For several years, I wanted to get a dog. The time was never right. I will also admit to being afraid of getting the wrong dog. I spent time with dogs that were just right and so perfect and I keep asking, “How did you know this dog would be perfect for you?” Mostly the answer I got was, “you can’t be certain.” My sister-in-law said, “you will look it in the eye and you will know.” So, I started praying about finding the perfect dog for our family. What would our perfect dog be? Three things it must be: smart, devoted and house trained. We started to talk about a German Shepherd rescue. I got books at the one-dollar book sale. I asked friends if they had a training philosophy. The girls were getting older and we had a bigger house and a bigger piece of property. It was time to get serious. Then we found ourselves in foster care taking care of children who had dog related trauma and I was so glad we did not already have a dog. A German Shepherd of all things would have been a disaster just then. When that was over, and the house was so quiet that it hurt me, I started to crave the company of a dog. At just the right time our neighbor asked us if we could watch her dog while she took her son to college. We did not know this dog very well at all, but we were about to fall in love. He is sweet and mild and does not like to be left alone. Not at all. Not ever. Since we homeschool it worked out perfectly. We had so much fun with him and loved him and he loved us. Well, he really loved me most of all. He refused to go for a walk with anyone but me and if I left on an errand, he would wait and look out the window until I came back and when he saw me he would make the sweetest sigh of relief and come to the door and wait for me to open it. I was hooked and we started saying we will get a dog when we get back from England. We have been back from England for a few months now and we do not have a dog. We talked about starting our search, but we realized it adds a complicated layer and expense to traveling. We kept our neighbors sweet dog again in February and again he was loving and easy to live with. One morning as I walked him I realized I was walking my perfect dog. He was my answer to prayer. He came for his first visit at just the right time and here he was again to tell me that, it is not the right time for us to get a dog of our own. I can be blessed and content having a sweet dog that lives in my neighborhood who is thrilled to see me every time we meet. Who sometimes comes and sits at my front door until his mom rings the doorbell, so I can say hi before he finishes greeting the rest of the neighborhood. Sometimes if the garage door is open he comes right in the cat door to find me. I can love him and still take long trips any time I want.
It may sound silly to talk about praying for the perfect dog, but it is true that I found my prayer satisfied that day. Does God even care whether I get a dog or not? There are a million little things we could pray about. So many in fact that if we prayed about everything we would not have time to actually do anything at all. There is a real danger in over spiritualizing everything. However, not to accept that a God who has called himself our Father is concerned with even the small things of our lives, is also an error. The true thing that happened on that ordinary day is that I looked that dog in the eye and I knew God heard me when I said I wanted the perfect dog and I walked in gratitude.