I called her name from the house. It was one of those beautiful Sunday afternoons where all the windows in the entire house were open to let in the surprisingly cool breezes that you don’t expect at the end of June. I called for her again, but she didn’t come. Her brother, Stinky, had long been in the house after winding himself running up and down the fence a few times with the neighbor dogs. It wasn’t like them not to come in when I called running side by side. They had come into the world together, and continue to keep an eye on one another.
“Lily!” I said again hoping she wasn’t going to make me come find her. When I got no response, I slid on the closest pair of sandals. I located her under one of our trees throwing up. Once she got it all out of her system, she did her usual energetic tail wag and came running as if nothing had happened. I have owned a few dogs in my time, so this didn’t seem too unusual as this has occurred many times before.
I secured the two dogs and went grocery shopping. I came home to more evidence that Lily’s stomach was not okay. When I tried to give her a little food a few hours later, she headed straight back outside to be sick again. At that point, I was beginning to become concerned. It wasn’t like her to have this happen so many times in a row in such a short space of time. Of course, it was a Sunday night, so our vet was not open. I decided to pray before bed, ask God to help her and slept with one of my hands on her next to me.
The following morning, I fed her as and she seemed fine. Business as usual, so I went to work and texted my daughter early in the afternoon. I received a response back that all was well. Then, within a half an hour, another text came saying she was throwing up again. I came home and watched her travel from spot to spot in my backyard until she no longer had anything left in her stomach.
I placed a call to the vet. I was told they were all booked up until the following day at 3 pm. The technician told me not to hesitate to go to an emergency vet overnight, and she said not to feed the dog until morning. I was to give her a small amount to see if the situation was clearing up.
That evening, Lily was more than upset to see her brother getting dinner and she was not. Again, she zipped around the house, barked at strangers passing by on the sidewalk and didn’t seem to have anything wrong with her. No matter how much she looked at me with her pleading hungry eyes, I stood my ground withholding her food until morning.
I woke up the next day, and I said to God: You have promised me that you will help me. You care about my life and all the things that are in it. I need an answer to this right now. I have a 3 o’clock appointment at the vet that isn’t going to be free. Please show me if I should take her in or not today. I had enlisted the help of four people who I knew were praying for me. Some would say: Why waste your prayers on a dog? I would say: Why not? God cares about all aspects of my life.
I gave her a small portion of breakfast and followed her outside. Along the way, I kept thanking God for the answer. I didn’t have it yet, but I was saying it anyway. I also kept saying: Show me the source of this trouble.
Lily walked over to a tree in the middle of the yard and began sniffing around. I crouched down to see what she was finding so interesting. On the ground was a bright red pit. I picked it up to examine it. It was as if someone had taken a cherry and ate the fruit and spit out the seed. I thought it was odd, but actually dismissed it.
She headed back for the house with no more ill effects. I still wasn’t sure what the trouble was, but I had a thought to look up cherries and toxicity to dogs. What I found astounded me. Not only can a cherry cause stomach problems for pets, the pit is highly toxic and can cause death. I sprinted back outside to look for the pit but I couldn’t find it. I gave my daughters instructions not to let the dogs outside until I had returned later.
As 3 ‘o’clock loomed closer, I kept getting this uneasy feeling. What if she was really sick, and I didn’t take her in? As I pulled into my driveway, this thought went through my mind: if she doesn’t act sick, keep her home and cancel the appointment. I found her to be back to her old self. She sprinted across the yard and didn’t seem to have anymore tummy upset. As I stood and watched her, I kept thinking…where did that cherry pit come from? We don’t have cherry trees in my yard, nor had I bought any at the store.
God, where did it come from? I asked inwardly. I felt I was to look to the left of me. Across the yard, and slightly hidden by my shed, I saw a neighbors tree blossoming over my fence. I walked over to examine it and found it full of choke cherries. Some had fallen over the fence into my yard where my dogs run with hers back and forth. I had found the culprit!
I walked along picking up half eaten berries and other full ones so that no more would be ingested. I saw my neighbor come out, and I spoke with her about the issue. She said her dogs had never bothered with it, and she immediately cut the branches back so it was no longer dangling over my fence. She was not aware of the poisonous nature of the fruit to dogs.
When I look back at the series of events, I can see how I was led to the solution. I tried not to panic, but I gave God a chance. Many times, we cannot see the truth because we are so blinded by fear. My dogs are like my children to me, so when one of them is a little off kilter, so am I. However, I know that God loves me and wants me to live in peace. This is why I knew if I asked for guidance, an answer would come.
I cannot tell you how comforting that is to the mind and the spirit. To let go and cast your care into the hands that made all that is around us. We are not alone in anything we go through. The answer may not always show up overnight, but if we keep on listening, don’t fall into despair and let the peace of God surround us, it will make us alert to what action to take in finding a remedy. We are promised that we can have it all with a cherry on top.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”