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Rescue Human

My chihuahua loves me. Everywhere I go, he is there, anticipating my every move, golden eyes steady on mine, curled tail wagging, his posture one of total submission.  When I sit, I have to do so carefully because he often jumps into my spot ahead of me, anticipating a snuggle.  If I don’t scoot him over, I will squash him. When I eat cereal, he finishes the milk.  When I go into the bathroom, he sits outside the door. When I come home from work, he sits on top of the big chair, the highest point closest to the front door, and stretches his front paws out toward me, lowering his head for a good scratch and a “good boy, Chico.”

I used to think that he did these things because I was the one that fed him, gave him treats, and purposefully dropped scraps of food for him to find when I was cooking.  Now, I am not so sure.  My kids are now responsible for feeding Chico, and my daughter is the one who gives him treats for waking everyone up in the morning. Still, given a choice of family members to spend time with, my dog chooses me nine times out of ten.

Now, I have always thought it strange when people referred to their pets as literally being their children.  After all, we are humans, and they are animals, right?  Nonetheless, yesterday, I found myself asking my husband, “Todd, do you think Chico thinks I am his mother?”

“No,” he responded, to my great relief, “I think he knows you are his rescuer.”

It makes sense.  I found Chico at the Humane Society in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He was emaciated and sad and needed a home.  I remember that when I opened the door to his cage, he stood very slowly and crept gingerly across the black metal grate, his ribs a visible framework underneath his short, blonde coat.  The moment I held him to me, he stretched his neck, laid his head just under my chin, and closed his eyes.  He had a cough and was wheezing quite a bit, but I felt his little body relax in my arms and knew that I would take him home. He has been my faithful friend ever since, ardent in expressing his undying love and appreciation for having been rescued.  Not just rescued, but adopted.

In truth, I wish I were more like Chico.  I have a rescuer, too, and I am sad to admit that I get lazy sometimes and fail to express my love for Him and show proper gratitude for what He has done.  I was only six, after all, when Jesus wiped my sin away, and I am tempted to use that as an excuse.  Maybe I would be more consistent in my worship if I had gotten farther down that wide and corrupted road before being set free…maybe if I had done something horrible first.  Of course, the biggest problem with that very lame excuse is that my heart knows just how selfish and human I can be.  It’s really not what I was before Jesus that terrifies and shames me. It’s what I would be now without Him.  That is the cage from which I have been rescued.  Not just rescued, but adopted.

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