Friday, March 09, 2007

My Tribute to a Great Dog!


This morning my family said good-bye to our beloved Tom. We found out yesterday what we feared, that Tom was not going to make it. His cancer was too advanced to make other options viable, so we decided to love him enough to let him go. The gifts this 100 lbs. of canine joy has lavished on this family are too numerous to name, but I do thank God for the many ways in which Tom was probably responsible for more smiles on my father's face than anything else. I also thank God for how much comfort and companionship he brought my mother since my father's passing, and how he taught me and my brother (his official owner) new and improved lessons on the meaning of unconditional and unwavering love. I will miss the connection Tom gave me to my Dave, his brother and litter mate, who died over four years ago. I am still amazed at how powerful and painful the love between a person and a dog can be. Those who have never (or ever will) loved a dog can never understand it, and to those who do, I don't need to explain it. All I know is that God put a lot of joy in this four-legged, fur-covered canine messenger of grace!

In I Corinthians 13:7,8 Paul writes in reference to love, "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." One of my favorite definitions is "unconquerable" good will. Love did persevere today, even though it hurt. This is why my brother agreed, in spite of the heartache and pain and grief it would cause him (and us), to let Tom go peacefully to sleep. Cancer did not have the last word, love did. And it was love that still wagged that old, tired dog's tail as I said "good-bye" and stroked his head for the last time as if he knew that what was happening to him was, in fact, the best thing, the most loving thing we could do. Nobody deserves a good dog, each one is a gift from a God who obvious loves to lavish unexpected sources of love, laughter and joy upon His children, and my family and I are grateful to have been recipients of two such gifts in Tom and Dave. They were extraordinary.

Will dogs go to heaven? I don't know. I do know, however, that it is unwise to put limits on God's love, grace and generosity both here and in the hereafter. All I know is that as I write this, I can picture Tom sitting in one of heaven's unbelievably beautiful fields beside his brother Dave as they quiver in anticipation patiently waiting their turn for the next tennis ball tossed their way by my father.

Please be in prayer for all of us, but especially for my mom and brother as they adjust to a big hole left by the departure of a big dog with a big heart!

Note: Anne Lamott understands the power of dogs in an article she wrote for Here is the link:

It's entitle Dog Day: The death of a beloved friend makes plain the beauty of this Anne Lamott.


Gene said...

Okay, I didn't tear up until you mentioned Tom and Dave playing ball in heaven with your dad. What an awesome thought! I believe dogs go to heaven. God made them for our enjoyment. Why wouldn't he want us to have them for eternity?

Cats? I'm not sure about cats...

Fran V. Erickson said...

Hi Andy: A beautiful tribute to Dave and Tom. Our hearts feel the love, and our minds remember with joy our own four legged family members we laid to rest and whom I suspect are now romping in those rolling, green fields with Tom and Dave. Luv to you and your family. God bless, Fran & Florence