Wednesday, May 28, 2014

For Taylor. You will be missed.

    Proverbs 17:17
    friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. 
                                 Feb, 11, 2004 to May 28, 2014
Sometimes there are those souls that come into your life that make a profound impact. In 2003, there was a beautiful little girl named Taylor that had a huge impact on many lives by her heart and love for Jesus. She died of cancer at a young age. Her death impacted our family. 

In 2004, we moved to Texas for my first pastorate. My daughter, Heather, was feeling very down. Della and I prayed about how to comfort her. 

Soon, we saw an ad in the paper from a veterinarian. It seems she had a brood of puppies to give away for free. Someone had left them on her clinic doorstep. So, she doctored them up and gave them away. Della (my wife), showed me the ad. 

So, a couple of days later, I found myself at the clinic looking at puppies. They were all beautiful, but which one should I get? I prayed and asked the Lord to have the one he wanted for Heather to come to me. So, I stooped down within a few feet of them. I didn't reach out. I just waited.

Soon, this little black pup came shyly up to me and licked my hand. I chose her. I remember she was about the size of half my forearm and hand. She was a loving little thing. I took her home. We thought she was just for Heather. It turned out she was for all of us.

The girls named her Taylor in honor of the little girl in Mississippi that had died of cancer. From the start, she was a joy. My daughter, Erica, had a large Pooh Bear. Taylor was MUCH smaller than that stuffed animal. But, somehow she managed to drag that thing around- much to Erica's dismay.

Heather reminded me of Taylor's first birthday. Heather had made a cake for all of us (including Taylor). She bent down and was holding the cake between her and Taylor so Della could take a picture. About the time the camera flashed, Taylor was licking icing off the side of the cake.

Erica reminded me of how Taylor had her first set of pups- ten of them! When the pups grew a little, there was one that Taylor was especially fond of- Tony. Erica gave Taylor a boiled egg (no shell on it) and she took off running around the yard, with her pups chasing. She dropped the egg on the ground in such a way that Tony was the first to get to it. You could almost see her smile.

One of my favorite memories is when she was a pup. There was a picnic table there. The light from the back porch would shine across her, when she stood on the table. The shadow was cast on the large tree nearby. And Taylor would see the motion of her wagging tail and bark at her own shadow. We got many a laugh out of that.

She was a very good momma. In fact, when we gave away all but three of them, she spent days looking around the yard for her missing brood. 

She enjoyed playing with me, as well. Sometimes, when we were in the first home she lived in with us, I would come home to find the "gifts" the potty training Taylor had left for grandpa in his office. This made the girls howl with laughter at my agitation.

But, there were also other times. Like when I left for work early in the morning. Many times, she would act as the guardian of the house. We lived in some rough areas at times, and her growl ran off many an intruder. 

She was also very sensitive. And she LOVED the Holy Ghost. She enjoyed many a prayer session with her grandma Della. Because of this, she was especially close to Della (and vice-versa). When times were hard, and Della needed a listening ear, or a good hug, Taylor was there. Sometimes, Taylor would sense grandma's heartache and would show up to be with her- even after she lost her sight.

Recently, Heather (who's married now) had our granddaughter Ella. When Aaron (her marine husband) had to be gone overnight, Taylor would lay at Heather's bedroom door as if to protect her and Ella. 

About a year ago, Taylor was bitten twice by a moccasin. The venom took it's toll. It damaged her insides and caused her to go blind. She lost a lot of weight. Finally, she developed cancer and we had to put her down. 

There has never been a better friend to a family than Taylor. Truly, as the passage in Proverbs above says, she loved at all times. Sick or healthy, with plenty or little. She loved us all and would've given her life to protect us all. Some might say, "Well, you can always get another dog." But, those that say that didn't know Taylor. 

You can replace a dog. You cannot replace part of your family. We love you, Taylor. And, if there are dogs in heaven (and there's no scripture that says there ain't), we have no doubt that you're there- playing with our son, Samuel, who died before he was born, and kissing Jesus. We look forward to seeing you when we get there.