Dog Tired WORK IN PROGRESS:
This is a 12 x 12 painting I started yesterday, and I hope to finish today. The plaid blanket is going to be a challenge, but I'll just break it down into shapes and colors and maybe it won't be quite so scary.
Last Friday morning after breakfast, Matilda and Buster (far left and far right in the painting) spotted some critter or other out in the pasture beyond our fence that got them really excited, and before we knew it they had dug a hole big enough to squeeze out under the fence and they were off on a grand adventure. Those stinkers!
We weren’t super worried about it, because they’ve done this before, but they always show up back home at the end of the day, sometimes tired and hurt, sometimes just tired, but they always come back. Blue and Sophie didn’t follow because they were too big to go through the hole, plus they’re not really diggers. I fixed the hole and put a big rock in that spot.
Well, Buster and Matilda didn’t come home for supper. We called and called and banged their bowl with the measuring cup (a sure fire come-to-dinner signal) but to no avail. And they didn’t come home at bedtime. And they weren’t waiting by the back door for their breakfast Saturday morning. I drove all up and down the road early Saturday morning to look for them, but saw only empty pasture with a smattering of cows.
Periodically since they had been gone Friday morning, I had been praying for God’s protection for our two wayward hounds. They’re just dogs, but we love them. And we have four others who weren’t missing, plus three cats, but we love each and every one of them. At lunch time Saturday, Paul and I prayed together for their safe return. And we kept reminding each other that, after all, these two had survived almost nine months on their own down by the bayou before they came to live with us.
In my Bible reading Saturday morning, I had read
I Thessalonians 5.
And all day verses 16-18 kept coming to mind.
Be joyful always;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
It was really hard, but I prayed for God to give me the heart to be thankful, even though sadness was the overall feeling of the day. God knew we were broken hearted, but He faithfully helped me to be filled with gratitude for my life, my work, our home, all our other pets, friends and family. And I knew whatever happened, He would help me through it. And I kept thinking, they’re just a couple of silly dogs. But they’re our silly dogs. And if they don’t come back, we’ll miss them terribly.
Then God put it on my heart to pray for people all around the world who have going through and are going through much worse, much more difficult circumstances. And I prayed for them. And I was uplifted.
Saturday at dinner time, getting ready to feed the dogs, I laid four bowls on the counter instead of the usual six, and I just burst into tears. They’ve never stayed away this long since they came to live with us, so we started thinking that they may have gotten hurt and and couldn’t make it back, or one was hurt and the other didn’t want to leave him or her, or they ran into a pack of coyotes (the last time they were gone all day, we took Buster to the vet because of a big scratch on his chest, and the doctor dug a coyote tooth out of the wound!)
Saturday we went to bed with heavy, heavy hearts.
About 5:30 Sunday morning, I awoke from a dream in which Matilda was barking at some cows, and I heard Paul saying, “I think I hear Matilda barking.” I sat up and said, “I thought I dreamed it!”
We hurriedly threw on our coats and ran to the kitchen door, calling “Hey dogs, hey dogs” (our way of collectively calling everyone at once) and out of the darkness and into the kitchen ran Buster, followed closely by Matilda, shivering and hungry and kind of scratched up, but otherwise just fine. Paul says that’s the first time in his life he’s cried actual tears from happiness. (I love that man!) We both prayed prayers of gratitude and joy and praise.
I fed our prodigals an early breakfast after which, without any prompting at all, they gratefully went straight to their bed in the laundry room with Sophie and Blue. Then Paul and I, wide awake and filled with joy, had ourselves a hearty early morning breakfast. Scrambled eggs never tasted so good.