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Thursday, February 13, 2014
The thing is, we knew it was coming.
She and Ginger Puppy were some of the happiest dogsitting clients I had ever seen, and I was sad that I couldn't ever get them together for a doggie play date.
Do not doubt for a second that dogs can't smile. They absolutely can, and Bella was living proof.
Bella's family adopted her specifically because she was an older beagle with health issues that not a lot of people would want. And yes, she was absolutely one of the chubbier beagles I had ever seen.
It didn't matter. Bella owned her weight like a boss. Trotting around like nobody's business, no I don't care how big I am, no, I don't care if there's growths on my face, and yes, I snore like a brick house, but I am the world's happiest dog, see?
You will love me no matter what, because my smiles are pure gold.
And they were. They totally were.
I got an email from Bella's mom last September. Bella wasn't doing great, her health issues were catching up with her, so did I want to come by to say hi, possibly for the last time?
Of course, of course, of course.
But Bella is a go getter. Her specialty was sneaking out of doors and gates when people weren't paying attention to her (Never on my watch, thank you very much. I am an awesome dogsitter.) The next month, painters were working on the outside of the house and despite repeated warnings from Bella's mom, they didn't close the gate all the way, and so off Bella went on her grand adventure.
This happy beagle that was supposed to be down for the count trotted her hefty, happy butt through the neighborhood. Bella enjoyed the freedom, smiling at everything and everyone, especially the nice nice lady who saw a happy trotting beagle wandering around the neighborhood and pulled her car over to see what was going on. Bella smiled at the nice nice lady and of course Bella wasn't wearing her collar that day, so the nice nice lady took Bella home, and slipped a spare collar and leash on her, and started walking Bella's hefty happy butt up and down the street to find her owner, which is how Bella's mom, frantic and sick and more than a little pissed at housepainters finally caught up with her.
And that's how Bella met the actress and nice nice lady Shannon Elizabeth.
Because that's how Bella rolled, see? When Bella went on adventures, she went on adventures HARD. Her smiles attracted FAMOUS PEOPLE. Didn't matter that she wasn't feeling good.
Maybe it was that adventure and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood actresses, but Bella rebounded and sailed through Christmas. So her mom thought it would be all right to take a 10 day cruise to Antarctica at the end of January, because why not, she nabbed the deal on Black Friday, and Antarctica was on her bucket list. And Bella's dad, the hospital pediatrician would be here should anything go wrong.
Bella started not wanting to eat a day or two before her mom's trip. They asked if I could help out, and of course I said sure. I'd stop by on my lunch hours, or after work, and would feed Bella the version of doggie Ensure, one of those caloric packed drinks that they give cancer patients. My dad was given those and didn't like them, so I didn't blame Bella one bit for not wanting to eat. But we had to get the stuff in her somehow, so her dad started bringing home hypodermic plungers, which I'd load up with doggie Ensure, and aim for the back of Bella's throat. Bella hated it, and I wasn't thrilled with force feeding one of my favorite pups, but we got a fairly good routine going, and made it through the 10 days until her mom came back. Which was really the most important thing.
Bella passed last Friday. Peacefully. In the backyard in her bed and blankets under a magnolia tree. As her mom wrote me later, she had made the fateful appointment with the vet for 12:30pm, but Bella passed around 10:30am.
Because that's how Bella rolled, see. She did things her way. Smiling the entire time.
I'm really sad, but I'm also really happy that she's not in pain anymore. And I'm positive that she's romping around in heaven, chasing squirrels and rolling in green fields and delighting God with her smiles and wagging tails.
I've heard a lot of conversations about how when we die, we get the perfect version of our bodies in heaven, the way that God intended us to be, before our base desires and/or lack of discipline took over.
I dunno if it's true for dogs, but if it is, I have no doubt that Bella is just as chubby zooming around in heaven as she was here on earth. Because she owned everything about herself. Her adventurous ways, her smiles, her bumps, and her magnificent canine Botticelli physique.
And her real name was Abby.
Posted by Amy The Writer at 9:52 PM
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Hey everybody! Here we are, at the end of our Animals In The Bible series. And what better way to say bye bye then with horses of different deadly colors, lions, bears but NO! Not a single tiger in here! DAMMIT IT ALL!
So context! The apostle John is writing this book somewhere around 95 C.E. while in exile on the island of Patmos. The emperor in Rome is named Domitian, and he's at the start of his bloody reign of persecuting Christians. Because everything John writes down and sends out is being scrutinized by Roman guards, he uses symbolic imagery and metaphors that his audience would understand when writing the book of Revelation, but that his guards would read and think, “Yo, this guy is off his rocker.”
The message of Revelation is ultimately – God wins. Ya-wooooo!
So let's start talking about the Revelation critters! There's a bunch of them!
Revelation opens and we get through the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 1 – 3, to sum up: good job Philadelphia!)
Then we get to Chapter 4:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
I dare you not to think about this image the next time you sing “Holy holy holy, merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed trinity.” (thank you Brick Testament!)
Chapter 5 gives us one of the Bible's favorite Animal As Metaphor for Jesus – The LAMB! He's already slain and everything and he's got “seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”
The Lamb opens the first four seals of The Seven Seals and unleashes the Four Horsemen, who are appropriately on Horses. White Horse = War, Red Horse = Bloodshed, Black Horse = Famine, Pale horse = Death.
(No, I don't know why Pale horse = Death and not Black Horse. Colors are weird in the Bible.)
But never mind that, the Lamb opens the rest of the seals, which unleashes martyrs, earthquakes, bloody suns, falling stars, etc. etc. etc.
But we're not done yet, we've got seven angels with seven trumpets. And they unleash hail and fire mixed with blood, a third of the earth is burned up, a third of the sea turned into blood, and the Wormwood star fell into a third of the rivers on earth and poisoned them, amongst other horrible things.
BUT WE'RE LOOKING FOR ANIMALS! There's a talking eagle in Ch. 8:13, and he's saying “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” This meaning “if you thought the first four angels were bad, hold on to your hats, shit's about to go DOOOOOWN!”
Were you thinking insects? Why NOT!? I got locusts for ya! They show up in Chapter 9, when the fifth angel blows his trumpet. But these are Super Locusts, because they've got “powers like that of scorpions of earth.” (Ch. 9:3) One wonders why Scorpions didn't just elbow the Locusts out of the way and say, “Yo, I got this.” but it's hard to argue with an angel and a trumpet.
Chapter 10 – 13 gets pretty fantastical, with its dragons and beasts like in Chapter 13:
“And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion.” (Revelation 13:1-2)
I wonder what that looks like. Oh! Brick Testament knows!
But if you're looking for some animals to ground you, you gotta go to Chapter 16:13:
“13 Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.”
Perhaps you were looking for your fair feathered friends?
Chapter 19:17 - "And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18: so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”
Maybe you're not so much anymore?
That's the thing, isn't it? There's a whole slew of animals in Revelation, but 9 times out of 10, they're doing apocalyptic things, or they're used as metaphors to do bad things (not bothering with Ch. 22:15, where man's best friend the dog, is used as metaphor to describe wicked ones outside the New Jerusalem.)
Animals in and of themselves aren't bad. It's just a matter of the particular prism you wield on your vision to look at them.
I guess you might say the same thing about the Bible itself. Maybe.
Posted by Amy The Writer at 11:06 PM