Monday, December 17, 2012

Too many shepherds

4:06 p.m. Today's project was to get out early, after exercising and devotions, and find our daughter's German shepherd puppy Jazzlyn, missing overnight. Last night, she and our Labrador Retriever didn't come when I called them in for their half hour of indoor visiting, which includes their much-anticipated Milk Bone. I went out in the backyard and heard distant barking. They'll generally come back when I call them in, unless they can't get back in the way they went out. I then spotted the torn- off fence slat in the fence adjoining the backyard of the neighbor next door.

So I put on my jacket, grabbed a leash and flashlight, and made my first stop on the driveway next door. Sure enough, there was Jada, sitting at the wrought iron side gate where I've picked them up before. I did call for Jazzlyn, but wasted no time returning home and crating Jada in our garage. I set out again, calling the puppy at the gate, but with no luck.

Dogs certainly aren't people, but they are family members. And scriptures such as Psalm 36:6,

O LORD, You preserve man and beast. and Psalm 50:22, Every beast of the forest is Mine, demonstrate that God cares about animals. And Jesus said in Matthew 10:29b of sparrows, not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.

Scripture tells us to care for our lowly companions and laborers in Proverbs 12:10: A righteous man regards the life of his beast. so I needed to keep looking around the neighborhood last night. Two men down the street said they'd seen two big dogs on Canyon Crest Drive, so I circled around the tract, and as I came back, by the median, and it was deja vu--there was a dead German Shepherd!. (Our other lab, Bailey, was struck and killed last year in the same spot).

I pulled over, put on my emergency flashers, and examined the dead dog. It was a female, but had no collar, and had a large old scar. She had more fuzzy tan fur than Jazzlyn and shorter legs. But it was dark, and the flashlight was not very bright. So, unconvinced either way, I drove around the local streets once more and came home.

This morning, in the almost-light, I put Jada on her tie out and fed her. I heard barking, so went out again and there was a shepherd poking her head through the slat!! "Jazzlyn! Come on, come over here!!! C'mon, girl, come get some breakfast!" But she backed away, angry and fearful. Gee, that was odd, like seeing her one ear folded over. I texted my daughter the news. When I went back out, I realized it was the rear neighbor's shepherd puppy, texted him and he fetched her home. In response to my disappointed text to my daughter, she wrote, "the dead one must be Jazzlyn." I wouldn't give up, and just sought to either receive closure if she's dead; or hope if it was a different dog.

So in the bright light I drove over to look at that dead dog again.  NOT our Jazzlyn. Maybe someone picked her up and will call my daughter and son-in-law whose number is on her tag. Or they'll hear from Animal Control for some hefty fines as I well know! Or, despicably, someone just stole her.

With all that Steve is suffering now, and the very real possibility that his end is near, perhaps looking for a lost dog seems trivial, and having our other son-in-law Nick repair the fence, while I went to Target to return a gift do not seem to be urgent. But getting out and taking care of business is the way God made me, and having household matters taken care of, facilitated my visit with Steve today.

Serious paperwork was signed here at the house--my authorization for Hospice to transport Steve for continued IV medications, breathing treatments and a swallowing eval at a skilled nursing facility near Cal Baptist University for 5 days. Then he will return to live at Raincross with a hospice attendant in addition to the many caregivers there. Hospice also will not resuscitate him should he die, which was his wish. If  Steve dramatically improves, with his swallowing, especially, the hospice order can be rescinded by me at any time.

And blessedly, after hearing my daughter teach a message at the Young Adult Christmas Outreach at 6 p.m., I'll open my door to Jeff and Monica Tomchek, 34-year friends who also are lay counselors at Harvest Christian Fellowship. Monica will be wrapping Christmas gifts for me too!

Lord, be my guide, leader, friend and comforter tonight!

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