At 3:00 a.m., I was outside under a clear starry sky, bundled up and carrying a flashlight and two plastic bags. Tagging at my heels were two eight-week-old German shepherd puppies that needed to go to the “bathroom”—at 3:00 in the morning!
I was roused from a peaceful sleep at the sound of their whimpering. As much as I wanted to stay in my nice warm bed, I knew that if I didn’t get up, I would have a very messy, smelly dog crate awaiting me in the morning. So I got up, bundled up, and took the puppies out.
I used my flashlight to find the mounds of you-know-what and my plastic bags to pick it up and throw it away. After about 15 minutes outside, I called the puppies to come back inside, gave them a drink of water, and put them back in their dog crate.
Soon the puppies were asleep again, and I went back to the comfort of my cozy bed. At 6:00 a.m., my husband rose to the puppies’ whimpering and took them out for another round. He then brought them in and fed them. They were hungry and their little tails wagged happily as they devoured their food. At 6:30, after their breakfast, my son had his turn to take the puppies out for yet another potty session.
See, our family really wanted dogs. For as long as the kids can remember, they have been asking for a dog. My husband wanted two, so we have two. The kids were so excited the day we brought the tiny puppies home. They were six weeks old and very cute. The “men” of the family got to name the boy puppy, and the girls named the girl puppy (Hoss and Luna, respectively).
But they had worms and fleas; they peed, puked, and pooped in the house. My daughter got poop on her when she was trying to take them outside. You should have seen her freak out! For a few weeks, our household was in shambles. Pretty much every spare moment was spent cleaning up after the puppies, bathing the puppies, feeding the puppies, and taking them outside. Furniture was moved to accommodate the puppy crate; blankets were reassigned to them. We spent a fair bit in veterinarian fees for Hoss and Luna, not to mention collars, leashes, feeding bowls, and puppy food, treats, and toys. I tell you what, these puppies were cause for a whole lot of hoopla!
After a few weeks of puppy madness, we had a family meeting to talk about the dogs. Now that the kids knew what it meant to be pet owners, my husband and I clearly explained to them that we got Hoss and Luna for them, not so that we, their parents, could find something else to fill up our time. The kids agreed and we brainstormed ideas for how to best care for our dogs.
We all knew that even if it meant less free time, even if it meant less money would be available for other things, even if it meant a lot of work, even if it meant getting up in the middle of the night (thanks, Mom!), even if it meant doing gross things like cleaning up dog poop, even if it would take a lot of time to train them, we wanted the puppies.
We wanted them, because we knew that if we invested in them now by training and caring for them, in a few months our dogs would have grown into companions, protectors, and playmates. The investment was worth it.
In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus teaches us about prayer and how to not be afraid to ask God for our needs. He says, “If your child asks you for bread, would you give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, would you give him a snake? So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”1
Obviously, our kids are not parents, but in caring for Hoss and Luna, they have taken on a “parenting” role. As much work and hassle as this “parenting” is, they love Hoss and Luna and are always looking out for them. If the kids think the puppies need something, they do their best to get it for them.
Hoss and Luna are doing something more than providing companionship to our family. They are also illustrations of how much God wants to help us, care for us, and provide our needs. He wants the best for us, just like we want our puppies to have the best little doggy lives they can. We want them to thrive, to be healthy, to feel secure, to learn, and to have fun. God wants all those things for us, too!
“How much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?”
If you have a need, ask God for it. Even if you have a want, ask God for it. Remember that you are even more precious to God than a child is to his or her parents. Ask, and if it’s good for you, and within His plan for your life, God will give it to you.
- Matthew 7:9–11 NLT