BY Kat Stickroth
In conversations with friends about spiritual matters, I have often said, “Well, God isn’t Santa Claus.” After last week’s Christmas, however, I’m not so sure.
In June 2015, I had to have my dog Brownie put down. It’s still hard to talk about that heart wrenching time. She was a rescue dog, Aussie/Terrier mix. We had weathered some tough times over 12 years and shared a deep love and devotion.
Constantly under her watchful eye, I was her flock, and she was my shepherd.
For weeks after her passing, restless nights were filled with deep grief seasoned with guilt over that decision. But things shifted during one dozing, when I dreamed that God handed me a golden blonde pup with white markings.
“I will bring it to you,” He said.
I awoke with peace in my heart and tear-filled eyes. Perhaps hope, perhaps faith, fueled my waiting.
My good friend, Janie Tippett, called in September, “I’ve found a dog for you.”
Allen Voortman, who owns Pride and Joy Dairy in Granger, Washington with his wife Cheryl, had told Janie of a wild female dog who took up with his band of sheep and shepherded them about his acreage. Over time she warmed up to Allen and became a pet to his family.
He was so impressed with her, she was bred with a terrier and produced a litter of six, with one remaining puppy. Janie replied, “I know someone who needs him.”
She told me the pup’s story and gave me a photo of him. Golden blonde with white markings.
Three days before Christmas, I stood by Janie’s snow covered driveway as Allen, a large man sporting a white beard and Santa hat, piled out of his truck and gave me a big hug.
“Wow! Hugged by Santa!” I thought.
Then he retrieved Petey and placed a wiggling cutie pie in my arms.
Allen is invited to speak around the country of his organic dairy practices which render health giving milk products. That he would bring such a special gift to me is humbling and fills me with warm gratitude.
My little pup is presently snuggled next to me, resting his head on my laptop while I wordsmith this story.
Petey is a reminder to keep open to the possibilities of what the New Year may bring. Blessed surprises, great and small, show up in the most amazing of ways.
Originally published December 30, 2015 in the La Grande Observer newspaper. Reprinted with permission.