It's funny how things happen. Madison's grade had a cute little school music program that they put on Tuesday, and I walked in the auditorium super excited to find two seats next to Justin and Laurie - the girls' cottage house parents at the Baptist Home. Not only have they devoted themselves to ministering to these amazing girls, but they are really hilarious and awesome people to hang out with!
As we waited for the production to begin, a lady sitting in front of me leaned back and asked what dogs I had up for adoption now, and I mentioned this sweet girl - a German Shepherd puppy that I snagged from our city pound about a month ago. She was to be euthanized the next day.. and my love for the breed made me impulsively take her home.
Laurie turned to me later and asked about the puppy, and said that they'd talked a bit about getting a dog, specifically a German Shepherd. Inside I lit right up! I have had a few people ask about adopting this girl, but none could provide the home a German Shepherd typically needs. (SUPER active, very structured, very disciplined, and very committed.) When you take all of those things and wrap them up into a family - you get the girls' cottage. I knew they would be perfect!
They came to the house that afternoon to meet her. They quickly fell in love, and by the next morning they picked her up, took her to the vet, and that was that! Her new name is Bella, and I am thrilled to know the pure joy she will bring to so many children. "A" and "E" were already in love with her from being over here... I can't wait to hear how they all reacted when they saw her as they got off of the bus after school!
Sometimes people don't really get why we do dog rescue. Why spend the time, the money, the energy on dogs? They're just dogs. Yes, they are. But this is why we do this. Not for the dogs, for the people's lives that these dogs touch once adopted.
Some people seek out our foster dogs simply because they want a dog. Once I figure out what type of lifestyle they have, I have gotten pretty darn good at matching dogs with their perfect people. When a great match is made, it's joy. It's love that some people have never felt from another human that they feel from their pet. It's loneliness healed. It's recovery from illnesses made quicker... easier. Children that are feeling lost in this world find comfort and understanding in the big brown eyes of the dog that loyaly sits at their feet as they cry. That licks their tears away and cuddles on the couch. It's a reason to get outside and become active. It's a way to teach responcibility and understanding to children. I guess they're not really just dogs to me. They are a gift from God to us. They are our helpers here.
To see Bella (who was Stormy while she lived with us) go from the pound, to being rescued and fostered, to now going to a group home for children that are being fostered, and pay it all forward... it just makes it all worth it. It reminds me of why we do this when others question our motives. Her job in this world is likely to be a healer, to be possibly the only one to bring a hurt child out of her shell. God uses his creatures for amazing things, and he allows us to watch his glory shine even through the eyes of just a dog.
When my own dad died (5 months ago), I found the most theraputic thing to be running with my own rescue dog. My own German Shepherd (Ava) that I once saved - has since then payed it back to me a million times over. She can't talk, she can't understand what I say, but somehow she understands when I need a quiet nuzzle, her head on my knee, or for her to simply keep up with me as I run off my grief, my stress, my day.
I've seen her respond to the children that we bring to our home in such a gentle and loving way. She is truly a mother dog at heart. "A" and "E" immediatley felt at home here because of Ava, and of course Cooper.. our rescue Toy Poodle. If God can use me... a human so full of sin, judgement, and all things of the flesh - of course he can use his animals. So innocent, so oblivious, nothing keeping them from just doing - just being.
Ava watching over Sam - as always!
Dogs will never be as important as people, but they certainly have a huge importance to people. I am so, so blessed to get to see that first hand every single day. With this week being an exceptional example of how Bella being just a dog - makes her the best thing ever to a group of girls that deserve every simple joy this world has to offer.