Beautiful Sky

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
https://www.cedarbendhumane.org/noseworthy/2021/08/18/sponsor-a-kennel

© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis

No problem! I got this…

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

“No problem! I got this…” 

Do you ever feel this way? 

I received a strong reminder of God’s power when the neighborhood cat Daisy triggered a gut feeling in our Rascal dog that cleanly knocked obeying his master out of the park. 

“My territory. My way.”

We were walking Rascal in the neighborhood when all of a sudden, I saw a flash of fur ahead of us in the near distance. Before I could react, the leash flew out of our hands with a big sudden jerk, trailing behind a disappearing Rascal around the corner of a house. He was chasing Daisy, who was scared for her life. 

Oh no—he’s loose! This was the cry of my heart.

A deep wrench of “why didn’t you” flashed before me as I ran with heart thumping …Why hadn’t I had (didn’t I) keep a stronger grip on his leash? I clearly did not “have control“ and there was a problem. Rascal was gone! 

Why, Why, why… A busy street lay just beyond Rascal’s disappearing tail. Roger hurried around the other side of the house in an attempt to head him off. But no such luck.  As I ran, I prayed that Rascal would be found safe from danger away from the busy road in front of our house and return to us.  I caught my breath in the front yard and surveyed the landscape in an eerie out-of-time pause.

When time picked up again, I returned to the present, seeing Roger across the busy street yelling to me, “I see him! Rascal, come see dad!”  

A splash of light brown tail raced in the other direction. Then, as Rascal finally heard our voices, an “Oops I forgot look.” appeared on his face. He stopped dead in his tracks and faced us as Daisy scrambled behind her house.

Rascal approached Roger, much like a child after being caught with his hand in cookie jar. He slowly dipped his head, tentatively wagged his tail, and bowed deeply, as if asking for compassion and understanding.

As his contrition unfolded, my heart reawakened me to how our loving God welcomes us as we truly observe our weaknesses. He reveals them in what we are doing to ourselves and others, and bids us come back to Him.

When we awaken to the realization of our thoughtless actions, judgment of others, and disregard of God’s ways, we hear God’s voice calling us. 

In the same manner as Christ, Roger leaned down, joyfully surrounding forgetful, cat-chasing Rascal with his arms.  Roger’s loving tone rang out, “Rascal! You heard me and returned when I called.” Rascal’s tail immediately wagged faster and smiled. He behaved as if he were home, welcomed into His master’s arms.

We may say, “I got this! No problem!“ 

But do we?  Our Savior says “Come to me. I Love you no matter what, I will surround you with my Love and strengthen you throughout your life. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Not our power, but His holds us in life.

My challenge: read and meditate on the following verses from Corinthians 1, chapter 13 about LOVE.  Perhaps, replace the word LOVE with your own name or God’s. Try doing so twice daily.

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. 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Awaken to others by learning more about what our Lord Jesus did when he came to us as a man, choosing to be present with lovingkindness for all. Pray ceaselessly, giving God praise and worshiping him. Come back home.

Later, as we rested, I felt such gratitude and love as Rascal jumped up and nestled close with a sigh. As I petted his soft curly fur, he looked up, ears flopping open with his deep, soft brown eyes melting into mine. 

God’s Love whispered, “I’ve got this. I Love you. You are Mine.”

© 2021 Bonnie Louise Smith-Davis

Kitchen Chair Love

Bonnie, Buddy and Blake

For as 1 John 4:19 tells us, “we love because he first loved us.” It is the effectual love of God that first changes our hearts in order to make us capable of love.

The truth is that what we “see” is not what is visible to the heart. You can’t make an animal love you. For example, this photo of our animals shows love profoundly in my heart. The newspaper explains what the world might have seen as very important at the time. The headline blares out words of “this is something that you must know”.

My dear Buddy dog and Blake cat are focused on what is important to them. I look at their eyes. Seeing through their eyes, Blake is looking at the “world” around them…the kitchen, the food on the table, the next fun thing for him to do. Buddy focuses on Roger, my husband, and the photographer. He immediately loved and wanted to rescue Buddy from the “pound”. Roger saw what was beautiful inside of this sweet creature, once bedraggled, mistreated, scruffy, and flea -infested and, even to me, not so special to any other visitor to the humane society. Buddy knew that in his heart. His wounds heal from love inside out. Like ours.  You cannot make an animal love you or you love any of God’s creatures.

Claws dig into my lap and my eyes focus on the two dear, sweet animals that want to share a little lap time with Mom. Normally, I realize they would probably not have chosen to spend much time so close to each other. But these sweet boys come up to visit Mom and share the warmth of sweet trust and love. Each sees what is most important to him or her as we live and love in our small community.

God’s love Light encompasses the whole picture. Simply love all, deeply, truly and forever. Christ’s love lives and loves through us. May we strive to do this for others and ourselves. …each moment be in the present, alert as your heart peels away the wounds of your hurt and below the surface reveals to you the deep love hidden in plain sight beneath.

© 2021 Bonnie L Smith-Davis