Zelda, my daughter’s Yorkie, is probably the most difficult and definitely the most high maintenance dog we have ever owned. She was a rescue dog so we’re not sure what her first year of life was like. By the time we got her, the vet estimated she was about one and a half years old. We picked her up in MO and drove her back to TX. For the first year, it had been an interestingly unpleasant experience that taught me yet another lesson on God’s love.
Zelda was extremely skittish and jittery. Taking her for walks could be very aggravating, especially if you happened to wear a strange noisy shoe (like a flip flop). Actually, there was no rhyme or reason to when she might be particularly anxious on any given day. Some days were better than others, but most were not good. Basically, she would walk with her long furry tail tucked stiffly underneath her. She jerked at everything: a rustling leaf, a butterfly, a flip or a flop of a shoe, the sound of her retractable leash, etc. Needless to say, during those times, it would take an extra-long walk to try to get her to go to the bathroom. Grrrr…. It was all very frustrating to me, as I had never before had a dog that was so very difficult.
Still, Theresa (my daughter) loved her.
While on a walk one day, we took a break at a park to allow my grandson to play at the playground. While waiting and watching Daniel play, Zelda fell through the small opening of the lower back part of the bench. The retractable leash that was lying loosely on my lap fell with her. Falling was enough to startle her, but then the evil leash began to chase her and jump at her with each jolt that she made in her mad dash down the sidewalk. Zelda took off faster than any little dog I’ve ever seen run to who knows where at this point. As she had now disappeared from sight, I was extremely worried of the possibility that she would run straight into the road and get run over by a car in her apparent destination.
I took off in a sprint! Up until that point I had considered myself to be in pretty good shape, but sprinting in flip flops (that I eventually had to take off) on this particularly hot late summer afternoon in Texas almost gave me a heart attack. No joke…I seriously thought I would have a heart attack.
When I simply couldn’t run any longer, I came across a jogger and with more heaving than words asked if he had seen a dog. He said he had. In desperation, I asked him if he could help me. He agreed, though very reluctantly, to help me; probably because he could plainly see in my blood-red face and my barely-audible words that I was about to pass out. Chivalry’s not completely dead.
As I still attempted to run as fast as I could with what my body was willing to allow, I had horrific visions of Zelda reaching the road and jumping right in front of a car. Finally I arrived to the bridge just before the parking lot where terrified Zelda had been smart enough to stop. Either that, or she too had reached her exercise limits for the day, and had decided that if the leash was going to eat her then so be it. She sat glaring at the pink base of the retractable leash that was sitting next to her, taunting her, daring her, ready to pounce at her any second. I thanked the jogger for his help, and picked Zelda up. This is just one example of the trouble we’ve gone through for this dog.
Still, Theresa loved her.
The most exhausting, time-consuming, expensive and aggravating struggle was due to her digestive issues. She would randomly have diarrhea. I’m not simply talking about the mushy stool that regularly takes place with diarrhea; I’m talking about uncontrollable sprayed liquid that might randomly happen on the carpet, in her bed, on my couch, on the walls, EVERYWHERE!! Ugh! At first, we thought it might be nerves from this major transition/move in this already overly anxious dog (and a lot of it was just that). Theresa spent tons of money on vet bills, parasite tests, stool samples, etc. trying to figure out what was wrong with her. After all was said and done, when the vet couldn’t determine a definite diagnosis, she concluded Zelda was simply allergic to food. Apparently, unlike most food allergies in dogs that usually affect the skin, Zelda’s affected her digestive capabilities. The vet prescribed her very expensive dog food, which Theresa has had to make monthly allowances for in her finances.
Still, Theresa loved her.
Skip to another day while on one of mine and Zelda’s long walks, the Lord spoke to me, “Consider Zelda.” So I did. As I observed her and considered all we had been through with this small dog in this short time, He began to reveal to me how we often act just like Zelda in our relationship with Him as our Father. First, like Zelda, we were all lost. We needed to be rescued. God provided that rescue through Jesus. Those of us who’ve received Jesus as our Savior have been rescued. The difference with our rescue, compared to Zelda’s, is that God knows exactly what we’ve been through and where we’ve been. He knows who’s hurt us, abandoned us and rejected us. He knows of our fears, anxieties, and failures. He knows of our physical limits: allergies, pain, disorders, infirmities, ailments, sicknesses and diseases. He knows the prescriptions we need. He knows us.
Still, He loves us.
As I considered what was most frustrating to me about this jumpy Yorkie, I realized it was the fact that she didn’t trust us. Both Theresa and I took very good care of her; especially Theresa. Yet she consistently remained high-strung, and reacted nervously in most interactions with us for quite some time. When would she realize that we loved her and that we had her best interest at heart as we searched for ways to understand her, to help her?
The Lord showed me that we often do this very thing to Him. We nervously hide from Him when He calls out to us. We run off because of the circumstances of life, and then act like He’s the One Who caused those circumstances. He’s a good Father who takes good care of us and faithfully helps us out of predicaments we get ourselves into, yet we still distrust Him. When will we realize that God loves us and that He has our best interest at heart, as He continually meets us where we are to reveal that love? Grabbing hold of God’s love, I mean truly grabbing hold of it and receiving it, is key to living a life filled with peace and joy.
God LOVES You!!!