Monday, July 13, 2015

Lessons Learned From A Rescue Dog

By Niki Turner

A little more than two weeks ago I adopted another dog.
Willabea, in front, and Archie in back.

I've been looking for a rescue Westie for several years. A little girl Westie, because we're short on females at my house. Westies tend to be hard to find around here, so when I asked the random person in line behind me at Copy Copy carrying a poster for the local animal shelter if they had any Westies and she said yes, I figured something was up. (Note: Those divine connections often come with natural frustrations... it was my second trip to Copy Copy that day because I couldn't find my file on my flash drive. And our big community summer festival was that day, so traffic was insane. All this after a month of switching computers thanks to a hard drive failure, and in the midst of missing the Internet for six days after a lightning strike. Just because God orchestrates it, that doesn't mean it's going to be easy!)  

Willabea is eight-ish. She's been in and out of the shelter several times in the last four years, after coming in the first time as a stray. She's leash-trained, polite, and knows the meaning of "no," and she doesn't beg at the dinner table (meaning her manners are better than the rest of our dogs). She's also a "hot mess." When her previous owners surrendered her, she had multiple skin infections, a double ear infection, lots of missing hair, and a bedwetting problem. All possibly allergy-related.

When I went to meet her, all her hair was missing on her neck, chest, side, and rear end. I was told she would require twice daily meds for the bedwetting problem, and the ear problem, and twice-weekly baths for her skin issues, as well as a very pricey prescription dog food. When I brought her home she drained the water bowl and gave every indication she might be diabetic. But she'd climbed in my lap and licked my nose. Who can say no to that?

For the last two weeks, I've been catering to the needs of this new doggy. After 24 hours she turned up her nose at the overpriced prescription food and refused to take her pills. So I went to the grocery and bought meat and veggies to make homemade dog food, and started wrapping her pills in the fancy goat cheese spread I like for my bagels. I spent two hours poking holes in fish oil capsules to create an EFA oil blend to help her skin and coat. She itches. A lot. But if you're petting her, she stops itching, so I've spent a few midnight hours on the couch snuggling her.

And in the last two weeks I've watched her perk up. Her hair is growing back (which probably adds to her itchiness). She plays with toys now. She terrorizes my big Westie, Archie (which he needs). She's getting better, I believe. And I'm relieved. She came to me for a reason. I'm grateful for the opportunity to adopt her.

The adoption process was quite intensive. I had to sign several agreements, and pay an adoption fee (which just happened to be 1/3 of the regular fee on the day I picked her up... another coincidence? More like confirmation!) I walked out with Willabea, her fancy prescription food, her two kinds of ear drops, her fancy shampoo, and the meds to stop her incontinence problem. Her baggage. 

On the way home I stopped at PetCo and bought grain-free treats, a new doggy bed, and some toys. More baggage.

And for the last two weeks I've thought about how God says He adopted us. 

God sent him (Jesus) to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children. (Galatians 5:4)

Jesus paid our adoption fee, rescued us from our cages, and brought us home to the Father's house. He did all of that in spite of our issues. Or maybe because of them. And He has faith that we will respond to His love, and His care, and His goodness, and that we will grow and thrive in that love. And what is it that he wants for us? For us to live out the fullness of our days in joy and peace with Him, because He loves us. Unconditionally.

Sometimes in our quest to follow Jesus, to be a "good Christian" and a servant and minister of Christ, in all our daily efforts to "be better" (which isn't bad, we should work to improve ourselves in every area), but sometimes I think we forget that God chose us, just like I chose Willabea. That he chooses to love us. That he knows we're a mess, and yet He calls us His own and loves us.  He'll do everything in His power to help us, for the rest of our lives.

We all have "issues." But God, in His amazing love and mercy, takes us in with all our baggage, all our hangups, all our bad habits and failings and weaknesses, and loves us in spite of ourselves. We're adopted. And we should be proud to say so.

Blessings to you today!

Niki Turner
Sadie's Gift (2014) - Available on Amazon and Nook
Santiago Sol (2015) - Releases in October, Pelican Book Ventures
The Skiing Suitor (2015) - Releases in September, Forget-Me-Not Romance


  1. Beautiful! Congratulations to you and Willabea. What a precious story. I love how God orchestrated your meeting her, and I love the parallels between Willabea and me. Thanks for the lovely post, Niki! Keep us updated on how she's doing!

  2. Bless you for taking in a special needs rescue. All of my bebbehs are rescues, and I couldn't have paid any amount of money and gotten anything better. I think God provided them for me as He did yours for you. Isn't He wonderful? :)

    1. I was watching The Dog Whisperer this weekend and Cesar Milan said "we get the dogs we need." It's so true, and I believe God sends them... and cats, too!

    2. What a great post, Niki. I especially like how you see God's hand pulling it all together. Best wishes to you and your family - both species included. :)

    3. What a great post, Niki. I especially like how you see God's hand pulling it all together. Best wishes to you and your family - both species included. :)


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