She always knew when I was having a hard time. She'd see it and come up to me and nudge me with her nose over and over again. She'd nuzzle her face into my lap or my arms to try to comfort me. And it worked. She could always make me feel better. I'll never, ever forget this story. I was so broken by infertility, and I just laid with her and cried. She wrapped her paws around my arm and started licking my face...comforting me.
There were many nights where I would lay awake in bed and hear her breathing below me and be overcome with gratitude that she was alive and that she was mine. I loved the sound of her little paws tapping on our wood floor. It was so loud, but it meant she was walking around, that she was healthy, that she was looking for me. Two years ago, she stopped walking, and I thought we might have to let her go then. But I was able to help her then.
I couldn't help her this time. She suddenly stopped walking and nothing was making her better. We got the diagnosis that she most likely had a brain tumor. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't make her better. Belle was the one thing I actually could take care of these last few years, so it was heartbreaking for me to not be able to do anything for her.
I know that 17 1/2 years is a really long time for a dog to live, and I am so thankful that I had more than half my life with this amazing little pup. I could never express the amount of joy she brought to my life. But, right now, it hurts. The house isn't right without her, and we miss her a lot.
I believe that I will see Belle again, that God resurrects our animals and our eternity with God will include them. I believe that God, in his generous love for us, will restore our pets and allow us the joy of living with them in the perfect union that he intended at creation. I know I'm in good company with this belief (C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft, Randy Alcorn, Nicholas Kinnier to name a few).
C.S Lewis paints a beautiful picture of animals in heaven in his book, The Great Divorce. (He describes a lady who has a procession of angels and people and animals.)
"'And how...but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat-two cats-dozens of cats. And all these dogs....why, I can't count them. And the birds. And the horses.'
'They are her beasts.'
'Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.'
'Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.'
I looked at my Teacher in amazement.
'Yes,' he said. 'It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe to life.'"
I love you forever my sweet, sweet Belle. You were a gift from God, and you made my life better. Thank you for loving me so well. I will see you again.