Memories & Lessons Learned From Sugar

May 6, 2016

 

It’s always surprising to me who is there when you need them and who isn’t. My dog, Sugar, was one of those “always there” friends. In fact, she was good for a snuggle for each person in our family when we needed it. We lost her today after 16.5 years.

Sugar taught me more about God than most people that I know. Here are a few examples:

Disobedience

During our first year with Sugar, she was WILD! As fast and beautiful as a deer running and jumping, she continually jumped our 6 foot privacy fence. That act was always followed by me, Marla, Rebecca, and little Matthew chasing her all over the neighborhood. Once I caught her after an hour or so of humiliation and chasing, I would take a newspaper to her rear. That didn’t work too well.

IMG_0773.JPGIMG_0774.JPG

(Daniel and Sugar when they were about 3 and then at around age 14)

A friend (Thanks Rick Theobald) then said, “If you knew that you were going to get the newspaper, would you come or just keep running?” He suggested “throwing a party” with her, including plenty of hugs and rubs when I finally caught her. It worked!

Love had more effect on her than hardcore discipline and unkind words. She wanted to please me.  Once I got that figured out, she would follow me anywhere and always came running when I called. People can be like that too if you love and encourage them. Lesson learned.

Watching Her Master

When I walked into a room where Sugar was, I automatically had her undivided attention. She would raise her head and was attentive to only me, watching my every move and waiting for me give her the command to come with me. Usually she wouldn’t even move until I told her to do that. She loved just being with me.

It was like she was always just waiting to hear my will. She wanted to know it and she wanted to follow me. If I was going to walk in the backyard or neighborhood, she came. If I was going to the car, she would jump in on my command. She would sit, roll over, stay, or even get my morning coffee. (Ok. That last one was an exaggeration.) She did it all because she loved me.

 

I desire more than anything to be that focused on my Master and want His will. I want to go when He says go and follow His commands. I’m not always as focused as Sugar. I can get distracted from my Master sometimes. Sugar was an example to me on how to relate to my Master and Creator.

Tender With The Weak

Sugar loved the kids. She was very high energy but Daniel used to actually lay on her as a toddler. She didn’t care. They were almost like twins. They were only about 6 months apart in age. I used to say that they were identical twins and you couldn’t tell them apart unless they were walking.

IMG_0775.JPGShe was also protective and had an uncanny ability to know who was friends and who really wasn’t supposed to be at our house. She would put herself in between the kids and danger. I saw that several times. She was a protector and a shepherd of kids, in a sense.

Even in her later years without teeth, she was willing to “gum” to death any intruder that she perceived as a threat to the kids.  (Since her teeth were pretty much gone.)

As I lead my family and my church, she was a great example to me. There is an enemy that wants to destroy those that belong to Him. I am the shepherd, appointed by the Shepherd. I pray that I am as attentive in protecting my flock against the wolves as Sugar was.

IMG_0763.JPGLast Days

Sugar’s last days were tough. She had to drag her hind legs to walk. Her food seemed to go right through her and she looked like skin and bones. She couldn’t hear but she would still follow my command to “come.” Because she had grown deaf, I had to begin motioning for her and she would respond, although a lot slower than she used to.  It was like she didn’t want to leave us.  16.5 years is a really long life for a boxer.

On one occasion during the snow this past winter, Sugar went out to use the bathroom. She wandered into the neighbor’s yard and had trouble getting back because the snow was so deep and it was snowing so hard. When I found her, she had actually just laid down in the snow. I think she was giving up at that point. She would have frozen to death if I had not gone to her.

I went through the snow to her and with my encouragement, she decided to keep trying to get home. She got up from the snow and followed me to the warm house. Lesson from Sugar: Sometimes our friends need our encouragement to keep going.

IMG_0769.JPGToday I had to help her into the car for our last car ride and our last walk together. We laid in the grass a while, together hung out in a field, and then we walked together to the vet from the field next door to the church.

