Even in the Little Things
Updated: Mar 22, 2019
Our daughter, Maddie, in her sweet, relentless way, kept pestering us about getting a puppy. She really wanted a puppy (actually, she's ALWAYS really wanting a puppy), but we knew in a little over a year she would be graduating and probably leaving home. Robert and I had to decide if we actually wanted a puppy.
I'll be honest. I've gone through some moments of grieving because Robert and I didn't have children together. Having married later in life, I knew we didn't want to start over with a baby, but that didn't take away my desire to have a child with him. I told Robert if the need for a baby was ever too strong, I would at least need a puppy.
So, the conversation about seriously getting a puppy began.
With our school and work schedules, we believed, between the three of us, we could take care of a puppy. Our chocolate lab, Emma, was almost 12 years old, but still active and healthy. We knew she would be a great role model for a new puppy. The brainstorming sessions made it a little more real and a little more exciting.
Next, we had to decide what type of dog we would like. A Boxer was our first choice. When Robert was around 12 years old and living in Germany, he inherited a female Boxer named Toby. It was obvious how much she meant to him, and the stories about her were incredible! She was a smart and loyal dog. Robert loved the athleticism of Boxers, and I could picture taking our Boxer on all our hikes. I also liked the idea of a dog with a docked tail. I'd spent many hours wiping blood off walls because of Emma's "happy tail." If you're not sure what that is, just Google happy tail injury. It's not much fun.
Now that Maddie knew our desired breed, she was on it ... searching the web for Boxer breeders and available Boxer puppies. Robert and I visualized our new little puppy. He would be a male brindle Boxer with very little white. Definitely no white on the face. Maddie found Kloud 9 Boxers & Pugs, breeders in Colorado. We spent hours on the couch with the laptop between us, looking through all the pictures on their website. There were no available Boxer puppies, so we looked at upcoming litters and found only one litter with availability to place a deposit. The female was brindle with a dark mask, but the male was flashy fawn--lots of white. We decided to take our chances on getting a brindle out of that litter. We were the second deposit, so we'd have second pick from the litter.
I still remember looking at each other with great anticipation and a little hesitancy as my finger hovered over the keyboard, deciding whether to commit to making the deposit. My finger pressed the enter button. We committed. Our Boxer puppy who would be born sometime in the month of August 2016.
Robert and I were on vacation in Santa Fe, NM when we received an email from Kloud 9. It was sad news. Three female puppies had been born, but only one survived. Not wanting a female, we made a choice between two other pairings for our deposit to be moved to. This time the female was a flashy fawn and the male was brindle. The puppies were anticipated to arrive in April 2017 dependent upon breeding. We all felt slight disappointment about having to wait longer, but we were trusting in God's timing. Being a teacher, the thought of getting a puppy at the beginning of summer break was desirable.
I must confess from that point on I was a bit obsessive about checking the Kloud 9 site. I monitored the different pairings as they were bred and watched for estimated due dates. I waited with excitement for the puppy pictures to be posted. It was all part of dreaming about our own puppy.
In February, I began watching for a due date to be posted on our pairing. This would mean the breeding was successful and the female was expecting. Days turned into weeks, and there was no due date. We weren't sure what was happening, but we knew the date for puppy pick up was getting later and later. I could feel all the summer bonding and training time slipping away. In mid-March, I contacted the breeders for an update. The female hadn't gone into heat yet, so there was no possibility of breeding until that happened. My flesh screamed to control the situation. I wanted my summer with our new puppy. Surrendering control, or my perceived sense of control, was difficult, but the timing of this female boxer going into heat was COMPLETELY out of my control!
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
A verse I've clung to many times and here was another time presenting itself.
I began praying ... Lord, I know You love me, and I know you care deeply for me. I know You even care about the little things. In the whole scheme of things, getting a puppy may seem like a little thing to some, but you know what this puppy means to me and Robert. You know the desires of our hearts. I don't have to tell you how perfect it would be to pick up a puppy at the very beginning of summer. This is really what I want, so if it is in Your will, please let this happen.
Spring break rolled around, the end of March, and Robert and I were blessed to have the week off together. Here is my journal entry for March 26, 2017:
Driving to Arizona with Robert on his 57th birthday! Heading to Sedona, AZ for some warmth (hopefully), hiking and biking (possibly) - but definitely looking forward to just getting away and spending time together. Lord, I know You are at work. So many questions I am bringing to You, and it brings me to tears.
I had mentioned to Robert that a new Boxer pairing had been added to the list of upcoming litters, but hadn't said much more than that. The puppies had been born on March 13th and puppy pictures would be posted on March 28th. I started watching days before the 28th, though, because I had noticed (as I obsessively visited the site) that sometimes the pictures were posted earlier than stated. Not this time, though.
On the morning of the 28th, we were getting ready for our second day of mountain bike riding. I checked the site before we left, but still no puppy pictures. The best way to share how the rest of our day went is through what I wrote in my journal:
Our vacation has had some wonderful moments and some tough ones. The mountain biking proved challenging for me. I definitely loved much of it, but today I did lots of walking my bike. It proved to be hard for me and Robert together. We had a sweet time and talk afterward, though. And then I went on Kloud 9 and saw there was an available male puppy! We emailed immediately. At first we were told we were too late. He had already been reserved. But, not long afterward we were told he became available again! Zugspitze will be coming home to us on May 8th! I can't say how excited we are and what a perfect moment it was at the end of a rough day. Thank you, Father.
We just finished a delicious Mexican dinner at an extremely popular place. It was well worth the wait! We got dressed up and celebrated Robert's birthday and our puppy!
As I reflect back on this time, Proverbs 19:21 is the verse that keeps coming to me: Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
There were so many plans and details we had worked out ... but they didn't work out. Thank the Lord!
One of the most important changes for us before getting Zug was losing our Emma after Thanksgiving 2016. We would have never known or dreamed her health would go downhill so quickly. Shortly after receiving the news that we would not be picking up a puppy in October, Emma began having grand mal seizures. Only God knew how difficult that season was going to be on her and on us. Having a puppy in the mix would have been extremely difficult. During those months, I was able to focus on Emma, share sweet time with her, and tell her thank you for everything she had been to me and for me.
Without control over the breeding of the litter we were moved to, we'd still be waiting for our puppy to be born. That litter is due around August 9th. We would have gotten that puppy in October, the same as the first litter, and I would have missed the most incredible opportunity of bonding and training Zug during this summer.
There are some funny little things about this story, too. Reminders of how much God loves us and wants to give us His best. I wanted a baby with Robert, but since I couldn't, the Lord blessed me with a puppy who acts just like my baby! From the very first day, Zug has allowed me to cuddle him and cradle him like a baby. He still tries very hard to fit on my lap and lay his chin across my shoulder or neck. He lets me kiss him and touch him all over his face. It is such a treasured feeling to know God made Zug this way ... just for me.
And remember how Robert and I had our ideas of the perfect Boxer? We didn't get a brindle boxer. We got a fawn boxer.
I think that's so we can say our four-legged furry baby has his dad's hair color ... and I think he has my eyes.