Poochie Prayers


“I’ve seen a few of the test results and your dog’s desperately ill.” Hearing those words from the critical care clinic veterinarian and realizing that my dog might not live pierced my heart. “I’ll be back in just a minute,” she said, leaving the room.

A little after seven on a recent Sunday morning, I had just returned from the everyday trek with wild child, Roo Roo. Before I left for our early morning walk I had fed my other doggie companion, short-legged Petey Poo his usual breakfast. Now, when I opened the back door and went to let him in, so I could feed Roo, I found Petey stretched out on the back patio, breakfast, his early morning delight, untouched. I crooned and called, he rolled his eyes, his legs twitched, but he couldn’t get up. I scooped the little guy in my arms and breaking a few speed laws drove him to an emergency animal clinic.

We were led to an examining room and I laid Petey on a table. “We slept together last night. You were fine,” I said, rubbing behind his ears. I kept talking to the little guy as tests were being run and waiting for the results to see what would happen.

“You pressed your nose against my neck. Every now and then a tail thumped my leg or a wet, warm lick crossed my cheek.” I pulled him close and whispered in his ears, “Hold on, Petey Poo.”

The door opened, the vet came back in. “He’s in critical condition,” she said. I.V.s were put in. Petey’s dark brown eyes touched mine, they were filled with fear and apprehension. I had no comfort to give, and soon he was wheeled away to an unknown fate. 

If he makes it through the day and night, I’ll take him to his regular vet tomorrow, I thought. Closer to home so I can go over, hold him, take some of his fear into my own being, and give back what reassurance I can.

Leaving the clinic, my heart heavy, I felt a desperate need to go to church. I had a little less than an hour to get home, dress and make it on time; once again I may have pushed a few speed laws. Hurriedly dressing as I had already done a couple of times this morning, I made it to my seat as the choir began to walk down the aisle. “I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise.” I drew in a deep breath. “He formed the creatures with his Word.”

No matter what happens in the next few days, carry those words with you I told myself, and for your own protection keep a few things in mind. We love our dogs, but they have short lives. We, their people, need to steel ourselves, as best we can for a certain, sure loss. When the sermon was over, I stopped to shake hands with our minister Chuck Poole and whispered, “Would you say a poochie prayer for my sick dog?”

Chuck bent over and touched my shoulders. “What’s the dog’s name?”

“Petey Poo,” I said.

I left church that morning with hope for Petey’s recovery, a glimmer of serenity, and the strength I would need, no matter what might happen.

For the rest of the day, words from our opening hymn played a chord in my heart. “While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in thy care, And everywhere that we can be, though, God art present there.”

Without my dogs and the precious memories I have, this would be a lonely time of life. Just like my people, my dogs and I will always be together. They are in His care.

Early the next morning, I went to the emergency pet clinic, not sure if Petey would be alive or had passed away. When they brought my little fellow out, tail wagging he stood on shaky legs, his heart and longing to go with me in his eyes. “Oh Petey Poo, we have so much to be thankful for,” I said, holding him in my arms and settling him into the car. I carried Petey to his veterinarian, Dr. Kenny Jeanes, so I could go over and pet the little fellow while he was being treated.

“Ever in your care.”

And he got better. And he came home.

Another Sunday rolled around and after the service once again I stopped to speak to our pastor. Without realizing I was doing it, my hand was digging into an itchy place on my head as I told Chuck how thankful I was that I went to a church where I could ask the minister to pray for a dog.

I bowed my head in gratitude and looked down.

A gold shoe glittered on my right foot. My dog-walking, torn black tennis shoe, with the edge of a polished big toenail pushing through the torn leather adorned the left.

Every dog ought to have a few fleas, and sometimes it seems, I have to do a lot of scratching, I thought.

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