As always, no leash was needed. She followed me slowly when I gave the motion to “come” as we walked to the vet’s office. (I felt alot like Abraham must have felt as he walked up the mountain to sacrifice Issac to God.  Issac had no idea what was happening but he followed his dad.  Sugar followed me because I asked her to, just like always.)

She went to sleep as I rubbed her. She was a good dog. She was a good friend.  I will miss her.

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8 Responses to “Memories & Lessons Learned From Sugar”

  1. Meg Annunziata said

    Beautiful telling of Truth on many levels. Thanks

  2. Scott Wiley said

    Thank you for the post and beautiful tribute to Sugar. God is doG spelled backwards and that is no accident. As you said the unconditional love of a dog is our example from our Heavenly Father. Many years ago a friend had recently committed her life to Christ and her dog, Little Girl, was over 17 and struggling. She went to her pastor and asked if dogs went to heaven? He explained to her that they had no soul and would not be a part of the afterlife…obviously not a dog lover. My friend eventually changed churches and the new pastor advised her to pray for an answer from God. This went on for months and Little Girl (LG) continued to decline. LG was all white with black eyes and nose. On 8/31/98 LG’s was suffering and after long good byes her suffering ended much like Sugar’s. Linda continued to pray for that answer but she found comfort in service by donating Bernie babies to the local police department to provide comfort to children of domestic violence. On Christmas 1998 Linda’s prayers were answered. She was given 3 Halo Bears. Halo is all white with black nose and eyes, a golden halo and wings. The poem from the tag reads “when you sleep I’m always here do not worry I am near. Looking down on you from heaven above (or with love), you’re guardian angel from up above. Halo bear- born on 8/31/1998. I have one of the original bears and treasure it dearly. Being a witness to this I firmly believe that it was the answer from God. We put Halo in a nice windowed box and pass Halo out to all co-workers that have lost their loved one. Everyone puts a favorite photo of their loved ones inside with phone numbers to provide support in those difficult times. May God grant you peace and comfort but know this. You will be reunited with Sugar and the party will be amazingly, abundantly beyond what you can imagine, think or desire.

  3. Danielle Baird said

    Hi there , My name is Danielle Baird. We met at your church last week after my Dance class. It had been 6 days since I lost my precious little Vinnie who was 14 years old. Brad had told me he was sorry about my Dog and you asked what happened. My heart sank, but after talking to you I was so glad you asked and even cared . You gave me another moment to talk about my sweet baby , just like I always did . I even showed you a picture and you were so happy to let me show off my little guy . Thank you for giving me that opportunity. That is the one thing I don’t want to end . Even though Vinnie’s body is no longer here, I want to always remember him and talk about him with others . Your blog is one of the best articles I have ever read ! To be honest with you , I have had it saved on my phone because I didn’t want to read it . I have been crying for so many days and hours straight that I just didn’t want to deal with any more emotions . I am so glad I did …….. When you are going through a loss , not much makes you feel better . Your story truly made me feel better . I have always said that Dogs were one of Gods greatest blessings . I loved the comparassions that you made with your dog and her behavior and how others learn from positive reinforcement, and how we should always want to be close to our master . I am a girl that loves Jesus and I also love dogs , in that order too 🙂 . I knew the two were intertwined somehow , but you were able to put it in words . Your story has given me a way to reach out to others in a way I was unaware of before. I will share these comparisons to others as long I live . I am kind of in the anger stage of my grief right now , but I feel overwhelmed with peace and positivity from your story . Thanks again for sharing . Danielle

    • eddiepoole said

      Hey Danielle, it was great meeting you and I really appreciate your kind words. I know what it’s like to loose a friend, even if that friend is a canine. The loss is real. It’s been about 9 months or so now and I still talk about Sugar often. I’m sure you will do the same with Vinnie. I’m so thankful that when we loose our dogs, our MASTER helps us in our pain. Thanks again for letting me know how Sugar’s story spoke to you. That helps me too.

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