The day of departure was drawing near and Ziggy, our aging Rottweiler was losing strength and mobility in her legs. The doggie doc encouraged me to “give it a little more time” as he believed she could turn a corner and recover enough to live a good while longer.

When your family grows up, it also grows apart. Everyone has busy and varied schedules. This was a rare and special family trip to the dunes planned, with all our motor toys, where most of my family would be present. My husband, kids, parents, in-laws, and some friends were all looking forward to a great time together. A couple days before the trip, God whispered in my ear that I should stay home.

How could I expect a dog sitter to deal with special needs and possible complications? Would anyone care as much or be as attentive as I to her pain and basic necessities? Huh uh. So I reluctantly announced my decision to stay home. My husband felt terrible but the vacation wouldn’t happen if he stayed home because he was in charge of bringing the base RV and biggest toy. I encouraged him to go ahead with the trip as planned. I know the Lord loves animals because they are one of his most precious creations and a gift to his children. John 1:3 says,

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

The first night was rough because she was having a lot of pain and could only stand up with my help. I didn’t get much sleep and prayed fervently for her sudden improvement. But God’s response was one of mercy, not healing. The next day she went into a rapid decline and by evening was unable to get up, stand or even walk without help. Lifting a 100 pound dog from the floor, then partially carrying her outside is as difficult as it sounds. I had to call on kind friends about every two hours all through the night to come help me take her outside for potty breaks. She was hurting and exhausted. I knew it was her last night and that her misery would soon be over.

In the morning I lay on the floor, nose-to-nose, looking into her eyes as the vet administered the concoction that would end her suffering. I stroked her face and spoke of all her favorite things, “You’ll have treats, go for walks, go for rides and go swimming.” She gazed back into my face and responded with familiar expressions (albeit subdued) until the light was gone, and so was she.

It was brutally painful and I hated it…but I wouldn’t have traded it for a month of family vacation. I comforted her, loved her, and stood by her until her last moment. God had me there for “such a time as this.” The rest of the family, especially my husband, was protected from having to see her suffer and I was blessed to be there to make a crucial decision and stay with her until her life was finished.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you,” Psalm 32:8.

I’m grateful for God’s whispered guidance and so glad I listened and obeyed, for it would have all been much different if I had left Ziggy in someone else’s charge. Has He been whispering to you lately? What might you miss if you don’t listen?

Copyright Diane Markins. Used by permission.