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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 163 - Saving Strawberry {FMF}

Time for Five Minute Friday, the weekly keyword-inspired timed writing challenge hosted by Kate Motaung.

Today's word is HAVEN.

And I have to say...I suggested it to Kate, because in giving a haven to an abandoned and abused baby Bullmastiff, I found something of a haven for my own heart.

Six days ago, the waif appeared on my doorstep. Took footsore to walk, and too sad to lift her head, she had been dumped in the desert and used for target practice by what Chris Kyle (American Sniper) called savages. They aren't just in far-off lands, guys. They are among us.

We got her into the house, and got some strawberry Pedialyte into her (hence her name, Strawberry Hill). She accepted that, and food, with a kind of grave dignity that belied her age...for though she's the size of a grown German Shepherd, her adult teeth - so white! - have just grown in.

She has a sleeping crate in the kitchen, and likes its dark coolness, but more and more she's venturing out...not to play, yet, but to explore a little bit o her new home, and meet some of her noisy brothers and sisters.

And yet, she's almost silent, aside from a quiet whine when she needs to go out. She's very neat, and fastidious.

My physical state kept going downhill this week...but what are you gonna do? leave her to the desert? Call animal control to take her away and kill her?

Not likely.

And I have learned that saving Strawberry has saved a part of me. I thought I was hitting bottom, but it was a false bottom (like a spy's briefcase!), and there is a reservoir of care and love that was just waiting to be opened. There is still resilience in my heart, and that lends stamina to my body. My haven is strength, forged by the love that says I'm not walking away from this.

Truly, of faith, hope and love...the greatest is love.

Love is what provides a haven, that place for which we all look, and so few find.

Strawberry found it, and in so doing, she showed it to me.

And so, here's some music to go along with it...



This is what she looks like. We actually don't have a picture yet, but this one is a dead ringer from 
this website.

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53 comments:

  1. oh Andrew...THIS THIS MY FRIEND. this is beauty. thank you. and BIG kisses and a hug for your Strawberry Hill and other loved fourlegged friends

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    1. Janel, thank you so much! Kisses and hugs delivered and appreciated.

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  2. Look at you gushing about a reservoir of love within you!!
    I'm so glad you're still here, Andrew. And what a blessing to have that love returned from that sweet Strawberry girl!!
    Praying every time I think of you (which is more than once a week on Thursday nights)!!
    Love,
    Tammy

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    1. Tammy, thank you so much for the prayers...and Strawberry really is a blessing. She's unlike any dog I've ever seen; there is a gravitas in her that is mixed with complete, open innocence.

      And I am glad to me here too. Much love!

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  3. I'm sitting here with my adopted terrier cuddled up next to me. It's amazing what these creatures can do to the human heart, isn't it?

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    1. It is indeed amazing what the can do to the heart, Jen. Strawberry is watching me as I write, with a slight smile on her face. What is she thinking?

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    1. Sarah, I am reading these comments aloud to Strawberry, and when I got to yours, her tail started thumping...she absolutely KNOWS she's beautiful!

      Thank you for being here!

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  5. And the greatest of these is love! Love is such a powerful gift. So much THIS: "My haven is strength, forged by the love that says I'm not walking away from this." I'm so glad you're not walking away from us. Love you brother! I'm in the #8 spot this week.

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    1. Never walking away, Tara. Today was physically miserable, but there's a lot of love yet to give in this life, and I aim to spend it all!

      Love you too, dear Tara. Thank you so much for being here.

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  6. Aww, love the story of Strawberry and how she kept you going this week. I hold a special place in my heart for those who take in dogs that are unwanted, thrown away. I am glad you found haven in her and she in you.

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    1. Miranda, thank you so much...years ago I met a US Ambassador to a country that shall here be nameless, and he told me that his ambition, on retiring, was to go to a shelter and say, "I want to adopt."

      When the attendant asked, "Which dog?", he would say, "All of them."

      And he did exactly that.

      Thank you for being here!

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  7. great story:) what could be better for a dog lover, than to have another dog to rescue. then you find out he may have rescued you. sounds like it was a better week than it might have been.

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    1. Martha, you got that exactly right. When I hear preachers say, "Have faith...your best days are yet to come!" I have come to realize that the definition of best may not mean prosperity or comfort or health...they may well mean duty and mission.

      Certainly Strawberry would agree...on my behalf, and hers, don't you think?

