Dogs Are a Chick's Best Friend

Church4Chicks founder Shelley Hendrix's grief over the death of her beloved dog Buddy was overcome by giving another dog a new home.

This time last week, I was grieving my brown-eyed best friend of more than 15 years. I knew it was going to be difficult to say good-bye to Buddy, especially after all we've been through together; I just didn't realize it would be as difficult as it has been. I've always thought to myself that people who got this hung up on a pet were a little off, if you know what I mean, but now I am one of those people and I realize how "on" those others were all along. Now, I have heard people say it's like losing a child, and because I have lost four babies in pregnancy, I would have to say this isn't the case for me. If one of my living children were to pass on now, well, I don't even want to imagine that. I know I wouldn't be able to function for quite some time; but nevertheless, this has been a tough loss.

Things that used to bug me were now making me cry. I vacuumed the house and of course the vacuum sucked up a whole mess of Buddy's wiry black hair that he was known for shedding all over the place. Now when I find these little "dust-buddies" I want to save them all! I've never seen popcorn on the floor for very long, because if it ever fell, Buddy was quick to grab it up. I saw a pile of popcorn on the floor in the kitchen where Jackson had been eating some. The pile of popcorn made me cry. (Aren't you glad you don't live with me?)

On Thursday evening, after barely getting any work done and crying over just about everything (like when I dropped a piece of popcorn and immediately looked for Buddy to come munch it up, and then realized he wouldn't, and then I couldn't eat anymore popcorn), I decided to do something really, really...um...stupid.

I decided to see if there were any dogs looking for a home. 

I didn't really anticipate finding one, but I thought that maybe seeing other dogs who needed homes would give me some cheer in thinking about maybe...down the road...possibly...getting another dog for our family. I definitely didn't expect to see an online ad for a 13 week yellow Labrador Retriever for adoption.

She was so stinking cute, so I just had to text the number given and see if she was still available. With her being so cute, I figured someone had already claimed her. The woman on the other end of the phone texted me back right away and said she was still available. We talked on the phone and decided we'd meet up the next day. 

Now, I still didn't really think I was going to be getting a dog. I thought that maybe we'd just take one step at a time and see about the possibility of maybe getting a dog. 

I was a little hesitant, but since I had just made a tentative appointment to meet her and on my anniversary no less, I figured I should probably let Stephen in on what had taken place while he was in another room for a few minutes. (That'll teach him to ever leave me alone for five minutes-ha ha!) He's such a good friend. Although he wasn't enthusiastic about changing our plans for the next day around or the idea of getting a puppy (lots of work after having a very easy going adult dog for so long), I think he was just happy that I could string more than a few words together coherently without sobbing. So, he agreed to think about maybe going to see her the next day. 

As I thought about her I prayed about her, too. I also let my sister in on my little secret and asked her to pray as well. (Sisters are the BEST for secrets!) I admit that I don't trust God perfectly, but I havelearned to trust Him at least enough to know that if something isn't good for me, I need to surrender to His will and rest in the knowledge that He will not withhold any good thing from me--if it wasn't meant to be, I'd be okay. I might pout a little, but I'd be okay.

Several things happened on Friday that seemed to be confirmation that this was our dog: 

1) Stephen woke up excited to meet her.

2) I asked what he thought of the name "Annie" for our anniversary and he liked it.

3) I wondered what "Annie" meant, so I looked it up. It means "Grace" and "Favor"--anyone who knows us, knows that this defines in one word our journey with our Heavenly Father and sums up in one word what our lives and ministries are all about. I couldn't believe it when I saw this! GRACE!

4) We have been renting this house, so we have a landlord that wasn't all fired up about us even bringing Buddy with us, so we knew that the decision about us bringing a puppy home was really not fully up to us. Stephen contacted him, and there was zero hesitation. He said to go for it!

5) We met her.

Annie fits in really well here. She is a lot of work right now--but what three month old isn't, right? She has been such good medicine for this chick's heart. I feel sadness mixed with joy when she senses Buddy in the house. She keeps looking for the other dog because in so many ways, He is still here. I told her she has some pretty big paws to follow--but not to fill. She gets to be herself with us.

When we got Annie, we were told she was a yellow lab, but it didn't take too long for us to see the Beagle in her...or hear it. She is so stinking' annoying and adorable at the same time when she sticks her nose straight up in the air and howls. She doesn't do it often, thank God, but when she does, I can't help but chuckle to myself, and then do everything I can to get her to knock it off. She would have made poor Buddy go nuts. Jackson calls her "Annie McBarksAlot."

So, here we are. One week with our Annie and looking forward to many years of fun and friendship. Oh, and Milkbones. Good grief this chick loves a Milkbone!

One friend put it this way, which meant so much to me, "Buddy brought you and Annie together." Indeed he did.

Thanks Buddy! I sure do miss you old friend.


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