Saturday, January 13, 2007


I have to admit, dogs are wonderful! They can be stubborn and frustrating sometimes (some more than not), but all-in-all, they are a must have. Take my dogs for example: Saj (pronounced Sage - if you want to know the story behind it, then let me know; it's kind of cheesy--he's the one laying down in the picture, Savannah is sitting up). Saj will be 8 years old this April and he is a Chocolate Lab and Doberman mix. He has the best ears. When they are fully erect (can I say that?) I swear they touch both walls when he's walking down the hallway! And, the man can jump! When I was at UGA my roommates told me that he's part Lab and part deer. You see, right next to our house we had this hill of kudzu (oh how I hate that stuff!) and he and his friend Sky (my roommates black Lab) would go exploring in this thick, ever-growing, mire of kudzu. Just to paint the picture for you, when Saj was standing still and not moving, you couldn't see him. You only knew where he was by the rustling of kudzu. And then bursting forth like a big blue whale off the coast of Alaska, he leaps up, all four paws lifted high above the carpet of kudzu, looks down in mid-air at what he's going to pounce on next, and down he goes to disappear again! He would do this for hours, chasing bees, bugs, varments and such. My roommate and I would just stand and laugh as Saj appeared, then disappeared, re-appeared, then disappeared again. Saj is also very patriotic! What, you say? Oh yeah...he likes our rendition of our Star Spangled Banner...well, at least the first line of it. Instead of, "Oh say can you see...", we sing, "Oh, Saj can you see..." and he loves it. Really it just takes singing "oh Saj" and it gets him going. He barks and howls and starts running through the house. Quite a dog Saj is!

Then, there is Savannah. Savannah was a rescue dog that I adopted during my second year of Vet School. I don't know for sure how old she is but I would put her in the 11-12 year range. She is such a sweet dog and has the softest hair. One of my roommates from Vet School (Leland...I miss that kid) would take her to the nursing homes with his church and she would just soak up all the attention she got there; she loved it. Savannah is also quite the giver as well. She loves to leave me aroma-saturated presents on my kitchen floor. Also, she is Houdini re-incarnated. There is not a fence she can't get out of, and she can find a way to get food off the counter that is pushed to the very back. To the point where I say, "There is no way she can get that off the counter." Oh how I've been wrong on so many occasions. One time, I put a tray of brownies on top of the microwave, that was on top of the counter. Much to my chagrin, when I came home, I found an empty tray and crumbs all over the floor! I have no idea how she did it, she's not that big of a dog. I dunno? I swear one day I came home and found her making brownies! She had opened the cabinet, took out the brownie mix, pre-heated the oven, placed the brownies in the oven and was waiting with eager ears for the timer to go off so she can enjoy this chocolate goodness. I wasn't even was amazing! All kidding aside, she is one of the most resilient dogs though. A year ago this past Thanksgiving, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She eventually had a major surgery where her left cranial lung lobe was removed. Based on her stage of cancer (according to our textbooks), she was given about 4-6 months to live. I was devastated and unsure what to do because of the poor prognosis. Eventually I elected to try chemotherapy even though success rates with chemotherapy and primary lung cancer were pretty small. I did 6 rounds of chemo with her and she did not miss a beat. She only got sick one time during the 18-week protocol. So it's been about 14 months since diagnosis, and she is still going strong. Savannah loves attention. Sometimes I think she does the wrong thing just so she can get some sort of attention from me. If you fall asleep on my sofa (which is highly likely it's so freagin comfy), you may wake up and find Savannah sitting on the floor right in front of your face just staring at you. All you have to do if you find yourself in this predicament is simply reach out and place one hand on her head and fall back asleep. You don't even have to pet her head, just put your hand there and she's content. She just wants to be loved is that so wrong?!

Here's the kicker for me: Dogs are the perfect embodiment of the love of God. You can punish them after they left you a stanky gift, throw them out of your house, hit them, beat them, verbally abuse them and the next time they see you, they jump up and down, wag their tails in sweet delight because you're home and they just want to be by your side, as if nothing ever happened!! You can cuss God, you can run away from Him, you can throw Him out of your house, but His heart for you never changes. He jumps up and down when you return and look His way, He delights in you and rejoices over you with singing (Zeph. 3: 17). His heart skips a beat with just one glance from you (Song of Songs). He loves you! He LOVES you! HE LOVES YOU!! He writes your name on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16) so everytime He looks at His hand (which I have to imagine is a good bit...I don't know why though), He thinks,"Ah, Justin...I am so proud of Him. He has been through so much but My hand has always been on Him. He brings Me such joy when he worships. I delight in the work of His hands. I love him so much...he is my beating heart..." Just insert your own name there and close your eyes and think about what words He is speaking over you. When you open your eyes you may find that he is sitting right in front of you looking at you with a loving smile on His face, wanting you to just extend your hand to Him. You are His beloved, His bride, the apple of His eye!!

Grace and peace

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