Happy Birthday, Clementine

Dear Clementine,

When you came bursting into my world a year ago I couldn’t have imagined the impact that a three ounce pup, such as yourself, would have in my life and in my heart. I often marvel that someone so tiny can take up so much of my heart. And I’m equally astonished that you manage to take up so much of my bed. Just a year ago today I was rescuing you from the perils of runt life in a litter of bulldogge pups. But my resolve was strong. I intended to pull you from your litter, bottle feed you and find the right person for you when you were big enough to leave. I was absolutely certain that I wouldn’t keep you for myself. After all, it would be utterly nonsensical for me to keep the tiniest bulldogge puppy that I had ever laid my eyes on.  I had no room in my plans for emotions to navigate my decisions. Keeping, not just the runt, but the runtiest of runts was out of the question.  It’s amusing to me now. The idea that I could resist the gift that you are is absolutely absurd. I’m overwhelmed by the magnanimous grace of God that bored right into my adamant determination to resist love in its purest form. That’s really what it boiled down to, though I wouldn’t have articulated it as such. No, I would have said that I was making wise decisions in our breeding program and attempting to do what was best for you.

Truth be known, I was too exhausted to give it much critical thought at all. The rigorous schedule of keeping you fed was taking a toll on me. But you were thriving, so I pushed through the debilitating fatigue in hopes that you would turn the corner and return to your litter soon. I had big plans of letting you rejoin your littermates at around four weeks when the weaning process would begin. In the midst of exhaustion, that was the hope that kept me from collapse. And that hope evaporated like a mist when you continued to demand your bottle as your siblings started gobbling up the mixture of mushy food that I offered. I cried as you turned your little nose up at the mush that I presented to you day after day. If it wasn’t for my dear friend, Morgan, you would probably still be sucking that bottle. She clued me into the magical allure of puppy mousse and, by the grace of God, you dove right into that stuff. You’ve since heard me refer to that delicacy as “puppy crack”. My next hurdle was weaning you from the puppy crack to dry food. That was another process all its own. Quite frankly, you’ve been a handful since you were born, both figuratively and literally.

I guess looking back on it, that’s when it happened, though. My resolve broke. The realization that you would require much more than I had planned to expend crashed into me and wrecked me. The Lord knew that I needed you. And He knew that I’d struggle against the gift of you, so he sent you in a most irresistible package. An undersized pup with over sized opinions. In the midst of my agonizing sleeplessness as I poured myself out so that you might live, I was overcome by an inexorable force. Love, agape love, God’s love . And it’s precisely that kind of love that flows through puppies, especially tiny runt puppies like you. As Proverbs 19:21 says, we can make our plans, but it’s the Lord’s purposes that prevail. The Lord purposed you, Clementine, to bless my life exponentially. You were perfectly formed to fulfill a destiny that has brought me so much joy and happiness. How could I ever thank Him? How could I ever thank you?

A year ago today you tipped the scales at 3.2 ounces. Today you weigh in at a whopping twenty-six pounds. Still tiny, opinionated and bossy, you continue to simultaneously challenge me and steal my heart away. You were, and still are, a fireball dropped right into the middle of my “life as usual”. And you are the source of a multitude of joys in my life. I love you my little loud-mouth Terp. My world is a lot more eventful and beautiful with you in it. Happy First Birthday, baby girl.

Though she be but little, she is fierce. ~William Shakespeare

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