It all started with my need to torture myself by looking at puppy ads on the internet. I already have two large dogs, plus my life is crazy busy. So it seemed extremely ridiculous to consider adding a puppy to the mix. And yet, every night, there I sat in front of my computer, looking at photos, thinking about character traits of various breeds, wondering how they would fit into our household.
I’ve always been a dog lover; I can name 22 dogs I’ve had the privilege to own. Well, a few of them seemed more of a punishment than a privilege; but each one brought something special into my life. Most recently I’ve adopted adult rescue dogs, but lately I’ve yearned for a puppy.
I responded to several ads, made a couple of phone calls, even made a few appointments to go see a puppy in person. But each time I was blasted with a feeling that this was not the right time, not the right puppy. I felt like the cartoon character with a little devil on one shoulder, an angel on the other; one tempting me with overdose levels of puppy cuteness, the other whispering in my ear, "Don't do it!"
“OK, God,” I said, “I’m really trying to listen for Your will, so I’m going to take this as a ‘no.’ " (Besides, I’ve learned the hard way that trying to ignore or rationalize that feeling usually leads to some sort of disaster, especially when dealing with dogs and other long term commitments. Please refer back to the “punishment” comment in paragraph 2.)
"But,” I continued, “I don’t suppose You’ll mind if I keep looking at adorable puppy pictures, as long as I wait for Your go-ahead before I go ahead.”
My family thought I was nuts.
Sometimes I agreed. I asked my husband, “So, am I crazy for wanting a puppy?”
“Well,” he replied philosophically, “I guess it’s better than wanting a baby.”
That was good enough for me.
So I headed back to the computer. And then I saw her. A puppy that looked just like my first dog, an amazing little mix of Jack Russell and mystery guest we named “Chi-Chi,” an Italian term of affection referring to her rolls of puppy fat. She was my constant companion for many years, and she set the standard for all the other dogs in my life.
Could it hurt to check out this tiny look-alike? This time there were no feelings of hesitation.
When I arrived at the address, everyone was outside playing. As I stepped through the patio doors, a teeny little puppy looked up, stopped what she was doing, and scrambled over to me, 2 ½ pounds of wags and wiggles, begging to be picked up. I scooped her up with one hand. In return, she licked my face and snuggled into my neck.
I was instantly in love. “What’s her name?” I asked the young woman. “Oh,” she replied, “I call her Chi-Chi.”
Here’s the thing. It’s always better to pray BEFORE making a decision rather than after making it. But I forgot. Besides, I know when pray for God’s will in a situation, He will open some doors and close others along the way. I figure this door was about as open as they get, and I dove through it.
So, I talked to God on the way home. “I hope this is OK with You,” I said.
I didn’t hear Him answer me, but I’m pretty sure He was smiling.