Friday, April 12, 2013

Pets on the Field

To get a dog or to not get a dog?  That was the question over 13 years ago when we got our first dog in Brazil.  I remember thinking about what we would do with the little black puppy when it came time for our furlough.

But that dear dog added protection to our house like no night guard or electric fence could ever have provided.  Blackie-with-the-One-White-Spot struck fear in the hearts of passerbyers with his ferious bark and his swift bite.  Yes, he would bite anyone that came in the gate that didn't look just right, usually with a good nip on the ankle.  In Brazil that's all that was needed to keep the wrong people out and the right people in our high walled and gated yard.  People would ask what breed of dog was he.  I would always reply - Black.

He gave protection for our house and joy to our kids.  But the question still remained, What about furlough? Blackie ended up living with a man who gave him daily baths and car rides.  He learned several new tricks and yes, he bite several new people.  Just little nips between friends.  He lived behind a church members house in a closed in yard and survived his first furlough time just fine.  We all missed him the year while we were gone, but it all worked out.

Jump ahead four years to our third family furlough in the states.  This time we were to only be gone for about six months.  But now we had two dogs!  Blackie and Girl.  Who would look after two dogs?  It was decided that the dogs would stay with the house and someone would sleep in the house every night.  We were gone for 8 months and the dogs did okay.  And all our belongings were still there, howbeit a little rat eaten as rats and mice had invaded one of the rooms.  But the dogs worked hard after our return to help eliminate the little critters.  Hence Blackie survived his second furlough.

Move forward a few more years to today.  Blackie is gone.  He died last June.  He won't have to struggle through another gone-year.  Now Girl has a new playmate - Tiny, who is not little at all.  And poor me is already worrying about our next furlough scheduled for the end of the year and who will take care of my little loved ones.

Pets give us love and joy on the field,  but is it fair to have to leave them for furlough.  It's hard for them and hard for us {me}.  They give our home protection in a third world country with few police.  Well, it's one of the hard parts of missionary life.  May God keep my little critters healthy and well when I go to the States in the winter...

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