Always By My Side shares how dogs helped fill a life with love, joy and compassion.
Posted in , Feb 17, 2017
Has there been a dog in your life that felt put there for reasons beyond simple, loving companionship? For reasons perhaps known only to God? For me that dog was a golden retriever named Millie, whom many of you know from my blogs and devotionals, and for whom so many of you prayed when she was fighting her final battle with cancer.
I’ve written a new book, Always By My Side, Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I’ve Loved, about how Millie and my other dogs influenced my personal and spiritual development in ways that are not only surprising but profound, as if they were instruments of heaven sent to guide me at life’s most challenging moments.
Did you know a dog introduced me to my wife? That another dog stopped me from taking a step that could have cost me my life? That my boyhood poodle, Pete, would sit up with me at night after night as I fought asthma? If there was a single reason I wrote the book, it would be to show that my dogs have helped me become a better human being.
Ostensibly my book is about dogs, but really the book is about love, the love that God mysteriously brings to us through the creatures I believe he sends to teach us life lessons in loyalty, bravery, sacrifice, compassion, tenderness, empathy and joy. A dog has been at my side at nearly every important turn in my life, even if I wasn’t always aware of it at the time. Only when I look back, as I do in this book, do I see God’s hand in the presence of those extraordinary animals.
I can’t imagine life without a dog to love and be loved by. Yet the heartache of loving dogs is that we outlive all but the last one. And so my dogs have taught me about letting go when letting go is the hardest but kindest thing of all. They have given me the gift of acceptance. And the profound possibility that someday God will reunite us.
When Millie was sick, you Facebook fans poured out your prayers by the thousands. Every day I received some note or post that lifted my hurting heart. I knew then that I would have to repay you for your love. I would have to write a book about it, because the experience changed my life. This is that book.