Dogs are God’s greatest earthly gifts to mankind. They teach us so much about love, loyalty, forgiveness, and even the ability to accept life as it comes.
When we first adopted Calley, a West Highland White Terrier, she was only eight weeks old. It wasn’t long before her personality began to emerge. When she wanted to play ball and I was sitting in my lounge chair watching TV and not paying attention to her, she would jump up into my lap and begin licking me. After I played with her then for awhile, she would get tired. She’d leave the ball on the floor and jump up on my lap again and begin licking me. I soon learned that this was her way of saying “please” and “thank you”. I never thought a dog could be so polite, yet she displayed these feelings so often that it became obvious to me.
We had a good life together. She would follow me wherever I went. When I stood talking to someone, she wanted me to bring her up to our level and wanted to be held. When I sat, she was either next to me or in my lap. When I slept, she was with me in bed – sometimes under the covers, and other times on top of the covers.
Then one day she was chasing a squirrel and tore her ACL ligament, and had to have a knee operation. She was twelve years old by then, and soon after developed diabetes. We fed her diet food, and gave her the insulin shots morning and evening. I took her for walks in the park at least once a day to get her exercise, but her health continued to fail. She finally lost most of her sight and most of her hearing. She had lost weight, couldn’t play and slept most of the time. I finally realized that I was being selfish, not wanting to lose her and wanting to keep her with me. I knew that her life now was only a burden to her without any joy.
One early morning I took her to the vet to be put to sleep. I still felt guilty, even though I knew that it was the right thing to do. I felt that I had failed her. I had failed to keep her alive, even though I had tried everything and done everything possible to keep her healthy.
The vet came in and assured me that I was doing the right thing. He gave her a shot and said that he would be back shortly, after I had said my goodbyes. I held her on the table. I kissed her and petted her. I told her how beautiful she was, how perfect she was, and how much I loved her. She lifted her head and shook it. I realized the shot was taking affect. She reached over and licked my hand and wrist 3 or 4 times, and then she lay her head down. And it was over. She had given me her final thank you and said goodbye. That was seven months ago.
Thank you. No, thank you, Calley. You gave me so much more than I could give you. You came into my life when I needed love and support more than ever before, and you loved me. I thank God that He sent you to me. Through you God taught me about unconditional love, and the depth that love can be, and I look forward to holding you in my arms again when we’re both with God. You were God’s gift to me, and now you’ve returned to Him and waiting for me. Thank you Father, and thank you Calley. It was great. So great, I can’t seem to get over losing you. But I know that I will always love you – feeling our love, as I feel the pain. That’s life. One can’t appreciate the good if they have never experienced the pain. You taught me that too, Calley. Yes, Calley, you’re a good girl, and daddy still loves you.
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