Originally published Sunday, 22 June 2014.
My dog walks with a limp.
When my husband and I rescued Star, a pit bull mix, in 2012 -- we thought we knew what we were getting ourselves into. The Escondido Humane Society said Star was most likely hit by a car, and they had to remove the ball of his left hip. He literally went from the operating room table into foster care into our home.
But it almost didn't happen.
He was the "Star" dog. Everybody loved his personality. Super happy. Loved playing ball. He was previously adopted out as a puppy only to be returned by his original owner two years later. Almost immediately, he was adopted out again but returned two weeks later, and that's when I found his picture online (see below).
I couldn't get his sweet little face with a puckering lower lip out of my head. Marc humored me and we went to go look at him. I loved that Star was one of the few dogs allowed to have a ball in his kennel. So we took him outside to play. He was always wanting to play. Definitely seemed like a happy dog. After we played with him, I just knew I wanted him.
But we we were going on vacation.
I was certain he wouldn't be there when we got back. So a few days later I went back to say my final goodbyes. But he was gone. I started freaking out, but the ladies up front told me that they found an injury, and were -- in fact -- operating on him right then. I told the lady when we would be back from vacation, and she said that was the day Star would be ready for adoption. That's when I knew Star was meant for us!
I told Marc how excited I was that God heard my prayers.
Before I went to see him, I asked people to pray that he was still available.
I couldn't wait to get back from vacation.
I wasn't even worried about his injury. When Marc and I went to adopt him, we saw his left foot dangling and half of his body shaved. I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?" He was still the sweet boy with the sweet face I adored. And because I had struggled with health issues most of my life -- I took him on as a challenge. We nursed him back to health and he eventually regained the use of his left leg. The vet told us to get him back to a healthy weight, which we did -- and today we are enjoying his dynamic "Star" like personality.
But then we discovered he had allergies. We were not told he had any food allergies, so this came as a surprise. He couldn't stop itching himself. It breaks my heart that Star had to take Prednisone since that's what I took for my skin (and made me gain 100 pounds in 10 months).
I can't help but chuckle at the fact that I adopted a dog who with similar issues as me.
At first it made me mad.
I had to stop walking him around the block because the sun made him itch. I adopted Star to help me with exercise daily, and it was frustrating to take him out for short walks only.
But my least favorite issue Star has is doggy eczema.
Also like me, Star has eczema. It stinks because we have to constantly watch his feet -- because that's where dogs sweat and sweat spreads rashes. Since Star doesn't have an off switch -- he doesn't realize he's spreading his doggy eczema. I am frustrated because I have a dog who is full of life and energy who can't play with toys or go for long walks.
Star's skin issues forced me to rest.
I don't know about you, but I have a hard time resting. I always tend to feel guilty or ashamed for spending so much time on self-care. Last year, when I found out my writing dreams died, I was struggling with going off Lexapro, and dealing with Star's health issues.
I'm so glad that I stopped trying to hold it altogether.
I'm proud of myself for going back on my medication instead of spiraling out of control, and for taking Star to the vet.
As much as it's hard to admit we need help, we do!
"I never would have guessed in a thousand years my journey to rest would be paved with so much anguish...There comes a time when it takes more faith to fall apart with Jesus than to stay strong enough to stop it from happening...Sometimes it's hard to know the difference between how you feel and where God wants you to go. Sometimes the harder path to rest is following your heart and holding on to nothing but Jesus" (Finding Spiritual Whitespace).
To reverse my fears about owning a dog with the same needs as I do -- I an Instagram account for Star to remind me of how special he is. He's such a happy dog, and no matter what -- he will always take a nap with me when I don't feel well. You can follow his journey here: http://instagram.com/pitbull_star.
Question: What lesson(s) has God taught you through your pet(s)?