The Particular Trials of Pup and Her Family
Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won't
make its tail wag. Or so the saying goes.
My two sons Arty and Aaron and I have the terrible
distinction of having watched our dog get run over by a pick-up truck.
My heart fell when it happened. My first reaction was to empty my anger into
a phrase I first heard on a playground in 1969. Some would say I swore. But I
loved the dog and was caught off guard by the sight of its dishevelment. I'm
waiting for God to upgrade my stress-induced vocabulary. He is not hurrying.
It looked as if the truck had run right over our little dog.
Our dog hobbled off the road, yelping. Then she flopped onto the grass.
"Oh, my God, God loves you, God loves you." This is what I
whimpered into her ear, with her head on my lap.
The boys stood behind me. They were frozen and mute. The driver had stopped
and was walking toward us.
"She came out of nowhere," he said.
I knew it hadn't been his fault, but I was still mad at him. But instead of
saying something mean to him (like I wanted to), I stroked our pet's head. This
softened me and I told the driver it was okay. Then I waited for our pet to die.
I at least wanted our pet to die loved. I wanted her last conscious moment to be
one of being petted and being talked softly to.
But she kept living. One minute. Then two minutes. Then three.
One of her back legs was hanging by a few tendons and skin. I know this is
terrible and I hate to write about it. But even now I have spared some detail.
I soon realized that the truck had only rolled over Pup's leg. (Sorry, but we
had named this animal, "Pup." It's just that we had so many animals
that we'd run out of names. We did always say, "Here, pup!" and she
always came. Besides, she really was a pup when we found her. So that's what we
Pup was panting. She was obviously in pain, but she was living and seemed
bent on that. Things were different now. Now there was something we could do.
I asked the pick-up man, "Can you take us to the vet?" His wife was
with him and they had an enclosed truck bed. I thought we could better lay Pup
there and make her comfortable, rather than trying to contort her into my small
car. Besides, I knew we had to keep her still.
The man said, "Sure."
I ran to the barn to get the red, plastic sled that we pulled the kids on in
the winter. I got a blanket, too. I wrapped Pup the best I could in the blanket,
then moved her to the sled. The man helped me lift Pup onto the truck bed. Arty,
Aaron and I jumped in with her.
The boys were mesmerized. They were too young to cry about it. So they just
stuck with me, and with what I was doing. That's what most kids will do.
Before the man got into the truck, he said, "I have to stop at the bank
first. Do you mind if we stop at the bank? I have to get there before two
I couldn't believe that the man wanted to stop at the bank. I wanted to say,
"Yes, I mind if we stop at the bank." But that's not all. I considered
prefacing the statement with, "hell." "Hell" is not a bad
word by itself, unless followed by either "yes," or "no," at
which point, it is true, the user becomes a swearer.
I wanted to say that, but at the last second I thought better of it. What I
did end up saying was, "Whatever.."
So off we went to the bank.
There we were at the bank. So where was our man? What was taking him so long
in the blasted house of currency? Was he taking out a loan? Refinancing his
house? Applying for a job? Was he robbing the bank? No, that was
impossible. He could not have been robbing the bank, I knew. Had he been robbing
the bank, he would have been out by now.
Pup was panting louder than ever and letting out an occasional squeal of
pain. I talked to her, but it was getting to be too much. I was getting ready to
"lose it." I thought then that I should pray. I told the boys,
"Boys, I think we have to pray."
Now, I don't believe in "claiming" this and that and telling God
that He better do whatever we ask Him. There are no verses in Scripture I know
of that promise to get a man out of a bank so that another man can get his
injured dog to the veterinarian's in Sole, eleven miles away. But there are many
verses that speak of how God comforts hurting people, and how He operates all
things according to His own will in spite of how things look, and how He forgives
people and even justifies them for cussing and worrying so much.
So I said, "Let's pray, boys." And I prayed: "Dear Father, we
don't know what's going on here. We have no idea what this man, our man,
is doing in the bank. Lord, if it be your will, please help this man come out
of the bank. Please look after our dog. You know all things. All we can do is
trust You, that You are doing the right thing. Stay with us. Thank you, and
amen." At this time, the man came out of the bank.
Down the highway to Sole then, and it was bumpy as heck. The pick-up truck
did not have shock-absorbers. I was beginning to wonder if it had tires. Pup
suffered because of this. We all did. We looked at each other, the boys and I,
and, "What next?" was the unspoken phrase that passed between us. This
phrase jumped the generation gap and made us one. Our answer soon came because
the man, our man, pulled off to the side of the road in Daisy.
The first three questions that came to my mind were 1) why is our man
pulling off to the side of the road in Daisy? 2) doesn't our man know that the
veterinarian's office is in Sole, not Daisy, and 3) why have we assumed that our
man can even drive, seeing as how he has already run over our dog?
Our man poked his head in the back to tell us: "We've got some kind of
carburetor problem. This happened yesterday. Hang on."
Up went the hood.
Hang on, our man had said. "Hang on" were his exact words.
So it happened yesterday, did it?
Pup's eyes were closed now. She tried to jump up, but I kept her down. I had
to use force because Pup's pain was making her desperate. I did this for her own
good. Who could blame her for wanting to jump? But who could blame me for doing
what I had to do? Pup's leg was a terrible sight. I couldn't believe it.
The carburetor problem, I mean.
The situation was growing absurd. But the boys wouldn't have understood that
word, so I used the word "ridiculous," and I used it liberally. The
boys seemed to understand that word. "Boys, this is ridiculous."
I kept saying, and we found fellowship around that word. This confirmed my
conclusion that the boys understood it.
I was beginning to feel desperate, like Pup. I knew it was time to pray
again. "Bow your heads, boys," I said. "It's time to pray
"Lord," I prayed, "we don't know what You're doing. Only You
could possibly know what You're doing, or what could possibly be the problem
with this man's carburetor. All we can do is trust You. This situation seems
ridiculous to us, but we have to believe that You do all things well. You love
Pup more than we do. Please comfort us, and please comfort Pup. Amen." Down
came the hood, and we were rolling again.
We finally rolled into Sole. It was only then I was convinced that the truck
had tires. It seemed like the next day when we pulled into the veterinarian's
office. Really, it was an hour and twenty minutes from the time of the accident.
Over the next few days, the veterinarian tried to pin Pup's leg. It wasn't
taking. Pup was more miserable than ever. Her happy eyes were wishing for death.
The tail that once wagged without ceasing, now lay still.
"I think we should amputate," the vet said two days later.
"What would you do if it was your dog," I asked him.
It was a hard decision. I hated the decision. But amputation was the only
thing left to do. After agonizing over it for a day, I said, "Yes. Get it
off. Take the leg off."
The veterinarian was amazed at the difference the operation made in Pup. The
sparkle came immediately back into those big brown eyes. It has never left.
The tail that had stopped wagging for a brief, dark time in this animal's
life, now knocks Precious Moment figurines from low shelves. And Pup can chase
the fastest cat we own. You ought to see her go. The cat, I mean.
God really does do all things well. He operates all things in accord with His
will, which is not so ridiculous after all when you wait to see how things go.