The deal is…I care for the little boy named Levi and Alex cares for the little dog named Finn.  This is a good and proper way to do things in our house because Alex doesn’t change diapers very well and I don’t like standing around in the cold and wet waiting for a dog to ‘go’.

Today, our well oiled plan became a little turned around.  Alex has been feeling particularly bad since we have entered the monsoon season here in our town!  Really, we are all either floating away, have sandbags at our door or are molding!  Hurry Spring!    And, since there was rain predicted for three days straight…this was going to be one of those “Let’s stay in our pajamas all day and chill out” kinda days.  Levi and I both thought it was a grand idea!

The housekeeper was going in to do Alex’s apartment and since he was moving so slowly, I went in to lend a hand and let Finn out to take care of his business.  It was pouring rain.  So, I intended to just stay in the doorway.  No such luck…I had to step out on the porch.  And, it was wet with standing rain. And, I did not have my shoes on…day in pajamas and chilling, remember?  Well, Finn finally bonded with nature and decided to come back in.  As I stepped back in I took off my socks so as not to wet the floor. And, quick as a wink!  Finn grabbed one of my socks and ran over to the chair.  “Get my sock,” I shouted,”I don’t want him to put a hole in them!”  Alex tried to get it, the housekeeper tried to get it, and I was on my way to try to get it, when Alex said, “It’s gone.  He ate it.”  “What do you mean- he ate it?”  I yelled.  Housekeeper said, “He shore did, Ms Tonja.  He swallowed that sock right down.  I never saw anything like that!  He swallowed that sock!  He did!”  “Y’all are crazy…look under the chair, he probably dropped it,” I said.  Alex and Housekeeper looked at me and said together, “He swallowed the sock!”  “Well, can he still breathe?” I asked.  They assured me he could.  And, when I looked over at him, he looked quite pleased with himself…had himself a little sock snack here on this rainy day!  And, he wasn’t worried about it a bit!

Well.  I knew this could cause trouble so I went to call the vet.  They said to watch him.  Yeah, well, I did that.  I watched him eat my sock!  But, in a little bit the doctor called back and said for me to bring him in middle of the afternoon to get an x-ray.  OK.  I can do that.  It will cause me to have to go and get dressed though, put one makeup, too…but I can do it.  And, that’s what I did,  Went and got ready, because with my luck, he’d try to pass it and get an intestinal obstruction.  But, no..that sock was in the belly and in the belly it was going to stay.

And, as I dressed, I watched my wonderful day all snug inside…OUT of the rain…go floating past.

After the Vet saw the xray, he said, he was going to try to go down through the throat and try to catch it with an endoscope, but if that didn’t work, it would be surgery.  When he called me later, he told me that there was no way the sock would have ever moved.  And, so, Finn now has a 2 inch incision on his belly where he was sliced open and relieved of the sock in his tummy.

I went to pick him up later.  They said to be there around 5:45.  Around 5:30, here comes one of those downpours that renders windshield wipers useless as well as headlights…because of all the lightning.  If you know me you know I do. NOT. do .lightning.  Unless I have to pick up a poor, hurt dog and bring him home.  So, I prayed all the way to the vet that God would move His little thunderstorm a few miles in the direction of His choosing and give me time to get the dog and put him back in the car.  Obviously, the thunder was too loud for Him to hear me, because when I got out of the car at the vet, all I could hear was a sonic boom as I sprinted to the door…in the pouring rain…and much lightning.

