Tuesday, December 26, 2006
My mom and dad are long-time dog lovers. My dad especially -- he can accurately describe the character traits of dogs he owned 50+ years ago. When my parents were first married, they began a love affair with beagles. Over the years they have owned and loved many, many beagles. I remember with affection Rover, Rover II, Annie, Daisy, Molly... and now Josephine (JoJo).
Dad and I got JoJo and her sister Freddie from a beagle rescue operation about 12 years ago. We went to a trailer home in the eastern part of the county, where a woman had numerous beagles and St. Bernard's (!) in and around her tiny house. JoJo was a long-limbed dog with nearly Basset Hound length ears and an extremely amiable disposition. Because of her height, she was also known as JoJo the Thief -- she could hook her paws around anything she liked that sat too close to the edge of the kitchen counter top.
This past week, JoJo became sick. My dad and brother spent a good portion of Christmas Eve in the 24-hour Emergency Vet clinic. The vet told dad that JoJo had cancer. I talked with dad on the phone between the two Christmas Eve services at my church. He cried. Yesterday, on Christmas, my mom and brother sat with JoJo as she was put to sleep.
I feel so bad about JoJo's death. This is the first Christmas since my dad's mother died. My father was raised in the stoic and non-emotive culture of North Dakota Norwegians. I think the dogs have allowed him to express his affection over the years -- and I wonder if the death of this beloved dog brings forth the grief and loss of the past years?
Scripture tells us that Christ came for the redemption of ALL creation. For my dad's sake, I pray that includes beagles.