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  8. Oh how the unexpected arrives! This beautiful doggie-shaped gift has the fingerprints of our Father all over it. Somehow sight of his love in this form also stirs faith and hope for my own situations... I had forgotten he sneaks up on us with such wonderful and timely surprises. What we need, when we need it.
    Blessings to your whole household as ever.

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    1. Yes, Ruth, Strawberry's a walking, tail-wagging God-Wink. And she also knows how to wink, with utter seriousness.

      I was - and am - doing absolutely terrible physically, and despair was creeping in. God realized that what I needed was not a hug. It was a mission.

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  9. Oh Andrew, this is so beautiful...God is so beautiful...This touched my heart: "and there is a reservoir of care and love that was just waiting to be opened". Love how God sends us these gifts that break open our hearts even further and allow us to experience His Love even more.

    BTW all week I've been so blessed by your last Five Minute Friday post. I keep being reminded to listen to the One True voice. So thankful for you.

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    1. Anna, thank you so much for this. You're very right...the gifts that break open our hearts are precisely those that open them to His Love.

      And I am so very, very grateful that my post last week touched you. Both thrilled and humbled...thank you for letting me know!

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  10. Love is what provides a haven. Amen. I love how God sent you a haven, right to your door. I can read the hope that remains in your heart and in your being. So glad you continue to share, brother. Bless you.

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    1. Julie, yes...it's wonderful how God sent this heart-haven to my door. Literally!

      I was hurting, and the waters of despair were rising...and His strong arm, in the guise of an enormous and helpless puppy, pulled me right out.

      So glad you are here today!

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  11. You are amazing - so is Barb. Another pooch to rescue YOU!!! xo

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    1. Susan, thank you...but God has 'amazing' cornered, here. He saw that I was starting to go down, and He realized that I didn't need a hug. I needed a job.

      And so He sent Miss Strawberry, who, as I write this, is sleeping at my feet.

      XO and waggy-waggy tails...including a new BIG one that has already knocked over Ladron the Service Heeler.

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  12. Beautiful, Andrew! I know you've talked about it before, but the idea of who is rescuing whom is remarkable, isn't it? Glad Strawberry is venturing out - and glad you have found that false bottom. ;)
    Annie
    annierim.wordpress.com

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    1. Annie, yes...the question of who's doing the saving is more complex than it first appears. In this case, I was definitely going down in despair...and now I have a mission, and Strawberry has a home.

      Thanks so much for being here, my friend.

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  13. Just thought I'd check in on you, Andrew, and I'm happy to see that you are extending your compassion toward yet another poor and abused animal. Little does she know what a God-send you and Barbara are. She probably has never received such gracious and patient care. And I'm so glad that she has given you the boost you need in your own life. God is working in more ways than one here in your and this sweet pooch's situation! Love it and praying for you!

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    1. Beth, thank you...I think of and pray for you daily.

      God definitely saw a need, and it wasn't Strawberry's alone. I was going down; physically, things are getting a lot harder. So He gave me a reason to fight harder. I guess He knows me pretty well.

      I'm so glad you're here today, Beth. Truly.

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  14. God knew exactly what you needed this week! It was like His grace saying I am still here loving you and His love poured into this poor dog. He is faithful like that. Thanks for stopping by my blog today : ) wishing you a good weekend

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    1. Kristina, you're absolutely right. I needed a purpose that would make me fight through increasing pain, and God sure sent one. It was the perfect one...as might be expected!

      Loved your post this week. Thank you for writing it!

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  15. So perfect. So beautiful. So true. It's all about love.

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    1. Indeed it is, Norma. It's all about love. The only thing worth living for, and if it comes down to it, the only thing in the service of which I would choose to die.

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  16. So good to hear you are still saving the precious animals that find their way to your "door step"! Strawberry is definitely a fortunate one to have found you...as are you!

    Always upbeat...with all that happens to you! Thanks for sharing Strawberry with us...her ventures out will soon be more and more as she/he? realizes how much love is surrounding her!

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    1. Barbara, thanks! Strawberry's a little girl, and I will keep everyone updated on her adventures. Today, she went for her longest walk yet, and was an object of intense interest to The Dogs Across The Way, Buddy and Baby...who are both boys.

      I think she feels the love, not only from us, but from her canine family. She has kind of regal procession to the door when she goes out, touching noses with all she meets!

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  17. It breaks my heart and moves me to rage that people do things like that to animals. Bless you, dear brother, for being so faithful to care for them as God intended, even when you're in the middle of your own great battle. Me and all the rescue dogs I've ever had - Petey, Patches, Tramp, Bella, Rags, Bugsy, Benny, Blue, Pippa and Fuzzy - all thank you.

