Worst Friday Ever

This Good Friday is possibly going to be my worst. My puppy died. Toffee, our 24-month old puppy which my brother had found a year and a half ago near the Gasing Forest Reserve (abandoned with a twin), became a member of my family. In the last few weeks, Toffee was losing weight drastically. Oblivious to his real condition, I assumed he was just sick, and didn't pay enough attention to him. My family have been great, caring for all our dogs at home. It was early this week that my brother took him to the vet, only to find out Toffee was struck with tick fever, and the next few days were critical and bleak. The vet gave us his honest assessment, and gave up to Sunday for the dog to live. But God had other plans.

This morning, we brought Toffee to the vet again, and there were signs of improvement. Despite his fragile, shrunken frame of bones and skin, Toffee was able to walk, wag his tail, and stare poignantly at us, like he always does. We came home on a note of hope. I returned to the office grudgingly, to get work done (looking back, I shouldn't have).

At 3pm, my brother called to say that Toffee had passed on. Toffee had apparently walked into my room, and walked out, frothing in his mouth, and died. When I got the call, I heaved a sigh, not knowing how to respond. On the drive home, I tried holding back tears. When I saw Toffee lying lifeless on the floor, I couldn't hold back any longer, I choked, cried, weeped, and moaned uncontrollably. No words could express how I felt (and am still feeling). Maybe Toffee went into my room to bid one last farewell, wag his tail or stare poignantly one last time, before meeting his earthly end.

I was angry at God. Pissed. Because I prayed that God would heal Toffee, and I had complete faith He would do so. But that didn't happen. I even prayed that if possible, God could make a swop: give my life to the dog, and lay upon me Toffee's fever. I figured I could medicate myself if that was done. But nothing happened.

I apologised to God for being angry at Him. I don't want to be angry at Him (especially Him). But I was upset that He wouldn't do me that small favour of letting my dog live, or even letting me take on Toffee's suffering in exchange for my life.

In my prayers and mulling, I realised that that was exactly what Jesus did. At Gethsemane when he chose the cup of suffering and sin, he did it because he really loved us, in the same way I really loved my dog. Jesus was willing to take on our sickness in order that we might have his life. It made sense to me. He really loved us.

Perhaps Toffee knew the significance of dying today on Good Friday. Maybe God wanted to remind me that he had to go through the same thing, watching His son die. Not that he was being sadistic in taking Toffee's life to remind me, but perhaps he wanted me to know that He understands how I feel. The anger and frustration, amidst the sadness. But with Jesus' death, the story didn't stop there. We celebrate Easter Sunday because Jesus rose from death two days later. He defeated death, and gave us hope. For all who believe in Him, our sins are forgiven, we have an eternal life and hope. One day, our tears will be wiped away. There won't be anymore sickness and death. In Jesus, everything will be made new.

I'm reminded that there will be an Easter for Toffee. While some would disagree with the theology that animals have an eternity, I chanced upon a verse in Ecclesiastes that spoke of a hereafter for even animals. And I look forward to that.

I know some of you may not be able to empathize with this loss of mine. To some, it's only a dog. But to me, it's losing a loved one. I don't expect you to completely understand the depth/complexity of my emotions. I realise not everyone may see things the way I do. And I had no intention here of 'creatively' massaging the gospel message into Toffee's death. I couldn't sleep since 5am, was thinking of Toffee and I needed to write. Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said…

the passing of pets are always harder to take because of their innocence and unconditional love for us.
Anonymous said…
I'm so sorry for your lost Kevin and I can understand what you are going through because I once had gone through the same situation. There is always a reason for all the things that happen to us. You will know it soon enough. My uncle once told me that all animals are God's creation and when we are in heaven we can ask God for the same animal that we have once lost. I'm looking forward to see Lessie, Lucky, Tanya, Tiger, Browny all in heaven when I go there. Maybe you should too. Cheer up.... ")

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