Meet Dazie Chew Chew…
My family of four was going through a rough time – all for different reasons. We love dogs so we decided to visit our local Pets Mart to get some free pet hugs and comfort on adoption day. My son Chad and Dazie become BFF'S as soon as they laid eyes on each other. As a 1-year old puppy – she was beyond adorable! That day, our family of 4 became 5!
As most rescue stories start, it wasn’t a happy one. She was thrown out of a moving car on a highway. A kindhearted soul saw it happening and brought her to the ‘Almost Home Foundation’. A sweet lady fostered her for weeks before we met her. She saw red flags with her and was she right! We had challenges galore. She was starved and had lost the will to eat. She was quiet – no barks to be heard! She was afraid of tight spaces – the crate was an epic failure! The mere sight of a broom had her running into a different room. She was afraid of men, loud voices and the basement. She was curious about everything and afraid of it all at the same time. Let’s face it, like Dazie we all have baggage. She was a constant reminder to our family that God adopts us into His family through Jesus, in spite of the size of our baggage (Ephesians 1:5).
In the months and years that followed our love and patience towards her overshadowed her insecurities. That’s also my story. It took a while but God’s unexplainable love continues to make me whole from my past, which gives me the freedom to explore who God has designed me to be (1 John 4:18). Dazie was no longer the quiet, non-responsive dog we brought home. We discovered she was expensive with double disc surgeries and constant visits to the vets. She couldn’t handle temperature extremes. She would lie in front of wall vents to cool down or warm-up. She enjoyed her own Posturepedic mattress – double layers - but she preferred ours! She hated getting wet. Her bark was 100 times louder than her ‘bite’. She slept and opened Christmas gifts like a human. She was a horsepower at the dog park – dogs bigger than she would roll over in defeat. When we settled in bed at night to read a book and unwind she would climb into bed with us and slip under the covers. She would take a deep sigh as she rested her chin on our ankles – that sweet moment never failed to wash over us with peace and comfort.
She had spunk and her curiosity got her into constant trouble. She fought with a skunk, got sprayed (multiple times) and won. She hated the sound of the UPS truck driving down the street, and one day decided to play ‘chicken’ with it. They collided. To our amazement she bounced right back, bound into the open door of the truck, and kissed the driver, who thought he had killed her. Our walks were never 'walks' – she sniffed her way through miles of pavement, always alert, waiting to pounce on any four-legged creature that dared to cross her path. While on a walk, she gracefully leaped and caught a bird in flight! She caught a mole, killed it and left it for us on our back porch. She once jumped up on the counter, ate five bags of hotdog buns and got sick. Her shenanigans had natural consequences but she was relentless to try again! I don’t know about you but like Dazie, I’m a slow learner when it comes to not repeating mistakes! Dazie’s shenanigans reminded me of what the Apostle Paul said, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” I can relate! I’m glad that I can never outdo God’s patience when my curiosities get me into trouble or when I fail (Numbers 14:18).
What amazed me most was her uncanny emotional intelligence. She had this profound sense of intuition about her family. It was as if she could see into our hearts and bypass all of our mixed up, confused thinking, our uncertainties and qualms, our plans and plotting our worries and concerns—and reach us on a much purer level. Loud voices scared her – she would shake like a leaf. That didn’t stop her from walking up to us and kissing us when we argued. I’m not sure how she did it –she battled everything we battled as a family - depression, anxiety, allergies, infections, and even cancer. Words often fail us when we try to make ourselves known to others. She didn’t need words – she just understood. Her empathy levels were off the charts and that’s why she was a best friend to each of us. As humans, we want to be known and she knew us. She deepened our realization of how it feels to be known by our Creator –God knows every single thought and detail about us (Psalm 139:1-6).
It’s often difficult to feel unconditionally loved by others in this world. Dazie WAS unconditional love! She was a daily reminder of what God’s unconditional love feels like. In spite of how I feel in the middle of my mistakes and shortcomings, God never separates me from Him (Romans 8:38-39). His kind of love is beyond humbling and it never fails to awestruck me. Dazie wagged her tail every time she saw us – no matter what mood she or we were in. She gave us big kisses, even when she got yelled at and we disappointed her. She instantly forgave no matter how we behaved towards her. She was abused by her first owners- she had every right to hold a grudge – she didn’t. She trusted and loved everyone that walked through our door (not a good watchdog!).
On my days off she would follow me around but when it was time she would leave my side and eagerly position herself on top of the window seat to wait for my husband or kids to come home. She sensed time and it was always perfect. As she neared her 13th birthday, she was slowly losing her ability to use one of her legs…cancer got her. It didn’t slow her down. She continued to embrace life with the same vigor and zeal while we scrambled to figure out how we were going to live life without her. We prayed hard for a miracle but we also knew the heartache of adopting her was that we would outlive her. As she neared the last few weeks of her life, she grew more attached to us. A week before she passed, instead of leaving me to sit at the window to wait for Charles, she moved up beside me and leaned her weight into me. I sat down on the floor, held her and bawled. I opened my eyes and met hers. They were eyes with a message. She was letting me know that it was going to be okay no matter what. She changed her pattern for an hour to let me know – I have no doubt. I really don’t know how dogs know. It’s one of God’s great mysteries – and I will no doubt learn more about it when I see God, who eagerly awaits my homecoming. The bond of love and devotion between dogs and humans crosses the bounds of any other species – that’s what makes them more than pets. We thank God for His perfect timing! Dazie was a perfect member of our family who entered our lives when all four of us needed it the most.
Now, as we settle in bed at night to read a book we miss her climbing into bed with us, and slipping underneath the covers. Her deep sigh and her chin on our ankles will forever be missed. Her loss is a constant heartache. I know it will diminish in time, but what she was to us and what we experienced about God will not!