It was when my husband passed away that my children first suggested that I get a dog.  One month later it came up again when my house was broken into.  Although I love dogs, I did not want to make any major changes in my life right then.  More recently I put it out to Spirit that I was ready for a dog, but that I was going to wait for the perfect one to come to me.  I was going to rescue rather than purchase as there are so many out there in need of a home.  I began making a long list of all of the attributes that I would want in a dog.  I would prefer older to younger, medium size versus large, calm, well trained, content to be home alone when I was at work, would enjoy regular trips to the mountains and would be sweet and loving with the grandkids. 

A few weeks ago there was a posting on FB that said something like, your dog is waiting for you at the Humane Society.  Hmmm…is that a sign?  Then a day or two later, a posting for the Mega Pet Adoption event at the fairgrounds where they would rehome hundreds of pets. Hmmm…sign two?

Then last week I went to one of my communities to drop off brochures.  As I walked toward the building the thought popped into my head to ask my daughters if they would want to go to that event with me.  Just outside of the front door, a lady sat with a little dog under her chair, enjoying the afternoon.  She smiled and we said hello.  When I came out of the building, her little dog came out from under her chair and stretched to reach me.  I asked what the dog’s name was and she replied that it was Judy and assured me that it was fine to pet her.  

So how long have you had Judy, I asked?  Well, my children insisted that I get her when my husband passed away. I just giggled to myself.  Hmmm…third sign!  I told her, that’s so funny, my children have been wanting me to get a dog since my husband passed away.  Just do it, she said. She went on to tell me how much Judy has helped her in those difficult times.  Just do it, you will be so glad you did, was her advice. Do it, you will never be sorry. She repeated that many times during our brief visit.

Soon it was time for me to get back to work.  I told her that if I got a dog, that I would take a picture and bring it back to show her.  She was happy about that.  I began to walk away then turned back and asked her what her name was.  She replied, Jean.  Oh my gosh I said, my name is Jean too!  We both had a laugh and off I went. 

As I walked back to my car, I was going over it in my head.  OK, so you are standing in front of a woman, also named Jean who has a dog that she got after her husband died because her children thought it would be helpful.  And she is telling you over and over how her dog helped her through that period of grief and after. Hmmm…sign number 4? 

So yes, I called my daughters and they said that they would love to go to the pet adoption event with me.  And that is exactly what we did last Sunday.  As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a volunteer named Becky.  She asked what we were looking for and I began going through my long list of what I thought was important.  When I finished she asked if she could introduce me to “someone” and off she went.  When she returned she had a large brindle dog with white feet and markings.  His name was Sam and he was so sweet!  Lily, my four year old granddaughter who is usually afraid, connected with  him immediately.  He was gentle and calm the entire time.  Becky told us that he was about 6 ½ but they did not know his history.  He has many broken and missing teeth, some skin issues that were resolving and heartworm.  She was excited to tell us how she had him in a Halloween costume and paraded him about all day on Saturday and he didn’t seem to mind a bit. She was afraid he wouldn’t be adopted because no one really noticed him in his crate.  He just laid there, so people passed him by.  After spending some time with him she took him back to his crate and we took a walk about to look at the other dogs. 

The girls and I talked about the pros and cons of adopting Sam.  I was concerned about future vet bills when hearing about his health issues but I just couldn’t walk away from him.  He had been in a kennel for 3 months and he was so sad.  Most of the other dogs were barking and going crazy while he just laid quietly.  Well, so much for my list of qualifications! I had considered so carefully what I thought would be best, but in the end, I had left it up to God.  I was reminded that sometimes gifts come wrapped in packages that we don’t expect.  Sam was certainly a different package, but God has placed him in my care.  He is my charge and we will help each other heal.

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