Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Faith that Works

I am struggling. 
To write.
To cook.
To breathe.
Or to even get out of bed in the morning.

Last week, I had to come to a decision.  A difficult and horrible and heartbreaking decision.  My beautiful and wonderful little beagle, Spencer Bean, is not a good match for my home.  He is not able to be crate trained, he is not safe in a crate.  He eats and scratches his way out of every single one of them, hurting himself beyond comprehension every time.  Six of them so far.

Those eyes make my life complete.
I have had him for a year now.  I adopted him from the animal shelter.  He has the best eyes, I fell in love with them the second I saw his picture on the computer screen.  I fall in love with them every morning when I wake up and look at them. 

This decision isn’t for lack of trying.  I have put him in training.  He passed with flying colors.  Sit, stay, lie down, etc., he knows them all.  I tried medication.  No change.  Calming liquids, calming treats, something that is like a glade plug-in that is supposed to give off the calming pheromones that a mother dog gives off, thunder shirts.  None of it changed his unrelenting need to not be in a crate.  He needs a yard.  He needs his freedom. 

I do not have those things.  He just isn’t safe.

I cried for days.  This decision has not been easy.  But it is right. 

Last week, at the depths of my emotions, I got on Facebook and posted a request for prayer and thoughts.  I felt like I couldn’t even stand up anymore and didn’t know what to do.  The post generated a slew of comments, likes, texts, conversation, emails, phone calls.  I opened up to my friends about my real feelings.  I cried – tears and all – in front of people.  And, for about 20 seconds that night, lying in bed, I felt peace.  I stopped shaking, stopped crying.  There was a short period of time when I felt like I was doing the right thing, no matter how painful.  It is time to be selfless.

When I shared this with a friend, she described it as the holy spirit filling me.  I’ll take that.  It enabled me to know for sure that this was best.  That I can be okay in spite of the pain.  That the pain isn’t the end of me.  Even when it feels like it just might be.

I do not talk about my faith.  I have faith.  It’s deeply personal to me. I grew up in the church.  I do not go very often anymore, but the faith is in me.  The love is in me.  And yes, I pray. I believe in prayer and I believe in the action that follows prayer.

Because of my belief in action, I called around and there is one humane society that is no-kill.  I took him there on Wednesday to give him away.  Turns out, he has heartworm.  They couldn’t take him.  Yet.  He has to be treated first. 

I was overjoyed and pissed off at the same time.  I had been through every emotion in the book. 

I laughed and cried some more.  I am not an emotional person.  I do not cry very often.  I mean, I feel everything people feel when they are crying, except there is not a physical reaction, such as tears, that come out.  Tears have come uncontrollably this last week.  I cried so much that my eyeballs are in a state of constant hurt.

I have one more month with my little friend, until the treatment is complete.  I have time to find him a proper home.  I have started talking to people about him.  I have started opening up about this.  I am going to make some flyers and put them up in stores and at my vet’s office.  I know he will bring joy to someone.  He has been nothing short of my joy for the last year.  He is a loyal and amazing little friend.

New Cookbook.
Thursday night, I made cookies.  I got a new cookbook a couple weeks ago.  This was my first journey into the kitchen in a while.  I have not had the energy to get up and complete anything.  The cookies were a little deformed, a little weird. But they are yummy.  I can’t imagine anything more fitting – I feel a little deformed, but I’m still here. 

As always, the process of baking and cleaning up afterwards made me feel alive again.  I will be alive.  I will be there for my dog in the next month, taking care of him as his treatment goes on.  He will be there for me, in my tears and joys as we prepare for him to move on and bring life and love to the next lucky person. 

Perfectly imperfect cookies.
I feel so fortunate to have experienced his love and friendship over the last year.  I have loved every minute of him, and am more than grateful he came to me. I will move forward with his gentleness in my heart, his unconditional love in my soul, and his eyes in my mind's eye.  I can pass those traits on as I interact with people and animals alike along the way, remembering the way it makes me feel and thrive.  
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