Only a few days after we brought home our puppy Max he got sick from parvovirus (similar to serious stomach flu), which, according to WikiPedia, kills over 90% of dogs if left untreated. It was tough to watch. I stayed up with him at night, helped him outside, and cleaned up his little puppy barf.
After a few days of not being able to keep even water down, I understood if we didn’t get some IV fluids in him he’d be a goner. So off we went to the vet (15 years later he still hates riding in the car). Tests confirmed parvovirus. Yuck.
It was a few days later the doc called and said they could find no white blood cells in his body. None. Zero. Zilch. Yucker.
Then they called and said there was nothing more they could do for him. He’d either make it or … Yuckest.
When he was in the hospital, I’d go and visit him after work. He’d already lost about 40% of his body weight, and his skin sort of drooped down. Nevertheless, when he saw me walk in the room he immediately perked up and vigorously wagged his tail — images which I’ll never forget.
He and I bonded in under a week — and most of that he was sick.
A week later the doc called and said he chewed through his IV tube, so they knew he was okay to go home.
One more thing you should know: when a dog gets an IV, they wrap the leg up in what amounts to a cast, so he had to hobble around. To this day, he still works over that paw.
Due to all we’ve been through, the dog and I are quite close. He’s my dog.
Flash-forward 15 years, and he hasn’t been feeling good lately. From tossing his lunch, to not being able to walk very well, he’s getting old (he’s got knee problems, just like me!).
During his last bout with inability to move his legs (a condition he’s recovered from), I could tell by his little dog face he was quite scared. He had no idea why he couldn’t walk anymore, and it obviously terrified him.
I’ll never forget that image either.
There I was again, helping him to bed, keeping him with me on the couch, and wrapping him in blankets.
The big problem I faced — how to tell him we’d look after him? How could I tell him it appeared to be arthritis, and the meds would take some time to work? There was no way to communicate that to the dog.
That’s when the Lord spoke and said: You’re the dog.
The gulf I experienced communicating with my dog is a tiny fraction of the problem God has communicating with us.
When we’re in pain and suffering, we thrash around with a terrified look on our face, chew out the IV, and snarl when help arrives. Perhaps because we don’t understand what’s going on, we choose fear instead of trust.
Maybe that’s why this verse exists:
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46)
And that, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story.