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    1. Oh, Marie, thank you for sharing the names of your canine family...barbara grew up with a Benny, and we currently have Bella The Wonder Dog (who is learning to walk again in spite of a broken back).

      I have the same feelings about abuse...and have found my purpose in caring for these, His beloved creatures. Their needs outweigh mine, and in that, they keep me fighting hard to live.

      Thank you so much for being here!

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  18. Beautiful story, Andrew. Made me cry. :) I'm so glad God knows exactly what we need to lift our spirits!

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    1. He does know indeed, Tasha. He saw that I was fading, and needed not a hug, but another fight, this one on Strawberry's behalf.

      And looking at her, so happy and bright-eyed now...sometimes I get tears, too.

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  19. Such a beautiful thing! And isn't it amazing as we give what we need, we get it in return?!?

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    1. It is indeed amazing, Kadie...we think we know what we need, but God knows SO much better!

      Thank you for being here, and commenting. I truly appreciate you.

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  20. Loved this story...having had two rescue dogs of my own...I can only tell you what a reminder they are of God's unconditional love. They love how God loves. Praying for you both that this would be a redemption story, not just for Strawberry, but for you as well. Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. Bev, it's definitely a redemption story. I was falling into the kind of despair from which return is not easy. Strawberry needed a home, and I needed...not a warm hug from God, but a mission from a stern CO.

      And aren't rescue dogs just wonderful? They KNOW.

      Thank you so much for being here!

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  21. There's a soft spot in my heart for big dogs because we have a St. Bernard, and I smiled at the name you gave her, because there's a horse in the Chronicles of Narnia named "Strawberry" (Magician's Nephew?) and a Bull Mastiff is . . . roughly the size of a horse, yes?

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    1. You're right, Michele...Strawberry (later 'Fledge', in Narnia) is the London cabman's horse in 'The Magician's Nephew'. I loved the name - Barbara chose it - because Sour Strawberry will be...yeah, big as a horse. She's grown measurably in a week!

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  22. Oh, wow! I love how an injured animal - an animal still willing to trust humans after being abused - has taught you what your readers already knew...you have a lot yet in you to give! Many blessings, Andrew!

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    1. Carrie, thank you for this. I thought I was running out of everything...and God, through Strawberry, showed me that there were not only reserves, but a definite obligation to use them in His Purpose.

      I am so grateful that you are here today.

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  23. You my friend brought a tear to my eye. Bless you!

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    1. Thanks, Paul. She brought a tear to my eyes, too.

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  24. Andrew, I don't know "your story"... but your heart is evident in this post. :) I too, was rescued by an abandoned dog. One of the best presents I have ever gotten from Jesus. From this day forth, for whatever your story entails, you will have my prayers.

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    1. Jane, thank you so much for this comment...I firmly believe that He does send them, and He's sent me...well, many. Strawberry has LOTS of brothers and sisters here. And they have saved me, from the night-time demons of PTSD. They stand post so I can rest.

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  25. Oh, Andrew! Man's inhumanity to man (and man's best friend) never ceases to amaze me. I'm so glad that God put people like you and Barb on this earth to bring comfort and haven to man's best friend as well as us people. Keep up the encouragement and haven-giving.

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    1. I so agree with you, ANita...and that's why both Barb and I gave up much of the life we'd planned together. For us it was preference and fun. For these guys, it was life or death.

      Even if I was well enough to eat out, we wouldn't...because what better place to eat than in a house full of love?

      Thank you so much for being here today!

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  26. Oh this: "There is still resilience in my heart, and that lends stamina to my body."

    This weekend at a conference, one of the speakers was talking on Hope and he referred to that Scripture (Hope, Faith and Love... the greatest is Love...) He said that the actual original language for the word 'greatest' there means elder. As in - these three things remain and are eternal... but Love came first! Love makes way for Hope and Hope makes way for Faith! I loved that!

    Praying for you, brother! So glad the Father sent Strawberry to you... He knew He could trust you with her --and her, with you!

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  27. "Love provides a haven" - so beautiful! True of us down here on earth and our eternal home. Thank you for the lovely story! So happy Strawberry found her way to you!

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  28. "Love provides a haven" - so beautiful! True of us down here on earth and our eternal home. Thank you for the lovely story! So happy Strawberry found her way to you!

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