She came to be known as Gretchen and despite some major spinal problems and a vet that recommended she be put to sleep, we decided to try and save her. My wife was really the one; she just has a way with animals and she was the one to break the ice and win Gretchie's trust.
This wonderful dog responded to love and returned it one hundred fold and she ended up living a great and active life while she was with us. She became the fetch champion, always greeting us with a ball in her mouth and a wagging tail. It was not until she was ten that her spinal issues returned with a vengeance, resulting in paralysis in her hind quarters which eliminated her ability to walk.
We found her one morning unable to get up, dragging herself by her front paws trying to come and greet us. She was also in pain and we couldn't bear to watch her suffer and decided it was the time to let her go. It was one of the saddest days on the farm and we buried her in a place of honor near the fence where she would bark at deer and other critters who would come by to visit periodically in the nearby pasture.
And I think to myself, what a joy and what a life we would have missed if she had died on that busy city street those years ago, unloved and unwanted. We were blessed by her presence and she knew that she had a home where she mattered.
So I would urge anyone who has a dog to remember that you have a commitment to the animal when you bring it home. A dog or any pet for that matter is not a toy or a fad; it's a living and breathing gift from God and is worthy of care and love. Take your responsibility seriously and you will never regret it. He doesn't expect you to take it lightly.
As Mahatma Gandhi said many years ago, "The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by how it treats its animals". And for each of us as individuals, it's also a pretty good indication of the quality of our individual character. Act accordingly, you'll always be glad that you did for the rewards and great memories will astonish you.
Animals: Truly a Gift From God.
From the author of Honey, We Shoulda' Bought the Ark, a story of our life with animals on a small rural farm. Now available at amazon.com/author/jamesdick or outskirtspress.com/honeyweshouldaboughttheark.