
5. Obediance is better than sacrifice
February 19, 2010
I just experienced something for the first time – my first time ever to go on a bike ride in the woods in the dark. I know, crazy, that’s exactly what my wife said. But after a week of being sedentary, both Sophie and I needed an adventure. We must have been a sight, trudging through the woods with flashlights, and all bundled up. But I’m home, safe and sound, and much less stir crazy.
December 26, 2009
Going hiking is one of my all time favorite activities. It’s really convenient to be able to step out my backdoor and walk in the woods right behind the house. There are plenty of woods and trails in Louisburg. I find the fresh air invigorating, the exercise rejuvenating, and the aloneness a good time to think and pray.