Monday, June 21, 2010

Welcoming Obadiah

There are many ways to grieve the loss of a pet. Some people choose to grieve until they’re ready for another one. I prefer to cry on the fur of a new puppy. 
I knew it was time when I woke up Sunday morning to an eerily quiet house with an Isaiah-sized vacuum. It was too much for my soul to bear. After experiencing the grace of worship, I broke down when I returned to an empty home. I had spotted a puppy on the Humane Society website with that certain look in his eyes. Hours later, he was in my arms. 
I’ve named him Obadiah after the minor prophet whose name means “servant or worshiper of the Lord.” He’s a four-month-old Labrador/Hound mix who weighs about 25 pounds, but he will quickly grow into his name. In the meantime, he’s all puppy. He runs with an awkward gate and trips over his long tail. He tumbles about the yard and chews on everything in sight and tries so hard to be a good boy, especially when I scold him for peeing in my house again. 
Last night I scooped up Obadiah on my lap because pretty soon he will be too big to fit. As I cuddled him, I started telling stories about his big brother Isaiah and the tears flowed freely. Obadiah nuzzled under my neck, burrowed his head under my chin, and started to lick the tears off my cheeks.  
I think I will take the risk of love again. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Isaiah Thomas Schubert, 8 July 2005 - 19 June 2010

A piece of my heart shattered this morning when my beloved dog, Isaiah, dashed across Kessler Boulevard and was struck by a car. He died on the way to the animal hospital.
With a larger-than-life presence, Isaiah lit up my world with his joy and energy. He lived each moment with eagerness and openness. He enjoyed running on the towpath; romping with his cousins and friends; praying for a Greenie; getting loved on by church people; snuggling with his best bud, Claude; and trash-talking his “Mama” Holly. He would do anything for peanut butter, bread, rawhide bones, and carrots, never recognizing when he reached his limit. 
Isaiah was the life of any party and always strove to be the center of attention. Many times we had to remind him that it was not all about him, especially as he chased squirrels and peed on hostas. He spent many family gatherings and friends’ parties tethered to a leash because he could not control his excitement. 
That excitement was accompanied by an ornery gleam in his eye.  You’ve heard before about his antics, which included swallowing rat poison, chewing rugs, tearing screens, peeing on laundry, decimating eight leashes, ruining electrical cords, pouncing on doors, and receiving months of behavior therapy.  
For as much as Isaiah was hard-headed, he was loving, especially to young children and older adults. For as much as he frustrated me, he provided a listening ear, a comforting nudge, and a reassuring presence that I will treasure for the rest of my days. 
I’ve cried more today than I can remember in a long time. I’ve also been more thankful than ever that when God fashioned creation, God saw to it to put these crazy creatures called dogs in our lives to love us, to stretch us, to care for us, and sometimes even to break our hearts.