– by Jacki
We lost our precious little fur-baby, Dusty, on 10/22/01. He was 16.5 years old! He was such a blessing to us and we learned a lot from that little guy! Here's a little of what he taught us…
Complete and Absolute Trust and Confidence
Dusty trusted us so completely that he would just be a limp rag-doll when we picked him up—so totally relaxed and trusting. He did not squirm, wiggle, or fight us and was not afraid one bit! He knew without a doubt that we would protect him and not let him fall or get hurt. If he had been sleeping when we'd pick him up, he'd just hang his little head down almost in a "U" shape to his back end! People visiting us just couldn't get over this—they'd never seen such complete trust. Also, Dusty knew US so well and knew that we loved him and that anything we had to do to him was an act of love and for his benefit that even when we'd have to doctor him and it hurt, he'd simply give us kisses that said, "This really hurts, Mom and Dad, but I know you must do it for my good…" I believe this is exactly how God wants us to trust Him—to stay calm and relaxed no matter what position we find ourselves in—knowing that we are in His loving care and that He will protect us and that whatever He is doing with us is done out of love and is for our good—even if it hurts for a while.
Dusty would stay close to me always—right by my side. If I was having a particularly bad day (either physically or emotionally), Dusty would stay even closer. All I had to do was look down at my side (if he wasn't already in my lap that is!), and there he'd be—steadfast, stable, trustworthy, constant. I believe that God is just as close and constant a Companion and wants us to draw even closer to Him when we are having a bad day…
True and Pure Unconditional Love
Everyone knows that pets give this kind of love—that's why we get pets, right?! Well, Dusty was no exception… He was so loving and forgiving. He was a big-time "kisser" and would lick me for hours at the time when the mood hit him! I loved getting my "Dusty kisses"… He also had this adorable habit of "scrubby-facing" as we called it—especially if we'd just put him in his bed. He'd just scrub his little face on the sides of the bed! And if we pet him, he'd scrubby-face right into our hands. He was a real sweetie. Even when we did things that made him mad(!), he was always quick to forgive. I believe God is the same way—He loves us unconditionally and completely. His love for us does not depend on us being perfect or pleasing Him 100% of the time—He knows we are humans and cannot be perfect. He showed His ultimate love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us so we would be able to have eternal life with Him. (See our "Way to Peace With God" page for more information about this.)
No matter where he was, he'd adapt and not fret or fight it, as if to say, "Okay, here I am!"—totally accepting of whatever his circumstances were. When we would put him on a table to work on him (cut his hair or whatever), he would just lie still and go to sleep even! He knew we were taking care of him and he knew that it was "all good"… I'm reminded of Paul's words while he was in prison: "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content." (Phil. 4:11)
To Seek God's Comfort
I was so full of sadness and grief after we Dusty's death that I was afraid I would sink back into a deep depression that I had finally come out of. Instead, I turned to God's Word and looked for comfort. He led me to do a Bible word search on "comfort" and "mourning" and I did. I found this was a tremendous help to me in finding comfort during that difficult time, and I'm still finding comfort in God's Word. I have learned that even in the middle of sadness and grief, I can still have a deep and abiding JOY if I continually abide in God's presence and love and receive His love and comfort… I have shared the Scriptures God led me to on our "Comfort for Those Who Mourn" page.
And last but not least…
To live each day to the fullest because life does come to an end much sooner than you might think it will. Don't waste your time! If you do, you're wasting your life, and this is something you can never get back. Love those around you. Show them you love them every chance you get. Don't wait "till tomorrow" because tomorrow may not bring the same opportunities that today has brought…