Harper's Dog

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

Harper's Dog

by Leslie Ludy | July 7, 2013

Okay I’m going to be completely honest with you…I am NOT a dog person.  I have never been moved by cute puppy dog eyes or fluffy little doggy tails wagging.  I’m not quite sure why, but even adorable little puppies do very little to melt my heart.  Dogs, to be completely honest, just seem kind of gross to me.  All I can think about are fleas, dander, and pet smells in the carpet.  (Sorry all you dog-fans out there, I hope you are not offended!) 

Despite my lack of doggy-love, I’ve been blessed with a little daughter, Harper Grace, who is a HUGE, and I mean HUGE fan of all things canine.  She absolutely loves to pet, cuddle, and nurture dogs.  For about a year she was pleading for her very own “cozy dog” which presumably meant a dog that she could cuddle up with on the couch, brush, pet, and adore to her heart’s content.  I had been dragging my feet on the issue, because while I knew that it would be great for her to have her very own doggy to love, my mind could only think of fleas, dog-hair, and chewed up furniture.

Finally, a few months ago, I caved in.  I told her that she could begin looking for her very own dog.  Her beloved buddy Tucker, my parents’ dog, passed away, and she was devastated.  So to bring some comfort to her little soul I told her she could begin doggy-shopping with her granddad, Pops, in order to find the perfect cozy dog.

We showed her all kinds of pictures of cute little poodle mixes.  I decided that this would be the best option because there would be minimal shedding, and also because if I was forced to have a dog running around the house, at least it should be cute.  I pictured Harper coming home with a fluffy white poodle/bichon frise mix with floppy ears, spunky personality, and a melt-your-heart little face.  But no matter how many of these cute little dogs Harper saw, she just never got excited about any of them.  She was waiting for “the right dog” and was determined that when she found it, she would know (kind of like waiting for the person you are going to marry, I suppose!)

Well on the very last day of doggy shopping, at the very last shelter that they visited, Harper saw a skinny little rescue dog and immediately became smitten.  It wasn’t a poodle mix.  It wasn’t white or fluffy.  And it wasn’t cute.  It was so pathetically scraggly and scrawny that you couldn’t help but feel sorry for it.  It was some kind of odd Chihuahua mix, and it looked like it had been running around in the wild and living on field mice for quite some time.  In other words, this was not the kind of doggy I’d envisioned to adorn the Ludy home!  But the moment it sat on Harper’s lap, and looked up at her with its big brown eyes, Harper knew she had found her doggy match.  It was like they had an instant bond.

We tried to gently steer Harper toward a cute little fluffy puppy instead.  But she wouldn’t even look at any other dogs.  This was the dog she had been waiting for.  To Harper, this dog was beautiful.  In fact she said, “this doggy is so cute I just can’t stop looking at her!”

So we brought the dog home and Harper named it “Grace”, which quickly morphed into “Gracie”.

And surprisingly, Gracie has actually been growing on me.  Once she got a bath and a loving little mistress to carry her around everywhere, she actually became kind of cute.  She has a sweet, gentle, low-key personality that is perfect for our noisy, active home!

As I have thought and prayed about this whole doggy situation, I have seen something clearly.  As a baby, Harper was in Gracie’s same situation.  She had been rejected by her biological parents and passed over by hundreds of other families looking to adopt a healthy child without special needs.  Harper had specific special needs, and as a tiny baby, she was the outcast one that others overlooked.  But when God gave her to us, she was the most amazing treasure.  I didn’t see her deformities.  I only saw her beauty.  I remember seeing her for the first time and thinking, “she’s so cute I just can’t stop looking at her!”  She might have been the one that no one else wanted, but all that we could see was the beautiful, amazing treasure God had given us.

So I guess I can understand how Harper feels about Gracie.

My hope and prayer is that as our little girl grows up, she will always have a special love for the outcast ones, and that she will see in them a beauty and value that no one else sees.  Gracie is a great practice ground for that kind of heart!

Miraculously, when I see Gracie I no longer think of fleas and pet smells…I now see an incredible picture of the call of God upon Harper’s life.  “To bring the poor that are cast out into your house…” (Is 58:7) 

What amazing plans God has for our little rescuer!  Meanwhile, you’ll find her cuddling on the couch with her cozy new doggy!