(I’m taking a brief respite from the daily devotionals to pen something more personal.)
Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to our friend (picture above). His name was Biscuit, a rescue dog of six months old that we took ownership of in 2010. I was the last holdout until I finally gave in and said yes. My children were 9, 6, 4, and 4 when he became part of our family.
When I responded to the call to serve as Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, CO, I came out here for three weeks (well me and Biscuit), while my kiddos were finishing up their semester. He was my travelling buddy and roommate while we lived at the local Residence Inn. It was here that we bonded, keeping each other company and helping the days move along more quickly.
For many years, Biscuit would travel with us when he went back east to visit family–that is, until his hips became so stiff that he needed to stay behind the last couple of times. Age has a way of doing that to you. His spirit was willing… But that was it.
He loved it when we were all in the backyard. For instance, when Daniel and I would shoot basketball, there was Biscuit at the far end of the court, chewing on some stick that he found, happy as a lark. When he wasn’t doing that, he was running around exploring. When he would finally, I’d walk up to him. If my hands were by my side, he’d take off. But if I held them out, he would stay and let me hug him–tail gently wagging.
Then he would take off again. We’d play a quick game of tag until he would come up to me and stand on his back legs (when he could) and give me a real, legitimate hug. Was that I smile I saw?
The walks were amazing. He was a natural. Always walking on my right side. When he was younger it was four miles. Then two. Then one. Then around the block until it was too much. The backyard was still good–but in a lower gear.
At night, he would go up the stairs and go into his bed at the base of the closet (needing more help with that basic maneuver as he grew older) only to move out and sleep at the end of the bed on the floor. He’d sleep through the night until daylight. Then, he would shake his body, making a distinct noise from the tags on his collar to let us know he needed to go outside to take care of business and roll around in the grass/snow to get his body moving. Sure, he would have grass all over him, but he was happy and we had brooms, so it worked out juuuuuust fine.
Until one day, he didn’t about four days ago.
First, it was his appetite, then he couldn’t keep anything down. His platelet level bottomed out. No energy. No desire to get up to move. No desire. Then he just began to say, “No.”
As we took him to the vet, it was clear that it was time. He had had enough and we needed to let him go.
My heart wasn’t ready.
My head knew he was.
All of us were there. The 9-6-4-4 year old kids were now 21-18-16-16. He was with them for the majority of their lives. He was family. And we would be with him now. He gave us great memories and would soon become a memory.
As we said our goodbyes with tears and ugly crying abounding, we were all thankful that God gave us such a perfect dog for our family. He took great care of my kids as they took great care of him.
Proverbs 12:10 says, “A righteous person takes care of the needs of his animal.” Biscuit made that an easy chore. Chore? More like a delight. We counted it a gift from God that He gave us one like him.
I went to bed emotionally exhausted. I’ll see his bed, blanket, food and water bowls, treats, food, and leashes and not realize that he’s not coming back… Until I do realize it. I’m sad but glad.
Goodbye, friend! You’re gone but you’ll always be close by.