For this Dog I prayed

We got a dog. His name is Gus. He’s half lab, half dachshund (a labraweenie!) and he’s really, really great.
img_6180I’m actually surprised at how much I like him…or even L-word him? (really? Am I there already?!)

We’ve been talking about getting a dog for a long time, but it never seemed like the right time. Plus, I wondered if I really, really wanted a dog. Let’s be real: As the mom, I would be the one taking care of the dog, not the kids.

I know how much work a dog is. We had a yellow lab named Goldie when Micah and Benji were toddlers. While she was gentle and sweet with the kids, she wouldn’t play at all (we think she was abused at a previous home) and her behavior was, honestly, a nightmare.

She got in the trash, ate food out of our pantry, shredded dirty diapers on my carpet, peed and pooped in the house, and ran away constantly. Pretty soon, all Micah and Benji would say to her was “No! No!” because they heard me say it so often.

After two years, I tearfully knew that we needed to find her a new home. We drove her all the way to South Carolina to give her back to the shelter we got her from (per their request) and when we got home and I walked in my front door, I felt so much relief and peace. I was sick with shame and guilt too but I knew that we made the right decision.

That was six years ago.

After our negative dog experience, I’ve been pretty tentative about adding a dog to our family but the desire was still there, especially since Eli (2) adores dogs and Micah and Benji are already 9 years old. I wanted a dog that could grow up with them. Plus, I’ve read a lot about how having a dog can help kids who have ASD and ADHD.
img_6182And…can I be honest? I kind of wanted to redeem my last dog experience. If we got the “right dog” I hoped things could be different this time around.

So, a few months ago, we started looking around: We went to the animal shelter but after two overwhelming hours, we went home empty handed.

I spent hours Googling “retired service dog” or perusing profiles on PetFinder but felt discouraged at the steep costs (thousands of dollars) and multiple hoops to jump through (Applications! Home visits! References!).

“Nope,” I said, feeling overwhelmed. I shut down my search for a few weeks but I just couldn’t let it go.

So I prayed a silly prayer: “Lord, please help us to find the right dog, a dog that will be perfect for our family.”

And then on a Saturday morning, November 12, I was scrolling through a Facebook group and saw a picture of an adorable dog. His owner was trying to find a new home for him.

A quick glance told me that I wasn’t the only person interested: The picture already had over 50 likes and 25+ comments.

There is no way this is going to work out, I thought, but I sent the girl a private message asking about her dog.

“Yes, he’s still available,” she said, and we set up a time to meet later that afternoon.

I knew we weren’t the only ones visiting the dog that day so I very firmly told Micah and Benji not to get their hopes up.
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But after meeting him my hopes started to rise too.  I asked them a ton of questions, ticking off every box in my mind about how this dog would (or would not be) a good fit for our family.

And do you know what? Everything clicked into place.

He was house-trained and crate-trained, loves to play, doesn’t beg, doesn’t get in the trash, is a good listener, good with kids, and loves to snuggle.

Plus, the couple wanted a family to adopt him; the reason they needed to find him a new home was because they were gone all day long and couldn’t give him the attention he needed.

After a couple long conversations with Aaron,  we said yes, the couple said yes, and on November 16th, we brought Gus home to be a part of our family.

I prepared myself for the transition, the rocky start, the oh my gosh, what have we done this-was-such-a-bad-idea, for the other shoe to drop.

But I’m still waiting.
And I’m amazed.
img_6195Gus has been great.
He is cute and fun and playful. He loves to play fetch and he drops his toy like a champ. He played at the park with the boys and even went down the slides (What??).

He is gentle with Eli, even though 2-year-olds are super annoying and scary at times (also, Eli is the one with the food so I think Gus wants to keep him close).

He’s only had one accident in the house and that was my fault (“Why is the dog squatting in that weird way?” Duh.).

He is a total snuggle bug and is currently curled up next to me on the couch.

Sure, it’s been a bit more work, but the boys have been more help than I anticipated with feeding and taking him outside. It took a few days for him to acclimate to our other pets and he had a romp with one of our chickens that freaked the living daylights out of Micah (the chicken is fine) but overall, Gus has been a delight and joy.
img_6208I really love him. Whoops. There’s the L-word. I really can’t deny it.

He’s the right dog for our family; he really, really is.

I felt kind of silly praying for a dog, and I’m still shocked that we found a dog this great. God surprised me. It’s those quiet answers to prayer that remind me God is there, He is listening, and He is a Good Father who wants to give us good gifts in His perfect timing.

I’m so glad I asked.

What about you? How did your dog come into your life?
Have you ever asked God for something “silly” and he answered?
Tell me about a gift you have received in God’s perfect timing!