Saw the vet…Finn OK.  Give up mega bucks to the receptionist in order to get my sock back all soggy and wet in a zip lock bag like some kind of prize at a fishing rodeo!  What did I want this nasty sock for?  But, I gingerly put it in my purse, along with what was left of my paycheck, and waited for the ‘dog of the hour’!  And, then I heard him…”whine, whine, yelp, YELP,YELP, whine, whimper, whimper.”  I was a goner.  How dare they hurt my Finn!  No, they were just trying to bring him to me…his mama. The Vet said, that he was going to give him another shot and it would probably knock him out by the time I got home and that we should be careful because he may run into the walls and look at things and not see them.  “Stoned?”, I said.  “Stoned”, he said.   And, there came poor Finn…walking slowly…ears down, head down, no smile, no jumping up to slap my thigh.  He was pitiful.  And, they gave me his meds and they gave me his leash.  And all of this drama inside was accompanied by the drama going on OUTSIDE.  Finn and I and the sock got to the door and I knew there was no way we could safely make it to the car amidst the lightning striking in a circle round my car without me carrying the 25 pounds he was…minus the sock.  So, I prayed, again, and bent to pick up the animal that was hurt and in pain.  And, I immediately remembered people’s stories of how the dog turned on them and bit them when they were hurt, and so since I was praying anyway, I asked God to remember what He did for Daniel when he was forced to be in the den with hungry lions and would He please do the same for me with the hurting Finn…especially since I was forced not only to carry the animal, but endure one of His firework shows at the same time.  I pushed opened the door and made it down the steps and carefully shifted the dog to my hip so I could open the door. I got it opened and …”who put those gloves and muzzle on my front car seat?”  Oh, no, it must belong to that lady that just took that 80 pound boxer in and this must not be my car, even though it is the same make and model and color.  I can tell all this because the sky…she is so lit up.  Shift dog back to carry in both arms, round the back of my car to ease, oh so carefully, between her car and mine, and to shift the dog and open the door halfway and try to carefully sit the dog on the front passenger seat.  FYI…there are only 2 cars in the lot.  Only 2 cars in the whole lot!  Plenty of room not to have to squeeze in so close to another car and make life so much the harder…I’m just saying!

Finn goes on the seat and I shut the door and run for my life to get to the driver’s side before certain death from being struck by a dagger of lightning occured.  Opened the door and there is Finn…standing in my seat…whining, ears still down and eyes looking so doggone mournful you could cry.  So I gently picked him up and held him…all 25 pounds, above the steering wheel, until I could slide the ampleness that I am under the steering wheel.  With door still open, I carefully lay him down on the towel I remembered to bring.  Keeping one hand on his head, I straighten my body and slam my car door.  And there we sat…in the thunder and lightning show…hoping all I’d ever heard about the car being the safest place to be and all…but deciding it didn’t matter anymore…I’d just trust the Maker of all the lights and noise.  And we sat for a good 5 minutes.  Me, panting and blowing…Finn…in la la land.  Then I cranked the car and carefully drove home.

I called Alex from the car and told him to meet us in the garage to help.  He did.  We got the dog in.  And got him settled.  And, they he lay…stoned out of his head…probably wondering why his people went all ape on him and freaked out and cut him open.  Or maybe he was just seeing pink elephants.

He lay carefully on Alex’s bed and slowly lay his head down.  Who knows what dreams he dreamt while under the influence.  But, I didn’t stay around to find out.  I put back on my pajamas and got into bed.  Yelling to whomever may care, “I’m hereby OFF DUTY!”

And as I reflected on this day before sleep overtook my eyes…I thought how chaotic it had been, but yet…perfectly orchestrated.  My housekeeper was here to care for Levi when I had to leave, both times.  The Vet said, “You’re lucky, most Friday afternoons we are so wrapped up, there would be no way I would have had the time to do this surgery.  Today, we only have 2 doctors and very few patients, and I have all the time I need.”  And, I told him, and he agreed…”No luck involved…ochestrated by the Father.”  See, this dog is more than just a dog to Alex.  It is his companion, his friend, his heart.  As Alex, due to his disease, is homebound 99% of the time, he misses so much.  But, Finn is there, beside him, to love and comfort and share.  Finn watches patiently as Alex suffers, offering a warm body and a lick to the hand.  He waits until Alex feels like it , and then they sing together….howling loud enough to wake the dead!  And, if Alex is up to watching some TV, Finn is watching, too…from his perch in Alex’s lap.  And, though Alex is in pain himmself…he is tenderly and carefully tending to Finn.

I know many of you love your animals like this, as well.  But, to end this story, I just want to say that God sends His love and comfort to us in many ways.  He offers us arms to lean into and He lets us sit in His lap.  He picks us up and carries us when we hurt too much to go on.  He promises to meet our needs.  And no matter how hard our life may be, He knows the best way to be with us.  In Alex’s case…He sent Finn.  Mischievous, impish, yelping, sock eating Finn.  And, we thank Him for His goodness!

Job 12:7-10 – But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (NIV)