Strong emotions about a dog called Chanel and God.

I was with a dear friend when she decided it was time to put her dog down. She had had Chanel for 15 years, which is a long life, even for a 10-pound Morkie.

Chanel was the prettiest dog that I ever knew and she had a wonderful personality. I had seen, year after year, how much joy and comfort that Chanel had brought to my friend who had physical challenges herself.

With my friend I tenderly carried Chanel’s small frame to the vet. She was almost blind and her rear legs didn’t work very well – she would fall over and have trouble getting upright.

We told the vet we wanted to hold Chanel to the end. My friend held Chanel in her lap and stroked her back. She looked up at us with those big brown eyes, as we tried to stop our tears.

They put a catheter on her front leg and brought in a plate of cookies. Chanel snarfed those down speedily. Alone, we said our goodbyes through tears.

The vet came back in and injected a valium – like substance that knocked Chanel out before the lethal shot. The two injections together took only a minute.

We spent five minutes stroking her fur and trying to accept that she had gone to doggie heaven. The vet returned and carried her out on the blanket she was lying on.

My friend and I held onto each other as we exited the building. In the car we cried and cried.

On the way home, we realized, thankfully, how very professional the vet people had been.

Chanel among the bluebonnets of Texas – Easter 2022.

But that’s not the end of the story…

I had read that the way we love our dogs is similar to the way God loves us. The way we care for our puppies is the way God cares for us. If we bark too much, or pee on the floor, God may not be pleased but he still loves us. His grace covers our moral imperfections and wrong-doing.

My friend grieved for Chanel with many tears for many days. Then came a time, just a week after Chanel’s death when my friend said she didn’t feel close to God. Worse than that, due to trying circumstances, she felt like her family didn’t care for her, and that God no longer cared for her.

One evening the situation became tense. There were misunderstandings and strong words were exchanged. My friend cried and went to bed feeling lost and rejected, she said.

Not long afterward, she suddenly sat up, got out of bed, and said through tears that God had spoken to her. She was animated and clearly something big had happened.

My friend explained that she was lying in bed praying because she felt lost and that nobody cared for her. Then she heard a voice say clearly, “But I care for you.”

I asked whether it was a real voice, and she said she thought it was. She also said she thought it was Jesus speaking.

Over the years, I have encountered similar spiritual experiences – some in my own life and some in others. No question, for my friend this was a real spiritual experience. She was feeling lost and alone, and God came to her.

Soon after, I remembered how much she cared for Chanel, and then it made sense to me.
The Gray Nomad ….. The loss of a beloved pet is a good time to lift our eyes to God.
So for now you are in grief; but I will see you again, and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away from you your [great] joy.
[Gospel of John, chapter 16].

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1 year ago

Thank you Ian for a loving account of your friend’s love for her furry companion of 15 years. Also the account of your love for Chanel and the tears shed . We have many gifts from God our Heavenly Father, which bring joy into our lives; pets are just one of those wonderful gifts. I like the comparison of God’s love for us, being much like our love for our pets.

Garrick Little
Garrick Little
1 year ago

Thanks Ian for sharing this story. Dogs have the ability to fill our senses that probably rivals what is normally only experienced at the human level. Our beloved Radar who you met and I think were smitten by, had to be sent to his reward. He was named by a lady at church where my wife used to work. As a rat terrier he had large prominent ears suited to hear, I presume even a rat’s footstep. I loved to do my coyote howl for him to respond to joyfully although we never did hunt for rats. Our vets also rose to the occasion of his passing by giving us his doggie pawprints imbedded in something that looked like a big cookie (I almost sank my teeth in it by mistake).

John Korstad
John Korstad
1 year ago

Beautifully and tenderly written. I had tears in my eyes as I started reading your blog because I understand the deep emotions through personal experiences with special pets. I also appreciated and related to the still small voice from God that brought comfort and inner peace. God truly does genuinely care for each of us. God’s Shalom, John

Karen Larre
Karen Larre
1 year ago

This was a truly beautiful and inspirational story – through the tears, the sorrow and the loss…God is there!

Susan Thompson Landers
Susan Thompson Landers
1 year ago

Fur babies are family. It is so hard to let them go.

I love the analogy of our love for pets and God’s love for us.

Don Compton
Don Compton
1 year ago

Thank you, Ian, for sharing this heart rendering experience of both loss and then comfort. We all will face similar circumstances in our walk through life…and God promises to be with us during these times.

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