I am currently the owner of the most adorable, tan and white Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix. Yep, it’s a dog, and I’m not a dog person. Or rather, I didn’t use to be. I was more of a cat gal, but hadn’t even owned a feline in almost a decade. I mean, who has time to sweep up all that hair?! But I think God gave me this dog to humble me, to show me that I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.
You see, I was one of those people who didn’t understand terms like “fur baby.” I didn’t get what all the fuss was about. I rolled my eyes when people talked like a baby to their pup, and dressing them up? Forget about it. I mean, it’s not like I was an animal hater or something. I just could take them or leave them. And I certainly couldn’t understand people who “loved” their pets. They did know it was “just a dog,” right?!
Yep, that’s what I used to say. Oh, my gosh, it’s just a dog. It’s not a human child, for goodness sake. I think I even got offended over how people could ignore the homeless and support abortion, but get bent out of shape when you left a dog outside.
Point being, I never saw myself really loving a pet. But then Lizzie happened.
Y’all, this dog. This morning I was walking into the kitchen with her to take her outside. I never did anything before coffee, but letting my little doggie outside for her morning constitutional had taken precedence over the past year. As we headed towards the door I spoke to her, with full intention that she understood, and my tone was one of syrupy sweetness. Just before I opened the door she looked up at me with her precious, chocolate eyes, and I couldn’t help but melt at her gaze. It was one of true adoration, and as I looked back at this tiny dog who thought I had hung the moon and stars, I realized I absolutely and totally loved this dog.
It caught me off guard a bit. I mean, I knew she was adorable and my little “cutie, patootie, sweet baby,” but it really hit me at that moment that I held deep affection for this animal. Something I never imagined possible.
As I looked at her tiny, puppy face smiling up at me I felt like God spoke to my heart, “it’s because she loved you first.”
Lizzie was a free, little girl we found on Craigslist, and it was divine appointment the way it all worked out. We had been looking for a small dog for our daughters for about a month, and we’d been coming up empty handed time and time again. Initially, Craigslist had only garnered me sexual propositions and scams instead of a dog. Every shelter we visited only had large breeds on the days we went, and each one we found online that we thought was going to work out, never did. Our daughters were absolutely smitten by a tiny, blue chihuahua we found at a pet store, but were quickly disappointed when the $4,000 price tag made it a resounding no! Our middle child had even decided on a name for that blue, pet store pup. Lizzie.
As we had left the pet store in silent disappointment I had the sudden urge to try Craigslist again. I searched “chihuahua puppy,” and the first listing that popped up in my area was the cutest tan and white girl. I texted the number available, not expecting much in return, and the guy on the other end responded back right away. A soldier being deployed overseas, he just wanted a good home for his dog’s new pups, and he happened to be just down the road from the out-of-the-way pet store we had ventured upon. Within 15 minutes she was ours. We had a 45 minute commute back home, and as we drove along I realized I had not asked him her name.
Imagine my surprise when I texted him one last time asking for her name and he replied back, “we’ve just been calling her Lizzie.”
As I looked lovingly at her this morning it’s that trip back home with her that first night that came to my mind. She had been so frightened. She was so small, and I’d never felt a dog shake so strongly. She shivered from head to toe, and I could feel her tiny heart hammering through her chest. She had been seven months old, at the time, and I remembered empathizing how scary going to a new home must be.
I had taken her in my lap and held her close, whispering reassurances. Finally she had laid her long, thin neck across my arm, and there she surrendered. It was then and there that we bonded. I soothed her, and I became mom. It had grown from there. She decided she loved me the most, and she had spent every day since letting me know just how much. When God had spoken to me about that darn dog in the kitchen this morning, I had realized the significance. There’s that verse in 1 John that says, “we love because he first loved us,” and I chuckled to realize I couldn’t help but love this dog because she loved me so much. She had loved me first.
When I came home from work, Lizzie was the first to run to the door. She was always the most excited. She was always in my lap if sitting and attached to my heels if up, slept at my feet, and I told my husband last week, “I think that dog loves me even more than you do (which was saying a lot).”
I remember when I first became a mother that the Lord would speak so many truths to me through my young children, and especially during such a frazzled season of life, He had spoken His special love for me through those babies. He still does, but I think now He’s added a fur-child as another vessel through which He can reveal new things. Who’d have thought?! He’s shown me to never be so proud that I assume through what medium He may work. That dog has shown me that God can show His love in more ways than I ever imagined. Yep, I stand corrected. I get it now, the whole loving a dog thing, and I’m grateful for the gift He gave our family with this little dog.