Thursday “Throwback” Thoughts – July 13, 2023 Edition: Dogs Part 11


Anybody who follows me anywhere online knows Chuy! But did you know that he was originally my dog? There is SO MUCH I could write about Chuy, but I will limit it to his amazing empathy since you can read a lot about him elsewhere on my site!

So Pharaoh had passed, and I had decided I didn’t want another dog. I could give my parrots (6 at the time) more attention, and concentrate more on them. We still had a dog (Curly) in the motorhome, and our cat Sleepee at the time, and that was enough for me!

Now this next part is, if you have never lived with me, something you don’t know and I don’t talk about. But it is integral to Chuy’s story, so I am going to share the highlights of it here, if not the details. When I had my stroke (Oct 16, 2008) it changed my brain, limiting its ability to manage sensory input (SPD), as well as removing certain filters that inhibit inappropriate responses (impulsivity with disinhibition). As a result, “overload” will often cause sudden mental chaos that causes instant uncontrolled – and uncontrollable – outbursts (verbal and physical) that I have been unable, on my own, to manage. (Pete is a saint.)

Once again, as with Curly, I was browsing the petfinder website and saw Chuy. It was late at night, Pete was asleep, and I wrote to the owners. It was another “I just KNOW!” moment. I heard back the next morning and was told they had had many offers to give him a home, and were just about to shut down for the night when my note came to them. “Something” impelled them to check their email so they did; the plan had been to give Chuy to the first person who replied but again, they knew they had to give him to me.

They wanted $30 for him. And the next day, with our money, we met the family – and Chuy – in a nearby church parking lot. We found out right away that he wasn’t a fan of riding in the car! And soon after that, that he had had both a broken tail and a broken rib that hadn’t healed properly. He was so afraid of sticks that he would disappear if we picked up a fly swatter or a broom or a yardstick…any stick. And he always stayed (stays) behind us when we’re standing, out of kicking range. These are things behaviors that have never gone away, although through gentle, positive conditioning, he will now accept a stick being held – as long we don’t get too close!

Consider these things:
– Chuy was from Texas and had made it to Michigan as a young dog.
– He was rehomed with this family only 6 weeks earlier, but now, suddenly, they couldn’t keep him. (Circumstances not relevant here.)
– They felt the need to do one last email check that one certain night, and bypass all other offers to rehome this dog.
– We had “happened to” find ourselves in a town, our motorhome broken down halfway to our destination (and near to this dog rather than several hours away where we would have been otherwise), for repairs when I saw the ad.
– I was WAY down the list, but was chosen for his home.
RIGHT place. RIGHT time. RIGHT circumstances. MINDS guided. To get THE exact dog that I needed from Texas, thousands of miles away, to me.
And THIS is what makes me say that:

The first time I went into overload, Chuy jumped up on my lap; he showed no fear, but rather pressed his front paws into my chest and looked intently at my face, not allowing me to look away. Within seconds my brain, in the midst of whirling into chaos, settled. Just…quieted. And he started wagging his tail and giving me kisses. This dog was sent for me!

And so it went, for a few years actually; he would naturally be there and seem to “pull” me from the mental chaos, almost before I knew it was happening at times. If I could just sit down he could calm my mind – and he did. Always.

Then Pete started pretty intense therapy for his service-induced PTSD. He started having episodes in his sleep, and anxiety and other responses during the day. And Chuy was there for him. In fact, Chuy knows before Pete does when Pete’s feelings are starting to go in a bad direction. He will get his attention, go to his chair, and do the same things for Pete, sometimes needing to become more insistent even, pressing his head against Pete’s bearded chin, or giving a well-placed lick to draw Pete’s attention…

Chuy’s story is an analogy for God’s relationship with us. We can come to Him broken and hurting, feeling useless, not even knowing how miserable we are at the time. But He can – and will! take us in, replace our pain with His love and joy and peace, and mold us into a beautiful vessel to be used by Him for better things than we ever could have imagined when we were in our broken, miserable state! To be used by God for others in the way that He used Chuy to touch us…what a miracle!

I would dare anyone to try to argue that this dog – this particular dog, with this particular gift – wasn’t sent by God to this particular couple, halfway across the country. As an answer to many, many prayers.

P.S. Chuy has been evaluated by Pete’s psychologist and has been confirmed as Pete’s official ESA.
From a little “nobody” to a BIG somebody!


Speedy Gonzales ~ Obi Wan Kenobi ~ Lady ~ Spanky Marie ~ Mick ~ IcyQ ~ Chandler ~ Doodlebug ~ Pharaoh ~ Curly ~

6 thoughts on “Thursday “Throwback” Thoughts – July 13, 2023 Edition: Dogs Part 11

  1. This story just ‘warmed-my-heart’. I hope Chuy will be with you for many more years. I don’t know how you’ve managed to have so many wonderful pets, then lose them, without becoming emotionally ‘unhinged’. Maybe it’s because you seem to have had another dog (and other pets) at the same time. I went ‘crazy’ with grief, especially after losing my last one, (Ollie) and determined that I would NEVER have another one…the ‘pain’ of grief is just too much for me to handle. I think that losing a pet is WORSE than losing a human. Well, anyway…I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as well as all the others. Thank you so much for taking the time to ‘share’ with us. I send my love…

    1. We hope so too! Chuy is pretty amazing – we have two pretty amazing dogs I’d say :). I think a huge thing that has helped me deal with the loss of pets over the years is having worked as a vet tech when I was in my 20s, it helped me come to terms with the overall picture of love and loss and the great ability to love again, experiencing the same joy in a different relationship, seeing that cycle over and over again. It also taught me that animals are not people, and the relationship is different…that there are so many hurting and needy animals out there that I can help, one at a time…after grieving a loss that gives me hope as well. Not everybody thinks of pets in the same ways and there are no wrong ways to deal with that kind of pain; those are the things that get me through the painful parts of losing them though. Strange thing: I know I have had 14 dogs who had a huge place in my life and heart (ie, Lady wasn’t “mine” but was as important to me as if she was)…but I’m only remembering 12 for some reason…? Since next week will be Maisie I will start with other pets over the years (though what can be said about newts? HAHAHA!) Love you too!

  2. Wow!!! Just wow!!! There are no words for how precious this God- miracle is!!
    You have certainly demonstrated God’s great love through this post.

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