I got a big surprise on my birthday in 2009. We were living in Atlanta (the city in Georgia, not Texas), and I co-hosted a morning television program. My husband walked onto our set, live on the air, with a box. He handed it to me and said, “Go ahead, open it.” The box was a bit heavy, so I couldn’t imagine what he had in store. I lifted the lid and saw brown. I thought he brought a cake for the crew. Then a head popped out! A new puppy entered our lives and stole our hearts in an instant.
Sandy, after Orphan Annie’s dog, was a stray living in a tiny town that billed its pound as “not a no-kill shelter.” It was such a small place that the kennel didn’t accept credit cards. Mark didn’t have cash for the adoption fee, and there was no ATM close by. So the shelter waived the fee. Mark saw the puppy online, drove more than an hour to check her out, then kept her at our vet’s for ten days to make sure she was healthy and also to keep the surprise. Mark went to all this trouble because he knew how much I loved Daisy, who was part German shepherd and part Chow, and this little puppy was supposed to be the same mix.
He sure did surprise me. I cried on the air, I was so happy to see a little doggie with a black nose and fold-over ears.
This is what I wrote then: “Sandy feels like a teddy bear. She lays her ears back and wags her curly tail when she sees me. She’s not perfect — she’s messy — house training is a goal, not a standard yet. Her bites hurt, and she yelps loudly when we put her in her crate.
“Like Daisy did, I’m sure Sandy will teach me many lessons about God’s love, patience and persistence in the coming years.”
They say if you want a friend, get a dog. Well, that’s true. A dog is a better friend than a lot of people are. A dog can save your life, but it can’t save your soul. For that, you need the best friend out there, the one who offers a no-kill eternity, with a waived adoption fee. The biggest surprise is how much He loves you, no matter how messy you get or how loudly you yelp. Let Jesus enter your heart — he’ll change your life in an instant.