Just a little dog. But a much loved, little dog.
I didn’t know it then, of course, but these were the last pictures I took of our Cooper dog.
My farmer man found him curled up over at the farm on Saturday evening. He looked like he was sleeping. In a sense I suppose he was. But sleeping to never waken here again.
We are very thankful that we had him. We wouldn’t have missed the days. But it hurts and leaves an ache and we miss him.
And Renae says “He’s going to be so cute running to meet us when we get to heaven.” Yes, dear! He will. But I know she misses him when she goes out to feed the pets. Now she just has the cats.
And Tucker doesn’t say much, but when I ask “Do you miss Cooper?” he answers “Yes.”
They loved him a lot. He loved them a lot, right back. He is missed.
And me? I miss him. And so does my farmer man. I’m not head-over-heels about animals, but I’ve loved both the little dogs we’ve had.
I find myself looking out the window, wondering where Cooper is. Then I catch myself. Often he would be curled up in the yard or sitting on the swing on the porch or barking at the turkeys or cows in his brave, commanding, I’m-conquering-the-world way.
I pull in the lane and I look to see if Cooper is coming or if he’s popping out from the end of the porch.
It was fun to watch him. It made me laugh to hear him bark, intent on some rabbit’s trail. I loved watching him with my children. He was such a happy, perfect, farmy beagle!
Just a little dog. Yet, tears slide down my cheeks all the same.
To mourn, to feel sad, is to have loved.
To never have loved would be to miss out. Even if it meant protection from a hurting heart and sorrow. To never have loved would be a much worse kind of hurt.
Death is an enemy. Yet, it is always a sobering reminder to hold each day as the precious gift it is. To hug your people close.
We do not know when it may be the last time we snap a photo.
I don’t like these reminders, yet I’m glad for the lesson from them. I so soon forget, even though I know. Even though I’m reminded. I forget and I fail and I fumble and I fret and I frown. And in it all, my faithful Father finds me.
He catches my tears in the sorrow and He says, “I know your heart hurts. Even over little dogs.” He prompts me in my selfishness and my frowns and says, “I know you are fretful. Find peace in me. Capture the moments. Notice the beauty. I made them for you.”
Right now we mourn. We think about the many, many people and families saying good-bye to dear people in their lives. Sorrowing over the loss of siblings or babies or spouses or parents. We think of the many people gathered in hospitals around the bed of someone near and dear, who is struggling against sickness or debilitating disease. We feel their pain.
Life will never be without struggles and pain and separation and death. There will always be problems and cares and deep disappointments.
But we have a promise!
John 16. Read it.
It says these words in verse 22, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
Oh, to see Jesus!
And verse 33 tells us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
He has overcome. He has defeated death. I’m so glad.
We can cling to these promises and settle them deep in us. They reach out to us in the tears. Because the tears are there and it’s ok. We need to mourn and it’s ok to cry.
Even over little dogs. This little dog has made me smile a lot. This little dog has taught me many lessons. This little dog had big heart and deep devotion.
Our dog, Cooper.