One was given to us as a wedding present, before the wedding. So our married life started with a dog in our family. His name was Rusty. He was a long red haired German Dachshund. We had him for nine years. He was killed when Amy was about 5.
A few years later, when James was 3 we bought him a Dalmatian for his birthday. He loved Dalmatians and so we coughed up $75.00 (that was a lot back then) and bought him a pure-bred puppy. We called her Spots. We're not really creative when it comes to names. We tried to breed her but each time it wouldn't work so we gave up. When she was 9 she got pregnant! We never saw the male dog that must have been hanging around our farm, and we were very worried as to what the puppies would look like. In January of 2001, Spots had her puppies. She must have been with a black lab, because that's what all those little balls of fur resembled. As we had no papers, we just put an add in the paper for free puppies when they were older and within a week they were all gone.
Except the one James decided to keep. She was all black with only tips of white on her tail and her feet. We named her Tipps. That was almost 14 years ago. Last week she joined Amy in heaven. She had been failing for about a year and so she became an inside dog this past winter. And she continued to sleep in the house and come in when it rained or if it was too chilly to be outside. I prayed that she would just die in her sleep. She slept a lot the past couple of months and many times I would look at her in the morning to see if she was still breathing. When I came home from my trip with my sisters, I could tell she had lost a lot of weight and didn't have much longer to live. The first thing I did was to hold her and cry and continue to ask the Lord to take her home. Last Wednesday He chose to do that. But not the way I asked. Not the way I wanted, that I thought was best.
It was around 8:30 in the morning, Bill and James were getting the truck ready for work and Tipps was outside soaking up the sun in the driveway. Emily was leaving for work and backed over her. We knew it was bad. We all held her and cried. We had to make the decision to "put her down." In our family that means that one of the men has to shoot the animal that needs "put down." I'm sure many farm families do the same. Even though Tipps was James' dog, she really had become Bill's dog once James went to college and moved to his own home. Then the last year having Tipps sleep in the house right beside Bill's chair, made for an even closer bond.
James said he would do it.
Why didn't God answer my prayer the way I wanted Him to? I didn't want one of the men to have to shoot her. I didn't even want us to have to make the decision. We had to make the decision to let Amy die! Wasn't that enough for all time? I just wanted God to let Tipps die in her sleep. Was that too much to ask? Why didn't He? I became angry at God and all the grief over Amy's death flooded my soul again for days.
I came upon this poem in an email I got from someone.
He Maketh No Mistake
by A.M. Overton
My Father's way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I'm glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.
My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I'll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way.
Tho' night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break;
I'll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.
There's so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight's far too dim;
But come what may, I'll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.
For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He'll make.
Through all the way, tho' dark to me,
He made not one mistake.
I know that God does not make mistakes. He chose the time and the way for Tipps to die. We did not choose. He did. He knew that Emily was going to back over her. He knew that we would put her down. He knew all of this and He loves us so much. His ways are best.
The next day I was coming in from getting the mail and lamenting over the serious weed situation by my fairy garden in the front. And then my eyes spotted a glimpse of color. What was that? A snapdragon growing in the tangle of weeds! I had not planted a snapdragon there. In fact I had weeded that whole area when I planted my fairy garden and there were no little plants then.
God gave me a glimpse of joy. Of His power and His love.
Four days after Tipps died we became grandparents.
William David was born.
A beautiful, new little one to hold and love.