People say there are “dog people” and “cat people.” Having had eleven cats in my lifetime, I guess one would say I was a “cat person.” However, there have been dogs in my life that have brought the Love of God into sharp focus. I will never forget them.
Such was the dog of my niece and nephew in law. Hogey was a boxer, who instantly seemed to assess that I needed love and lots of it. In spite of my polite, quick pats and attempted ignoring of him, he came back again and again, gently reminding me of his presence.
He was not pushy. He was content to lay at my feet or sit quietly by me on the couch. But if I gave him any indication I was interested, more Love gushed out of drooling little mouth than I could have ever imagined.
He looked me squarely in the eyes, with a look that seemed to say, “I recognize you. You are a part of my family. You just don’t know it yet. But I’ll wait. You will know. I just know you will. And we’ll have fun then!”
I told him, “I’m not your type. Really. The animals I like are not your friends.” He didn’t seem to care.
I reminded him, “You belong to the Burns. I’m not really a part of your family.”
Hogey snuggled in for the long haul.
I told him, “You’re not my type either. Even If I were a dog person, which I’m not, I think I would get a poodle. So you are really wasting your time with me.”
He made a little sound. It sounded like a chuckle.
I tried not to look at him, but every time I made a furtive glance his way, his eyes locked with mine. They were eyes of love, and acceptance and patience. Without fully thinking, I petted him.
I felt him tremble with delight. Delight seemed to call for more delight. Somehow that pat became a scratching of his ears … and … and … well, I really don’t know how it happened, but that dog stole my heart!
For the rest of the visit, I looked for him every moment. I looked forward to my time with Hogey. I threw the ball and delighted in his returning it to me. And somehow I ended up on the grass in full surrender to being licked by a dog and receiving the JOY God brought me from what I would have considered a very unlikely source.
Every time I think about that visit, I realize how Hogey brought God’s Love to Life!
Both God and Hogey:
loved me with no strings attached,
were willing to wait for me to realize I loved them,
forgave me for trying to ignore them,
were ever present and close,
responded immediately to any signs I was ready to receive their Love,
gave their Love enthusiastically
and took Love up a notch to JOY!
When my niece recently let me know that Hogey had died, I cried. I enjoyed his love for just a short time. Hogey’s earth family had the JOY of his love for much longer.
But as I have remembered him, I have pictured God standing at the Pearly Gates, calling Hogey home. I truly believe Hogey was a dog on an assignment from God. Now it’s time for him to enjoy the Presence of His Heavenly Master.
Good job, Hogey! I’ll never forget you! You’ve caused me to consider whether I might become a “dog person.”
(Was that a part of your mission?)
(Attached picture of Hogey and Jordan Burns, my great nephew)