I believe that animals and gardening play a huge part in our lives. More than what people might think. I mean there are studies that show how gardening and spending time with pets lowers blood pressure and improve our health. And why? I think it is because we were created to commune with God and our original jobs to do as humans, were to tend the garden of Eden and care for and enjoy the animals.
On our farm we take caring for our animals very seriously. We have quite a few of them. A long time ago I saw what having animals and caring for them does for special needs children and for myself even. It has always been a beneficial thing for us. From teaching compassion to showing love and making eye contact (for my autistic son) to teaching responsibility.
All of my children that can take daily care of a dog, has a small “therapy” dog to love and care for. The dogs have not been trained or taken to classes to become an official "therapy dog". But none the less they are just that. My children love their dogs so much and their dogs in turn love them unconditionally. The dogs don’t care about my children’s disabilities and just give and receive love.
Carolyn and her dog Princess
Can you teach a dog to read? Carolyn and Princess doing home school.
Each child and their dog are so bonded that one child cannot take care of another child’s dog. Even if I try to take one of their dogs out to potty they will not go for me or anyone else, usually just for their child. They protect their child and are there for their child.
Zeke with his dog Roo at the beach, reading to her a few years ago and at supper
As my children do their home schooling their dogs lay on my kids laps or patiently lay beside them, several in little doggie strollers. When my kids eat, the dogs cry and cry if not by their child. And when I have to correct one of my kids or they are sad about something they go to their dog and cuddle them and wet the dogs fur with their tears being comforted by their dog. Very often I hear the dog whining in empathy with them. Many people think we have too many dogs. But for me these dogs are a very important part of my children’s lives to bring out the best in them. They are well worth my effort to have to go behind each child daily and make sure they have been cared for properly. And in turn they are loved deeply by their little owners.
William with his dog Will at the beach
William and his dog Will
Elizabeth’s dog is quite old. We aren’t sure the dogs exact age because we rescued it years ago. But the Vet guesses Cookie is at least 10 years old now. About four months ago the poor little thing ended up with what we thought was glaucoma in one eye. For months we have been taking it to the vet and treating it various ways unsuccessfully. The poor thing has been unhappy and in pain for months. I hate to see it. We are not wealthy people to put a whole lot more money into treating this dog and keep having no success and see the little thing suffer. And it has come to the time when we had to make the discussion to either have her put down or let them do something with the eye itself. My daughter said she wanted her dog to just feel well again and be with her. She said that her dog has been her “therapy dog” for so many years that she would now be her dogs “therapy person” and help it no matter what it took. So very early this morning as my crying daughter dropped of her little dog to have surgery to remove the eye. (she is blind in it now anyways from all the swelling) Elizabeth did it bravely and with a heart that she will love and care for her dog just as her dog has loved and cared for her, no matter what disability she will have. That blessed my heart so much.
Elizabeth and her dog Cookie a few years ago.
Many of you know that Elizabeth was a child that did not have natural love for anyone but herself most of her life. She was the last one of my children to ever be gifted a dog. As we just didn’t know if she would love it and be good to it. We gave it to her after a spell of very long good behavior and knowing that I would have to supervise her closely with it. And all I can say is that God did use this little dog help Elizabeth learn to love. We saw an immediate change in her. But over time she grew compassion and is now doing so much better in her relationships with her siblings and even Tim and I. And I mean this dog was not the fix of it all. God has done a work and continues to do one in Elizabeth’s heart. Praise God. But this, today, showed me how far she has come. How much she does love her little dog Cookie. To be willing to take care of her dog no matter how she came out of the surgery.
I love you Elizabeth. You are my little flower bud that was wrapped up so tight that you wouldn’t let anyone in. Using your thorns to protect you. And petal by petal I am witnessing you unfurl into the most beautiful rose.
Sadly once the vet got in to do the eye he found the reason why it never responded to treatment. The sweet dog had a tumor in that eye that went all the way back into the brain. He had to put her down.
One of the hardest things in life is watching our children grieve. There is nothing we can do to help them thru it or make it feel better. When we have loved deep and hard we hurt so deep and hard. It hurts so bad as our bodies were never made by God to feel grief. So it is painful.
Good-bye sweet Cookie and thank you for being such a good girl for Elizabeth.
Please keep my sweet Elizabeth in your thoughts and prayers as she grieves the loss of her dog. And May God be with you always.
Praise God He never leaves us or forsakes us in all we go thru.
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.