The Face of Beauty: Our Therapy Dog

baileyIt was a Sunday afternoon in May, warm and sunny outside, but we barely knew of the day’s beauty. Focused on savoring the last breaths of our beloved “Grammy,” all seemed gray.

Hospice had become her home and ours, a temporary dwelling of swiftly moving fears and tears. Moving — away from earth connections — to heavenly realms.

“You’ll see Jesus soon,” I told her on this day. “I know, and I can’t wait!” she did a little wave with her hands and exclaimed with all the joy her weak body could muster.

The phone rang in the room, a friend who had babysat our daughter, offering condolences on the sad news, and offhandedly mentioning they had to give up one of their dogs to the shelter.

“She won’t come out from under the bed anymore and she runs away all the time. She’s too afraid of the other dog and we just can’t keep her.”

I started shaking, thinking absolutely crazy thoughts . . . oh, man, I love that dog! She must be ours!

When I first met her I told my husband that if we ever got a second dog I wanted one just like her. Furry, cuddly, and oh, so cute. She was the only dog  other than Shadow, the one we already had, that I ever fell immediately in love with . . . and now she was abandoned to who knew what future.

Imagine trying to convince your husband that you need to go to the shelter to meet a dog to adopt when his mother has only days to live. As crazy as he thought I was, he agreed . . . “just to see.”

That’s all it took, and for the next five days she happily went everywhere with us, including spending whole days in the Hospice unit. Grammy even gave her approval.

Suddenly gray days full of mourning had glimpses of joy. Bailey needed walks, to play fetch with toys, and to be petted . . . petted a LOT.

We started calling her our “therapy dog.” On the night of Grammy’s passing, she was there, with us, curled up next to my daughter on a cot in the Hospice room.

She was there for us. To hug. To cry tears into her fur. To calm and comfort us while our loss was still too raw to be calmed and comforted by others.

It’s difficult to imagine how we would have made it through that grief and the days of grief to come without her. Or the twelve years we’ve shared with her since.

Therapy Dogs at Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial

Therapy Dogs at Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial (Photo credit: AnubisAbyss)

She was, and still is, our therapy dog.

We hugged and petted her a little more over the last week, finding comfort for our unspoken grief in the softness of her fur and her face of unconditional love.

It’s what dogs can do for us in such times.

Linda CrawfordPraying for your comfort and a return to joy this week.

More Faces of Beauty:

LOVE in the Face of Evil

LOVE in the Face of Evil

Wounded-Healer-Warrior

Wounded-Healer-Warrio

Six Minute Sabbath: If We Could Flashmob Boston

If we could flashmob you for six minutes Boston — gather from the far corners of the world to stand together and sing over you –this would be our music, our offering of joy:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,

God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.

(Email subscribers watch the music video by clicking here.)

Linda CrawfordLord, may we join the happy chorus, for we are brothers in love, victors in the midst of strife, and we march onward singing the triumph song of life!

More Six Minute Sabbaths:

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

To Create

To Create

Pushing back the dark

Pushing back the Dark

The Face of Beauty: LOVE in the Face of Evil

In Boston, evil will have a face. Perhaps more than one face.

And when evil becomes a face, the image burns deep into our flesh.

Because the face of evil, the one or ones who hate, look like us.

Human.

And that hurts.

We cry with those who cry and cry out. We war in prayer, yet sorrow in our helplessness to save each other from the wounds of hate.

We cry.

For you, the victims, and your loved ones.

We cry.

For the ones who carried the broken, who held a hand, whispered words of hope, and tied sweaty shirts around bloody limbs.

We cry.

For your loss, your pain, your sorrow, your trauma, your memories.

We cry.

Because LOVE has a face. And it is us, together, weeping with those who weep. Praying for those who need prayer. Holding hands and whispering words of hope. Binding up your wounds as best we can.

LOVE has a face.

A human one.

US.

 And our faces cannot be hidden or destroyed by evil.

We will keep loving. Keep living. Keep praying. Keep fighting.

We’ll keep on running the race.

With you . . . to win.

Boston finish

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.     Ephesians 6:12-18 MSG

April 15, 2013