Amputation—what a heart wrenching word, especially when applied to Sky, a beautiful 7-month-old pit bull mix with a wide-open, loving heart. We met Sky at the Cedar Bend Humane Society, where my husband and I had gone to sponsor kennels to care for adoptable animal residents. Jessica, the public relations coordinator at CBHS, excitedly said,” I have got to show you this very special puppy!” For a few minutes, she disappeared beyond a fence.
My heart skipped a beat, as from behind the fence bounded a beautiful grey and white puppy that Jessica held close on a lead. When the sweet creature spied us, she immediately strained forward on her leash, tipped to one side, and
rebounded with unbelievable effort. Then she moved clumsily forward, aiming to give us lots of licks and love.
My heart reached out to this three-legged puppy struggling to maintain her balance. Finally, she won the fight and was able to able to reach her head up to lick whatever parts of us she could reach. It was clear that she could not fully understand that she no longer had the strong right front leg she once had. Instead, she experienced the sensation of a phantom leg like those of veteran amputees.
“Say hello to Sky,” Jessica murmured quietly as she lovingly petted and calmed the excited puppy. We sat down on a nearby bench so Jessica could bring Sky up close, steadying her against my legs. As we petted her, Jessica explained how
Sky came to them.
After Animal Control services received Sky, through x-rays and an examination, they determined that an old injury to her front right leg had healed inappropriately. Sadly, the recommendation revealed by specialists at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital was amputation.
Since Cedar Bend Humane Society’s veterinarian had been currently out on medical leave, Sky’s surgery took place at Cedar Valley Veterinary Center, with an estimated cost of around $1,000 with ongoing medical care required during her healing and rehabilitation.
As I stroked Sky’s ears and looked into her beautiful deep, dark eyes, I could feel that this beautiful creature wanted desperately to run free and enjoy life and love in a new home. We love all animals, but this one burrowed deeply into my
heart. At that point, Sky had been set for adoption twice, but the potential owners backed out for different reasons. Our own dear Rascal was a Humane Society dog who apparently had experienced a tough time in his last home too, before getting adopted. We knew the risks of adopting a pet with a history.
Dogs truly are God’s amazing creatures with the amazing gift of being present with joy and love in their forever pack that will love them back. They are “Guardians of Being”, as Eckhart Tolle said in his must-read book of the same name. Animals are fully present, living a full life in a way we might feel if we were intensely connected to the here and now deep within our souls.
Animals do not worry about bills, their jobs, or how to fit in. They have the ability to “just be”. They are always loving and caring. Waiting for us, they watch for the next squirrel, bird, or sunset. Whatever is there, they feel it to the core.
Sky pulled me out of my reverie with a sigh and a shake as if to say, “Ahh. Someone cares. This feels good! A little lower please.” Then, with the impetuosity of a puppy, she made a quick turn, pulled me up from my seat and nearly jerked the leash from my hand with a yip at something in the distance.
Jessica stepped in at that moment and took hold of the leash. She glanced at Sky’s surgery incision and turned to us. “Her stitches are coming apart a little where she is still healing. Sky needs to go back to her kennel and settle down for a while.” Jessica bent down to whisper to the puppy, who now had rolled over onto her back. Three legs dangled in the air. “Do you want me to carry you?” This “little” girl, well on her way to a healthy 50 pounds, wagged and smiled broadly at Jessica. “Yes, please,” she seemed to reply as Jessica gently stroked her tummy.
I looked at Roger, who already knew what I was thinking and nodded. Then I offered, “Jessica, can we help pay off the bills for Sky?” “You mean in addition to the sponsorship of the kennel?” I nodded. Jessica smiled. A paw and wet muzzle reached up and Sky licked me right on the chops, seeming to agree with our suggestion.
As Jessica carried a contented Sky back to her kennel, Roger and I smiled at each other, knowing we had made a good decision. God’s love had shone through both Jessica and Sky that day, piercing our hearts. We need to be the face of God for one another and for God’s creatures, as well.
We must be love for Sky’s deep love-filled heart which would not give up but shows endless determination to love others in spite of her missing limb!
My challenge for you: think about a personal “limb” that you really focus(lean) on, spend a lot of time being concerned about, like a job, bill, illnesses, or possible outcome of an event. In other words, what are you willing to cast aside in order to focus on showing the love of Christ?
Then, set an intention to read Corinthians 1, chapter 13 (below) every day for ten days. Ponder what deep love might look like for a person or creature in your life.
Verses to Ponder: First Corinthians 13
“If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…8 Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
*Good news for Sky and those who love animals. This past weekend, a loving, caring individual adopted dear little Sky. We wish both Sky and her new best friend all the joy and love possible!
For more information on sponsoring a kennel at Cedar Bend Humane Society, call 319-232-6887 and ask for Jessica, or visit
© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis