Editor’s Corner: A sweet mess

By Amy Forbus

Amy Forbus Editor, Arkansas United Methodist

Amy Forbus
Editor, Arkansas United Methodist

The Forbus household has a new canine family member.

Actually, he’s not new, just new to us. And truthfully, he’s not even that new to us, because we’ve been fostering him since May.

Buddy is eight years old. It doesn’t seem that he had the best start in life. Or the best middle part of life. But we’ve made the commitment to ensuring he has as good a life as possible for the rest of his time here on earth. (It helps that Angus, our crotchety 11-year-old cattle dog, doesn’t actively dislike him.)

Though we’ve had many foster dogs in recent years, Buddy is the first one since 2012 who we’ve seen through treatment for heartworms. His veterinarian worked graciously with us to help navigate that bumpy road full of restricted activity and challenging side effects, and it’s now behind us.

But some of the bumps in the road didn’t disappear when treatment ended. Ultimately, making the situation sustainable for the long term has involved pharmaceuticals: Buddy currently takes a minimum of seven pills a day. As far as he’s concerned, though, it means he gets two fingers of peanut butter every day, so it’s not a bad deal.

When I look at Buddy, I see a sweet mess of a dog. A scar between his soulful eyes, notches on his velvety ears, worn and missing teeth, callused elbows… plus anxiety without his morning meds, and some serious log-sawing action loud enough to disturb everyone’s sleep at night if he doesn’t get those three pills after supper.

I see the sweet mess, and I see how much this creature of God is worth.

I view caring for dogs as one way I live out my responsibility to treat God’s world with respect and love. And it’s more fulfilling than carrying reusable shopping bags or participating in curbside recycling, though I do those things, too.

It’s also far more difficult than those tasks. Taking on the care of an animal means seeing that animal through to its life’s conclusion. Today a dear friend took that last walk into the veterinarian’s office with her four-footed girl. Having faced that same walk less than two years ago, I know that believing you’re doing the kindest and most loving thing for the animal in your care doesn’t make it any easier.

It’s part of our responsibility, taking care of what God has given us. Even when it’s hard. As author Glennon Doyle Melton reminds me, “We can do hard things.” And thanks be to God, we can do them with great love.

To reach me, send an email to aforbus@arumc.org.