When I was eight we had to put, Rascal, our dog down. I loved Rascal. And I begged my parents for another dog, Mom wasn’t ready for that kind of heartbreak again. So every night I prayed that God would let me have a dog. For three years I prayed this prayer. And one day, Mom came into Dad’s office and said, “I want a dog.” At the time, that moment was the happiest moment of my life. That night we found a golden retriever breeder and went to look at pups to adopt.

There were so many cute little puppies, but there was one in particular that loved my shoe laces and followed me everywhere. I loved her. We chose her and I named her Lacey. Lacey was exactly like me and she became my best friend. She followed me through some of the toughest years of my life. She was there for me when the kids at school bullied me. There for me when I had my first heartbreak. She slept with me at night and kept the nightmares at bay. She was there during my awful teenage years and the incredible lows of that time. The most heartbreaking thing about moving out when I was seventeen was that I had to leave Lacey.

My first spring semester at college my Dad called me around four in the morning. I ignored his call, I thought he had butt dialed me or something. Until he called again. He called to tell me Lacey had died. I lost it. Dad picked me up from my dorm and drove me to the vet so that I could say goodbye. I sobbed over her and tried to ignore the clumps of hair coming off of her and her stiffening body. I couldn’t understand why she had to go then. How could she go now? Why would God do this? Why now?

The following July I found myself ready for another dog. I was moving into my first apartment in a month and wanted a companion. I searched and searched and eventually found a beautiful flat-coated retriever. She had been a rescue and her current owners didn’t want her anymore. Emmy and I became inseparable. We spent quite a bit of time together and she quickly became my first “child.” A year later we moved to Athens, GA to be closer to David. Eight months later, I adopted Rosie, my next dog daughter, from a kill shelter – four hours before her death. I made wonderful friendships. David and I built a relationship together.

David proposed, we were married, we moved into a wonderful home, I became pregnant with Brielle and we had some of the best times of our lives with her. So many wonderful things happened in the past six years. A lot of awful things happened, but good things too. I found myself thinking about Lacey’s death the other day on our way home. Lacey left at just the right time. It broke my heart, but none of these things would have happened if she were still living or had not died when she did.

I would have never moved away from Texas, I wouldn’t have been able to leave Lacey. I would have never adopted Emmy. Rosie would have died. I would have never married David. I would have never had Brielle. I would have never made the friendships I did. Now I see how Lacey’s life was exactly what it needed to be. I had prayed for her for so long and she had been exactly what I needed. I don’t know why Brielle couldn’t stay as long as she did, but I’m thankful for the time I’ve had. I wouldn’t trade that time with her.

I hope that one day I’ll know the reason for her death. Or at least see the good that came from her death. Just like the good that came from Lacey’s death. I don’t know why Lacey died when she did, but I do see how God has blessed me through the years following her death. And this is one of the many reasons I have faith. Throughout my life I have seen how God has provided and blessed me and my family. That didn’t mean we didn’t suffer or have hard times. But he was always there, still helping us, loving us, and taking care of us. And taking care of others too.

I think that’s the whole point of faith. It’s all about hope. I have hope that Brielle’s life will do good. Her life has meaning and value. And I know and can trust that God will use her life for good. When we’re in the midst of grief it can be hard to see how he is caring for us. We can become so caught up in pain, anger, and bitterness that we miss all of the good things around us. And sometimes it can even take another tragedy for us to look back and see how wonderful our lives have been because of loss.

Lacey’s life saved the lives of four other dogs (that we know of). How much bigger then will Brielle’s impact be?

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it…And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8: 24-25, 28

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