I didn’t grow up with dogs. Actually, until I met Patches, I was a little afraid of them, bitten once as a child and twice in recent years while running. Mostly I just kept my distance, neither liking nor disliking.
But Patches changed all that. Every time I went to visit, his barks welcomed me even before he greeted me excitedly at the door. And when it was time for an outside break, he always lagged behind inside until I was ready to come along. He valued a seat on the sofa beside me, even as he grew older and I’m sure jumping onto the sofa was not so easy. The more I got to know Patches, the more I discerned his patience and wisdom and love and forgiveness. He seemed on a mission to patiently teach me his unconditional love, and soon he had stolen my heart.
When Patches left yesterday for new meadows where old dogs can run free, he left me a lasting gift. Love. For him. For his brothers. For all God’s furry creatures. Maybe especially for collies, that will probably always remind me of him. Thank you, Patches, for teaching me a little bit more about God’s unconditional love. The part of my heart you stole is hurting a little today, but it will fill again with the wonderful gifts you have given me.