A goodbye to my "dog"-ter
In February 2008, Zane took me to a gas station where he had seen a box of puppies that said “free”. As we pulled up, Zane told me to make sure I picked out a boy. I was so excited and looking at them all, it was hard to choose.
…so I picked out the sweetest one instead. Not really paying attention to “parts”, we named our new little pup “Clyde” because of its big ol’ paws. A few weeks went by and a friend of ours asked, “Why did you name a girl dog, ‘Clyde’?” A slight moment of unbelief and a few laughs later, we realized that we had to come up with a new name for our pup. We agreed on “Shasta”.
Shasta quickly became a key player early on in our family. She went to hunting camp with Zane and was a faithful protector from bears; she went on many hikes and snowshoe adventures with me, and she always was out in front of the horses when we were in the backcountry. She was by our side when the kids were born and slept most nights between Noel’s bed and Tessa’s crib. She was a lover of the water and a digger of many holes. She loved to chase chizzlers and steel mice from our cat, Pal. Shasta was a sweet friend and companion.
Shasta was a gift to us from God and having her in my life drew me closer to know the Lord in a unique way. As described above, Shasta displayed her own way of loving our family through her protection, guidance, and is a companionship- similar to how God wants us to know his protection, guidance and companionship. Throughout the day yesterday, I could feel God’s hand (his companionship) as he guided our family through saying “goodbye” by delivering peace in a way that prepared our hearts to let go. Allow me to explain.
As I dropped Shasta off at the vet clinic yesterday morning, a man with a St. Bernard (man, I love St. Bernards!) was walking in behind us. As I was trying to help my sweet Shasta through the door, the man said “hold on, Tess, we have to wait for them”. I said to the man, “Did you just say your dog’s name is Tess?” and he replied “yes”. Now- with ordinary eyes, you may think that is a coincidence, but I know how much my God loves me and I believe with every ounce of my being that He was preparing my heart.
Similar to how I knew the morning our sweet Tessa was going to see Jesus later that day, I knew in my heart that Shasta was going to leave us later in the day because of that simple interaction. The way God uses moments, people, circumstances, to talk to us. If we have ears to hear and eyes to see God will show you exactly what to do or say, how to act, or even how to prepare your heart. He is a good God; a good protector, guide, and companion and He will never lead you astray.
So, after 12 years of companionship we lay our sweet Shasta to rest. Completely free from sickness. I would like to think that all dogs go to heaven, but the bible just isn’t super clear about that one. There are scriptures in Isaiah that do talk about animals dwelling together without animosity between them, so I suppose animals in heaven is a complete possibility. What I absolutely do know is that God has BIG plans to restore creation one day and this restoration will be so much better than I could ever imagine! So I will hold it in my heart- that because He created Shasta here and she brought us so much joy, that perhaps she just might greet us with a wagging tail and her big brown eyes…probably hanging out with Tessa and all of her new friends.
Rest in peace, sweet Shasta, you were such a good gift to us.