Perhaps it is because my very existence is a daily reminder of God’s plan surpassing human intent or capacity, but I am an unabashed believer in miracles. I’ve seen them all around me, in the simplest and the grandest forms. I make it a point to be sensitive to them, be aware of them, and be ever-grateful for every one of them! My pets have all been rejects to the world, who by one path or the other, found their way to my home. They also are daily reminders of miraculous love, divine and earthly. This is just one story. God cares about every life. He hears every heart. His joy is to grant heart’s desires.
As a longtime friend and whenever possible, supporter of my local Rescue the Animals, I frequently check the web pages to see if pets I’ve known of or seen recently on TV spots have found new homes. Animals have always been part of my life, and I can’t imagine living without a pet (or a bunch of pets) to come home to at the close of a hard day, and to snuggle with at night.
In the late fall of 2006, I became rapt in love for Rhoda, a lovely 2-year-old Dachshund who I had seen on the television spot. She was so quiet but loving, her head buried in the meteorologist’s suit coat mostly, but her tail frantically keeping that famous wiener dog rhythm! I was certain she would have a home within the week, so that eased my pining heart. Nearly a month passed, and there she was, still on the website. I could not imagine how anyone could pass by those deep, knowing eyes and precious spirit that I could feel so intently even from her “mug shot” photo. I kept repeating inside my head that I wasn’t even looking for a dog, I had two already, but I could not look away from Rhoda! I showed her to my husband, and he saw her heart, too. He initially declined my beseeching, marking three X’s for each of his “No’s” in my writer’s notebook, but then relenting, saying he could not make himself delete the photo I had sent him because she looked like a 1944 Soviet widow in a bread line. He also could not forget her bio caption, “Super sweet and ready for a new home, ” so with no more defenses, we proceeded with plans for new pet parenthood again. We were intent to make Rhoda’s Christmas wish for a new home come true!
December came, and I called twice in the week of the eligible pet adoptions to make sure that Rhoda would be available Saturday at the local Petsmart for her adoption. At 3 PM Friday, I was told she would be there unless she was adopted before 5 PM. My husband and I eagerly arrived just as adoptees were arriving, fully prepared for Rhoda and the fallout from shelter life that somtimes can be part of pet adoption. We asked where Rhoda was, and the reply came quickly. “She was adopted yesterday.” We were at once filled with joy and bitter disappointment; joyful that she had a home, yet knowing within she was meant for our home. My husband coaxed me to leave, but I hesitantly talked with him about at least looking at some of the other pets. He agreed, with reservation. As we once again entered the store, a lovely woman named Lisa comes up to my wheelchair, saying, “Rhoda’s back!” and asking if I was the lady interested. I beamed, “Yes!” and Lisa said Rhoda had just come back, returned as being “too needy”. (Isn’t that why we love pets in the first place, to be needed? Go figure!) I see Rhoda, call to her, and she comes right to me, not put off even a split second by my wheelchair, and greets me with kisses, then resting her head smack between my legs. What a wonder it be if people were so gracious? As we went around the store looking for some new toys for our daughter, people stopped to comment on what a nice dog we had. My husband answered she had been ours for all of five minutes! Lisa tells me as we are leaving that Rhoda’s adoption was just meant to be. I say, “No, it’s totally a GOD thing!”
Rhoda spent her first night coiled by the chair where I sleep. Her eyes followed whenever I moved. They still do. We see each other’s souls, and begin each morning with a song, so what if neither of us can sing! She offers lessons now as a business venture.
Rhoda took claim to our home the same way she did our hearts– with wisdom, gentleness, and love and we have tried to return her investment countless times over through the past 5 years. She was openly accepted by our Chihuahua and the two have bonded completely, and although she had never seen a cat up close, she has a peaceful but playful alliance with our orange tabby, Cheddar. She just cannot understand how cats can fly!
I am so captivated by Rhoda’s instincts, wisdom, and caring. No physical task is easy for me, yet Rhoda waits so patiently as I go through my daily routine, knowing that I may not walk like everyone else she sees, but I can love every bit as much as them, and maybe more. She has learned an awareness of my wheelchair, and she knows how to come to “mommy level” for hugs and belly rubs! She has blessed our lives, and proves what a loss it can be to not adopt a shelter pet.
I give thanks every day for that Christmas blessing for Rhoda and the family she has blessed.