I wrote this about a week or so ago when I was having a bad day
Shiloh is not just a dog, she is a living breathing ever-present reminder of what God can do, a four-legged faith builder, an answered prayer by my side.

God unfolded messages to me through her that have helped me see Him better, and in times when I feel down (like tonight) I only have to look down and see the physical representation of God doing abundantly beyond what I could ask or think (Eph 3:20).
November 2014 my dog Riley died unexpectedly. He had been my companion for 5 years and was a spunky, vibrant, tenacious, mischievous, loving, fun little pain in the butt πŸ™‚

He went from a crazy, energetic, spunky little guy to practically blind, stumbling and dying within the space of a month.

One night at the ER I had to make the hardest decision a pet owner has to make and say goodbye.

As you all know my long ongoing health battles have left my life very small, so losing my little companion was heartbreaking.

But God is merciful and this long-suffering has taught me so much and God has shown so much of His nature to me in ways I could not have seen if life were easy. So whether I “felt” like it or not I remember praying through my tears and confessing that I knew God well enough that He had a purpose in this happening, and I wanted to be obedient as far as my part and I needed to be open to if it be God’s will, for me not to have a dog…. Maybe He had something for me to do, or somewhere for me to go that wouldn’t be possible with a dog?

I didn’t know. But I wanted to see His will through my pain and grasp onto His blessing in tragedy, His promise in this loss. 
That first night sleeping alone without a canine companion was so lonely and empty, but through weeping I remained in prayer that night and for several nights to come, not looking online at rescue sites, instead trying to search God’s will.
I can’t explain it, but after a couple days I felt a “release” and I knew it was okay with God to start to look for another dog.

So I hit the Petfinder page and started looking. I left myself completely open to any breed, any gender, because I knew with my few previous dogs I had looked into their eyes and I just “knew”. I had no idea what God has for me so I just looked at everything. I guess you could say I am very intuitive and a very good judge of canine character, because I tend to “get” dogs by looking at them.
Well I looked, and I looked, hours everyday…far and wide. Nothing felt right. 

I figure over the week I searched I looked at about four thousand dogs (I’m not joking). Closest thing that looked tempting was a little male red sable Pom in Oklahoma. Too far away obviously. But I was still being drawn to Poms even though my little orange Pom boy Riley had issues. 

The next morning after seeing this Pom online I was driving to work in the early dark hours of winter, and I started praying, I knew what I wanted and needed in a dog.

It had to be housebroken

It had to be quiet and not yappy

It had to be good with other dogs and people

It had to be smart and not have “toy dog syndrome”

It had to be not too small or delicate

It had to be free of behavioral problems

It had to be gentle and intuitive with my parent’s dog that has a fatal heart condition

It has to be not too old or too young

It had to be very smart

It can’t be too far away because I can’t travel far to pick up a dog

It had to have the right balance of energy; able to be equally active and quiet

And finally dear Lord, it is not a need, but could it be a sable color?
That night when I got home from work I did what I had done every night for the last week, I jumped online to look at dogs. And there she was. I saw her eyes and I just knew. 

She was stunning! A wolf sable which is a very rare color. She was housebroken and according to the rescue group, good with other dogs and well mannered. She was also in Yakima which was not out of the question in distance.

I filled out an application that night, then I waited and prayed. I found out later that Apparently she had been listed only one hour before I applied for her.

I had a phone interview with the agency a couple days later and did some more waiting and praying as they investigated my references.

I remember worrying so much as her online profile said “adoption pending” and I prayed it was me.

Well I did get the call that I was approved, and that weekend we took the drive over the pass to go meet her. 

15 minutes meeting a new dog in a neutral environment isn’t much to go on to decide to adopt, but I took the risk and took her home.

I remember (it was the cutest thing) we made a bathroom stop on the way home and little Ripley (prior to her name change) was worried that we were leaving her and looked over the steering wheel to make sure we would come back.
Of course we took a little time to adjust to each other, but Shiloh (my gift of peace) turned out to be the embodiment of my answered prayers and MUCH more.
You know my list before God? There was not one item on my list that He did not grant me, and beyond.  

You see I never thought to ask for a caretaker, I never thought to ask for a dog that could be a registered therapy dog, be in tune to me and my needs on an intimate level. I asked God for a sable but never did I expect of the three sable color varieties out there that He would give me the rarest and most beautiful (a wolf sable). 

I never thought that of all the dogs I have owned over my lifetime that He would bring me my canine soul mate (yes there is such a thing) that I would love so much and would love me with all her heart.
So you see, God answered needs and desires I didn’t even know I had. And more than that He has used her to build my faith and strengthen me in the midst of difficulty.

And I asked Him and keep asking Him what He would have me learn in the miracle of Shiloh, and He has shown me:
He cares for me not just for my needs, but wants to meet the desires of my heart.

He is capable of doing beyond what I can imagine.

He can bring something or someone perfect into your life at the perfect time.

He can replace something good with something better and turn a painful thing into joy.

He hears my prayers and is glad to answer them if my heart is contrite and obedient to His will.
So tonight my friends, as I am at a very good place with the Lord but having a moment when I am feeling down because of loneliness and wondering if my dreams will ever come true…. I just look down at the little furry friend on my lap, and my faith is renewed. 


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7 thoughts on “When Faith Has Four Paws

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