It was one of those autumn days you dream about during a long sizzling summer. Warm in the sun but a little chilly out of it. Our dog was stretched sleepily on the back lawn, which was browned, by the summer sun and an attack of locusts in the country area where we live.
I was working on this website looking for inspiration when I happened across an article on prayer and faith. Soon I was absorbed in the author’s study and analysis of one of my favorite subjects, “how and why God answers prayer”. I have experienced many answers to prayers in my life, particularly during crises when I felt most reliant on and close to God. Miraculous answers and deliverances in response to my heartfelt cries to God are strewn along the bumpy path my life has taken. Lately however, things had been going along fairly smoothly and it had been a while since I had seen evidence of God’s comfort and presence in an attention getting way.
The hours eroded away under a tide of information gathering and web browsing, and soon I noticed that this beautiful autumn day was quickly turning into a chilly autumn night. I looked out through the dining room window. Our dog was getting restless, her stomach letting her know it was time for dinner.
She is a wonderful dog, as most are. A Labrador Staffy cross. My wife and I first decided to buy a dog when we planned to move to the country. After all, what good are gum trees, a few acres of land, hills and kangaroos, without a dog? I purchased our dog without telling my wife and hid her in the laundry, the dog that is. When my wife came home, wanting to surprise her, I said something like, “Darlin’, there’s something strange going on in the laundry, do you want to check it out?”
She opened the door to a love affair that is still going on as I write this. My wife and I live on our own so our dog is our daughter and is treated as such. She’s well behaved, obedient, quiet and never complains, nothing like our children. (We love them too of course).
I got up from the computer, watery eyed and a bit stiff and went to the refrigerator and got the polony meat roll out for the dog. I cut off a thick slice; she’s a big girl with a big appetite. I gave the usual “here’s dinner” whistle and she came bolting to the back door, snow white teeth smiling and mouth drooling. Don’t you love it?
Sometimes I break the meat up into pieces and after making her sit, throw it at her from a distance making her catch it in her mouth. It’s how I always wanted to eat as a child but wasn’t allowed to. I decided to do this on this occasion.
When most of the meat was gone there was one piece left, “a little large” I thought, “but she can catch it and chew it up”. She focused on it as it sailed towards her and caught it decisively. “Well that’s that” I thought and went back inside to wash my hands.
After a minute or so, for no reason that I can remember I went back outside. First miracle. There was the dog, sitting on the lawn, wide eyed and healthy looking. Problem was, there was a sizeable amount of white foam dripping from her mouth. “Odd” I thought, “So is the way she is just sitting there”. I called her over. She came. “Seems all right, but……”.
My heart was starting to thump a little. I walked to the lawn and called her again as I didn’t want a pile of white foamy drool on the back doorstep. She came and sat on the lawn, but she was moving slower. A realization hammered itself into my brain, “SHE’S NOT BREATHING”.
Panic, controlled, but nonetheless panic, hit home. “WHY isn’t she breathing, WHERE’S all the foam coming from, HOW come she can still walk?” It dawned on this dope that she must be choking on something, probably that last bit of oversized meat I threw her. “What an idiot I am” I yelled out loud. “What do I do?”, “I’ve never faced anything like this before”, “how is my wife going to handle my having killed her dog”, “how can I lift her to get her to the vet? is the vet open today? it’s probably too late anyway”. All these and other thoughts ran wildly through my confused mind.
Then it happened. Our dog just quietly lay down, went limp and closed her eyes. I lifted her up slightly. She was just like a rag doll. “SHE’S DYING” a sad voice screamed in my head. I remembered something. I put my shaking arms around her and squeezed as hard as I could. This was supposed to as I recalled, pop out anything obstructing her airways. It didn’t. She lay there motionless, mouth open, foam running down over her dragging tongue, and eyes closed. That was it. For all intents and purposes our “daughter” was dead.
I remembered the article I was reading on the internet earlier about prayer. If ever I needed divine help it was now! Out loud I said, “Lord God, in Jesus name help me please. Help me to save this dog. She belongs to you. She’s one of your animals, one of your creations”. I opened her mouth. It was not a pretty sight. I thrust my hand down her throat. She involuntarily bit down tearing a piece of skin off my hand. Then I felt it, a tennis ball size bit of meat lodged deep in her throat. “Help me Lord”, I muttered continually as I tried in vain to get my fingers behind the meat and pull it out. I took my hand out, picked her lifeless body up as far as I could and dropped it on to the ground, over and over again, trying to get air in her and trying to dislodge the obstruction. No good. “Thank you Jesus” I prayed trying to impress upon the Lord my great faith that He would help whilst my shaking hand dripped blood and saliva. I shoved my hand down her throat again. I felt the meat and once again tried unsuccessfully to pull it out. So I just sort of mashed it between my fingers and once again withdrew my hand from her mouth. More thumping of her chest followed. “It’s no good” I desperately whispered, “just no good!”. “God, PLEASE help me save YOUR animal, thankyou” I wasn’t going to give up on our dog or God. If only I had known then that He wasn’t going to give up on our dog or me either.
For the third time I thrust my hand into her throat, this time down so far I was sure if the meat lodged in her airways didn’t kill her, my hand down her insides would. I couldn’t believe it; I still couldn’t dislodge the meat. So I violently squished and squeezed it as hard as I could and took my battered and bruised hand out again. “Thankyou Lord” I was still muttering. He must have wished it was me with the blocked throat I think, so I would shut up! I banged our dog’s chest as hard as I could and picked her up as high as I could and dropped her. THUMP! She landed on the brown lawn. Her mouth fell open.
Then I heard it, a kind of popping sound followed by a faint wheeze. Seconds later, again, the same sound. I thought if she does regain consciousness would she have brain damage? This whole saga had been going on for about two and a half minutes since she passed out.
Suddenly she started a slow, rhythmical breathing. I didn’t. I was breathing like I had just wrestled King Kong. Her eyes slowly opened. She was ALIVE!
I felt as someone would feel if they were just told, “Sir, it WASN’T your wife who was on board that plane that crashed”. The relief was intense, but I still wasn’t sure if our dog was ok. She just lay there as if to say, “what happened”. After about five minutes I thought, “I have to see if she is really ok and has all her faculties”, so I went to the back door and called her. Instantly, she was on her feet and trotting sheepishly towards me. I gave her some commands, which she responded to slowly but correctly, and then she went and got a drink of water. Hours later she was chomping on an old “small” bone as if nothing had happened.
Out loud I thanked God for his help and guidance, and for taking notice of an idiot. Was our “daughter’s” survival luck or coincidence, un-aided by a God who loves and cares for his children and his creations? I think that’s a “NO”. I called to our dog and said, “do you know Jesus saved you?” She trotted over to me, wagged her tail and licked my bruised hand. I think that’s a “YES”.
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