A couple of weeks ago we had to say goodbye to Jasmine. We knew the time was drawing close as her little heart struggled to keep on working. Yet, despite her labored breathing, her will to live kept her hanging on and gave us a few more weeks to treasure this little dog that made an indelible mark on our entire family. Let me tell you about Jasmine.
Jasmine bounced into our lives and hearts close to 12 years ago. When our daughter, Karla, announced she was getting a dog, both my husband’s response and mine were the same – “You don’t need a dog!” – or as my husband put it – The last thing you need is a dog!” Overriding our objections, however, Karla soon introduced us to her new little pup – a darling little chihuahua/miniature pinscher mix. And what a feisty, independent, yet lovable little mix she was! I don’t believe that it is an exaggeration to say that she quickly worked her way into our lives and hearts.
She was Karla’s constant companion, even staying on-campus with her at a local community college. When Karla moved to Florida, she was right there in the car with her ready to face their new adventure together. More than her companion, however, Jasmine was the one waiting when Karla came home from work. She was the one sitting beside her on the couch watching television. She shared meals with Karla, at least she bounced around and under the glass-topped dinner table eager for her share! She was the one nestled under the cover with her when it was time to go to bed. She was Karla’s protector as she sat on her perch in front of the window and barked at everyone and everything – and I do mean everything – in sight. Jasmine was Karla’s buddy and friend, her family.
While Jasmine accepted us as part of Karla’s family, however, she was not nearly as accepting of others. She would bark at every face she didn’t recognize – and even some that she did! She was extremely protective of her little family circle and would eventually have to be removed from the room when there was company. Sometimes, she would gradually come around and accept someone else into her family circle, but those times were few and far between.
In spite of her dogged determination to protect and defend her family, however, she had a lovable, sweet disposition that those of us closest to her came to know and love. For the last couple of years, I was privileged to have Jasmine live with us and experience firsthand this sweet, now- old dog. Karla was attending a school in another city and to her dismay, the on-campus apartment where she lived did not allow pets. While I know Karla hated to leave Jasmine behind as she embarked on another adventure, I’m thankful that she shared her with us for this brief time. You see, she was there for Karla when Karla needed her most and as I discovered, she was there for me, as well, when I needed her most.
Jasmine became my watchdog and protector (barking fiercely when anyone was around – friend, salesman, or another dog), my ever-present companion (curled up on a pillow on the couch as I worked), my partner in crime (always underfoot when I raided the fridge or cabinet for a snack), my exercise partner (well, not really, but I did have to take her out regularly to use the bathroom), my lap warmer (curled up on my lap when I settled for the evening), my leg warmer (curled up on my legs when I went to bed at night), my clean-up buddy (as she licked up crumbs I dropped on the floor and finished off what the cat didn’t eat), and my welcome home party (as she greeted me joyously when I returned from being away, be it from a trip or just from the grocery store). I don’t know how, but it seemed that Jasmine knew just what I needed, when I needed it, and she gave it to me without reservation.
As I’ve thought about all of these things this last couple of weeks, it occurred to me that our Heavenly Father is constantly aware of just what we need and when we need it. Matthew 6:8 assures us that the “Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Furthermore, there is no limit to the ways God can choose to meet those needs. Sometimes God brings certain people into our lives – perhaps for just a season – who are just who we need for that time. At other times, God can fashion circumstances to bring us to a certain place at a certain time and offer just what we need for a particular situation. And, at still other times, God can use any one of His creative wonders to bless us with just what we need, be it an awesome sunset that speaks to the soul, or perhaps even a little black and tan dog that adores and loves you unconditionally. Jasmine was one of those special blessings to me.
I thank God for Jasmine. I’m thankful that almost 12 years ago Karla decided that she really needed a four-legged companion. And I’m especially thankful that Jasmine and I got to spend a couple of our “senior” years together. I find myself still listening to hear the familiar clickety-click of her tiny paws running down the hall from the bedroom. And sometimes I halfway expect to see her bound up on the back of the couch ready to bark at the neighbor’s dog when it enters her territory. And I admit that sometimes I still get a little misty-eyed when I return home knowing that she’s not going to be there to run and greet me and slather me with those sweet doggy kisses. With all the sadness, however, there’s no escaping the joy she brought to our lives and the many smiles her memory still brings. At times like this, I’m thankful that God cares for even the little details of our lives. And I’m especially thankful that He brought Jasmine into our lives – for now I know how much we needed her all along.