House or home?

By Helen Guilford

I have a trivet that says, “House is not a home without a dog.” I guess that’s pretty much my opinion as well.

I do love dogs! My first dog who was really my own was a b-i-g dog – a Great Dane! Dad got her for me but we lived at the county home and she soon became everybody’s pet. Mom worried that she might lean against one of the elderly residents and cause that person to fall.

But Lady seemed to understand and that never occurred. She loved everybody – all except one neighbor man. We never knew why but Lady did NOT like him. She would escort him on his walk to/from work keeping him off our lawn. Even when he walked clear to the corner without cutting across out lawn, she saw him home.

There have been many dogs in my life since that – some were my own, others I fostered. I loved every one of them. None were harder for me to get to love than Bebe, my current fest friend. And that was through no fault of her own. It is her stature. She’s a little dog! I tell people she still thinks she might grow into a real dog, but that just “ain’t gonna’” happen. Still, eventually she did steal a place in my heart as well as my home.

I guess I’m one of those who believe a house is not a home without a dog.

Since my country property sold, I’ve made several trips past it to see what changes were being made on the outside. The first thing I noticed was the one surviving lilac bush at the end of the drive was gone. Then I saw all the shrubs had been removed. I knew of the plan to remove the shrubs because I had asked the buyer if I should do my usual fall trimming. “No,” he answered, “the kids plan for a more modern appearance and will pull all the shrubs.”

Next, I observed a kids’ plastic slide that had been in my neighbor’s yard was now dead-center of “my” back yard. Mine? We had been three months getting to a closing date and it was no longer mine, but seeing the slide surprised me. It looks like it belongs there.

More recently I was pleased to see two Australian shepherds in the dog yard. Yes, to my way of thinking, that cemented the fact – a family now lives there. The house is truly a home.

I was acquainted with the dogs and glad to see them there. They need the security of the dog fence as one of them is nearly deaf and the other one nearly blind. I had put in a four-foot chain link fence. It was finished on a Thursday evening and on Friday afternoon I was asked to foster Bebe – a 20-pound Chihuahua mix! This is the first time it has held “real” dogs.

Now, I can attest – the house is a home because it has dogs. All the changes I’ve seen speak of different residents and none of them bothered me at all, but seeing two challenged dogs safely contained just simple did my heart good!

I am frequently asked if our dogs will be in heaven with us. My answer I believe is God-given, “If you are not happy in heaven without your dog, yes, he or she will be there because there is no unhappiness in heaven.”

The question is, “Will YOU be there?” If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, yes, you will be there, too.” If you are reading this, it is still not too late.

By Helen Guilford