Three months ago, during one of those talks about our future, my husband and I agreed that our 12-year-old Shih-poo, Angel, would be our last dog. Angel (aka mom’s shadow) is our second fur baby since we were married. Two of our kids chose this wee bundle after our not-so-wee Afghan Hound passed away.
Sheeba, our first “baby” pre-kids, loped and draped through twelve years of our lives. With utmost patience and delicacy, she endured three dribbling and babbling humans clutching and crawling over her. She remained a faithful and unwavering companion through several of their growing up years until one heart-wrenching day; she grew too tired for this world.
Two months ago, our 11-year-old daughter, Keira, declared she wanted a dog of her own. I use the word “declared” loosely since Keira lays out ideas rather like one might a freshly washed sheet, unfurling it to let the air catch, then allowing its billows to softly settle before smoothing it, ironing out the wrinkles if necessary. There is no force to it. Just airy, unassuming precision.
Aware there could be some push back, Keira drafted a presentation on two sheets of colorful bristol board. She invited her dad (the only real opponent to her plan since I had caved to the dog suggestions early on and promptly joined the ranks of coercion) to sit on the couch to spell out the master plan. One sheet boldly depicted the word “Care” and the other “Cost”. Below each, she listed any possible objections or questions her father might conjure and the response to each.
One month ago (as cited on the master plan under “Cost”), Keira started Sweets & Treats, a bakery serving our neighborhood, and her chosen means to save up to purchase her puppy. The first week, she went door-to-door to ask if any of our neighbors would like to buy some baking. Things went surprisingly well. Word got out, and as other neighbors caught wind of what she was up to, they contributed to the cause. By the third and fourth week, she didn’t need to knock on doors since the orders were steadily arriving through her Sweets & Treats Instagram account.
Two days ago, and two-thirds of the way to her goal, Keira, her dad, and I had the pleasure of spending an hour with the expectant mother, a 6-year-old Saluki. I doubt I need to describe the smile that had settled on Keira’s face as she stroked the smooth coat of the gentle dog who, after soundlessly greeting us at the door, had climbed up on the couch and curled up directly beside her. With its similarity to our Sheeba, Ralph and I instantly warmed to this sweet dog.
In that little courtyard, with the sun dancing through the leafy canopy and the long nose of the Saluki mother gently resting beside Keira’s leg, our hearts were warmed. There are moments in life where we glimpse heaven and wrapped in the calm, quiet beauty of this moment amid creation; this was one of them.
We drove away, our thoughts and conversation circling the visit with the Saluki. We talked of little else, both in the restaurant where we stopped to enjoy an outdoor lunch and on our drive home. I can’t help but thank our determined last-born for her subtle yet strong determination. A soft smile has replaced Ralph’s initial “no” at the first mention of another dog, and it’s fair to say that we are nearly as excited as Keira at the prospect of another member of our family.
It’s a well-known, somewhat humorous phenomenon that dogs and their owners often resemble each other. In the case of Keira and the Saluki, the resemblance is uncanny—in appearance but also behavior—both exhibiting a peaceful and deliberate demeanor and subtle yet loyal affection for those she loves. Through Keira I am reminded that determination is an asset.
Sometimes a task, project, or dream seems difficult or impossible. We have no idea how we are going to achieve it, and those around us may be handing us a solid “no”. Our resources few, things may look bleak and our dreams far from reach. But have you noticed that when a person sets their sights on a goal, is determined to achieve it, and gladly shares their dreams with others, those around them see its merit and begin cheering them on?
If strangers delight to offer their encouragement to see you reach your goals or dreams, imagine how God gets behind your efforts. Nothing is impossible with God. Not the prayers of a young child for a dog of her own, or the whispered words of an adult asking their Father in heaven for a hand. He sees us in our need and delights to help us.
“Nothing is impossible with God.” ~ Luke 1:37
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ Anatole France