Tuesday, December 02, 2008

One Perfect Day

Last night I called Mom around 8:30 to ask a favor, but she couldn't come to the phone; she was looking for their dog Dotty. When Mom didn't call me back by 10:30, I thought it was a little strange, but figured that she didn't get the message. Jesse told me to give her a call, but I explained that to my mom, any time the phone rings between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, it means that someone in the family has either been grievously wounded or is dead. So when my phone rang at 4:30, I knew it was bad news. Dotty was my brother Jake's dog. He got her when they moved into their house six years ago, and she's been his best friend ever since. We've taken her on every camping trip, and at Thanksgiving, we were seated around the table so that Dotty could get to me, because everyone knows I sneak her food from my plate, and she gets upset if she can't sit near me.

Two years ago or so, Dotty had a seizure and was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then, Mom and Jeff (and sometimes me) have given her two insulin shots a day. Despite their care, she developed glaucoma and became nearly blind. She had a hard time finding her way around and followed voices and shadows. Even though she was ill, she had the most amazing personality. She was sweet and loving. Dotty was the kind of dog that when you get a puppy you hope you will have. Completely devoted to her family, a little protective, and sweet. When Mia was little, she could sit on Dotty's back, and when Mia fell asleep on the floor, Dotty would curl up behind her and lay a paw over her, keeping her close.

Last night, they let Dotty outside to do her business, and somehow she lost the house. She couldn't find her way back, and Mom, Jeff, and Jake spent the entire night searching and calling for her. Jeff eventually found her a few miles away on the junction of a back road and the highway. Someone had hit her, and Dotty was killed. She was a true part of the family, and we will miss her terribly. To the person who hit her and drove away, shame on you! She had a collar with tags. There is no excuse. Jesse and I brought Charlie into bed with us last night and gave him lots of hugs. We realized that God has given us this dog to care for, and we need to be better caregivers. We haven't told the kids yet; we didn't want to send them off to school in tears. Especially Mia; this will be her first real experience with death.

If you aren't a dog person, this whole post probably seems a little strange. But if you've ever had a pet who was your best friend, you'll understand. And if you do, please say a prayer for Jake and Mia.
One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling is a powerfully moving book about how God can use all situations for good for those who believe. Two mothers each are planning one perfect day for their families, one perfect Christmas before things will change forever. For Nora Peterson, a perfect Christmas means gourmet cookies, a beautifully decorated house, and carefully purchased gifts for the last Christmas before her twin children, Christi and Charlie, are going away to college. Jenna Montgomery's perfect day is holding tight to each moment and trying to make each one matter as her daughter slowly dies while waiting for a heart transplant. One tragic accident will change how both of these women view one perfect day, and tragedy for one means rejoicing for the other. Snelling perfectly captures the pain of waiting for an organ transplant, along with the mixed emotions of while you pray for an organ for your loved one, you're praying for someone else to die. Nora's grief is also wonderfully described, as she withdraws from her family and tries to find something, anything to hold on to. Snelling doesn't take the easy way by having the two women meet and healing Nora's heart through Jenna's joy. That would be far too easy. Instead, Nora has to learn to live again, day by day, by trusting in God and having faith that His plans for her are good. Jenna also has to learn to let go of living in survival mode and starting to have dreams again. Snelling packs quite a punch in this novel; don't pass it up.

I'm running a book contest this week. If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Tamara Leigh's Faking Grace, drop me an email at christysbookblog (at) gmail (dot) com before 10 pm on Thursday, Dec. 4th. I'll announce the winner here on Friday. Good luck!