We lost our Rat Terrier, Skeeter, last night. He probably had cancer, but when he got sick he declined very fast and thankfully didn’t have to suffer.
Skeeter was born in December 1995 and went to be with his companion, Shellie, October 16, 2009. He would have been 14, that’s almost 98 in dog years.
Skeeter was a contrary little fellow, and not everyone loved him as my daughter Rachael and I did. When we got him he had been abused and like so many abused children, he carried the emotional scars all his life. Those scars sometimes made him not trust people and seem unlovable. But he did love us in his own way and even thought he could be unpredictable, he never growled, sniped, bit or even turned his lip at my grandson Christopher. Not even when Christopher tried to crawl into Skeeter’s kennel with him – a sacred place to Skeeter and not to be broached by humans.
Skeeter loved to play fetch and would bring you his toy to throw as long as you would throw it. He’d drop it at your feet and if you didn’t reach to pick it up in a timely manner, he bark as if to remind you it was your turn.
The strongest attachment he made was with an older woman – our dog Shellie, a lab mix. They would sleep next to each other and howled at the fire truck sirens together. As Shellie aged and seemed to have trouble getting around, he would stay by her side as if to be her guide. When Shellie died, Skeeter went into a depression for several days and would not eat or even come out of his kennel.
The first time Skeeter fell into the swimming pool, I ran to get him out because he was sinking and about to drown. Instead of licking me with gratitude, he tried to bite me. Not because he was angry at me, but because he was scared and he lashed out at the closest thing to him. He just wanted to get to his safe place and dry off by himself. We later learned that Rat Terriers are the only breed of dog that do not have an instinct to swim or dog paddle.
What God showed me is we are often the same way. We react out of hurt or anger and in so doing hurt the very person who loves us the most. Instead of receiving the love and help we are being offered, we reject it and end up feeling alone and wet. We’ll even lash out at God as if He caused our hurt, as if He pushed us into the pool. But He is the one who truly loves us most, warts flaws, hang-ups and all.
1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Warts and all God loves us.
Thank you Skeeter for teaching me the blessing of loving the unlovable.
Peace and blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ,