Dave says, “Inevitable, Mom!” He’s right, of course.
It was time. When Sarah returned from her last couple of trips to Camp, I realized that she missed all her doggie camper buddies. All the coming and going. Extra people to love her. And swim time!
I couldn’t quite figure out how we would manage a pool right now.
Then, I heard a story. A five-year old Newfie just arrived in foster care. Badly neglected. Itchy. Tiny. And very, very hungry.
Among the countless things in the world I can’t fix (You go ahead and fill in the blanks!) here was one I could.
Her official rescue name is Scarlette. At our house, she’s Phoebe. Phoebe, Jr. to be exact. You see, in addition to being badly neglected, itchy, tiny, and very, very hungry, she is stunningly sweet and optimistic. Hopeful, even. It’s kind of hard to imagine how.
Chained in a back yard. Covered in fleas, gnawing at her skin. Scar tissue in her eyes. Thin like those plastic dog skeletons for Halloween. And yet, she greets everybody with chin kisses. Her tail wags almost constantly. She and Sarah are getting along really well.
Do you remember the scene from the movie, Mary Poppins? It would be time for the old guy to fire off the canon and everybody would jump to hold on to the dishes and brace the furniture and still things would fly around the room. Well, yesterday they learned to play! A total of a little more than 200 pounds of happy dogs rolling around and crashing into things. And loving every minute!
So, why Phoebe? Well, our first Newfie’s name was Phoebe, hence the “Jr.” Both of them named for the passage in the Bible that reads, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe…that you may receive her…and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many…” (Romans, 16: 1-2 ). And both of them wanting only to be greeted in kindness.
She’s a fast learner, too, this little one. And, as hungry as she is, she’s already got the hang of sitting before her food is served. Sarah can hold it for four questions before being released. Phoebe is up to two questions. (We’re still working on the face washing thing!)
When Sarah makes her customary check of the perimeter out back, Phoebe trots along behind, not quite sure of what’s happening, but glad to join in. We’ve already done the vet thing. A bath is on the agenda for this week. And a planning meeting with one of our Dog School buddies.
Does all this newness complicate the fact that I have two books racing toward publication dates? Of course. It also reminds me that, if grandmothers are in charge of hope, there’s a lot of encouragement around us for the hard days, if only we notice it, and a big chunk of that might just come from our 4-footed friends.
My favorite soundtrack for life is whispering in the background as I write. A duet of two big dogs, snoring softly. Content. And Sarah’s already coaching Phoebe on blog writing. I’m sure you’ll hear from her soon!
Until then, from St. Julian of Norwich, “And all shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of thing shall be well.”