Ruby, our family dog, lived in two family homes during her nine years, but we always said that when we got the girls’ house she would spend her last days there loving and protecting them.
The day finally came that she arrived to the new house, “Luz y Esperanza”, and we were so eager to see the girls love her. But, much to our dismay, she was not well received. The girls didn't know how to treat her correctly--they haven't had the best examples of how to treat animals . They were mean to poor Ruby, and very much out of character, she was mean right back! We then learned that she was dying of cancer and it became clear that her time was short. We had to tell the girls that we took her to our beloved vet to take care of her in her last days.
I was so sad as she had been such a good girl, and I wanted our girls to know the unconditional love of a dog. Dogs are such great companions for children. I had recently received a testimony from a veterinarian friend about that very truth…
“We reach people by showing how the most innocent of creatures can show mercy, kindness, forgiveness, understanding and compassion in a way that is only equal to Jesus. Many children in our neighborhood only get complete love and devotion from their pets. Through those furry creatures of unconditional love, we teach the gospel of Christ, and the belief in Hope.”
I so wanted that for our girls!
Then one Saturday after their long run at the stadium, our girls spotted a litter of abandoned puppies covered in fleas and patches of missing hair. Of course they decided that one of them needed rescuing, so they picked out "their" puppy and brought her home. They named her Sophia, and they were determined I let them keep her.
I wasn’t too convinced. I was nervous they would resort to their old ways of treatment after the initial swoon ran dry. I wanted to be sure our staff was on board with the work of a puppy. But, she was so sweet and mellow I couldn’t really resist. I’m drawn to fiery girls and mellow puppies!
Our girls had much to learn about being kind to an animal. At first, they would love Sophia for a few minutes and then toss, hit or kick her aside. They didn’t know what to do with such attentive unconditional love. It was impossible not to see the parallels to their own lives and how most of them came unable to receive care, touch and love. I became even more determined to make this work, but I’m only one me, and our staff just didn’t “get it.”
But, God sent us Lauren, our newest intern, who excitedly spotted every single animal on her drive from the airport to New Hope the day she landed. We half-jokingly reminded her, "We rescue GIRLS, not animals." She laughed and said that she would convince us. Her family has several family pets, including six dogs! She was the perfect girl for the job.
I LOVE how God provides!
Her love for people and animals is perhaps unmatched by anyone I have ever met, and it has spoken volumes to our girls and staff. The girls have learned to take care of Sophia and give her the love she deserves. They feed her, bathe her, clean up after her and carry her around like a babydoll. But it isn't just the girls who have had a change in heart! Today in our staff meeting, tears were shed as they shared how precious the journey of bonding with this sweet puppy has been. Giving and receiving love from an animal is something they never imagined possible!
I look forward to the watching the love and friendship between Princess Sophia and our girls grow, and I am so excited for the ways God is working to heal the hearts of our girls.