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Jamie Johnson
28 June 2017


Today, we had to put down our dear dog Haven. Renal failure, and hematoma, along with nearly 14 years, had brought her to significant decline. We have shed a lot of tears over our beloved pet. She was a member of the family. She preceded all of our children and until this afternoon, had been there their entire lives.

Haven was a Rat Terrier/Cattle Dog mix. We first saw her in a cage in the pound in 2003 as a puppy named "Puppers." I remember getting a call at work the next day from my wife. She was at the pound and said, "Honey, guess what just crawled up on my lap?" It was that puppy and my wife quickly followed with, "Can we take her home?" Of course, I said, "Yes."

Upon adopting her, we named her Haven after a radio show I heard everyday on my commute: Haven Today as I liked the name and told my wife we were giving this puppy a home, a haven.

We had many good memories with Haven. The folks at the pound predicted correctly, "She's going to have a good life." And she did. She was loved well. Even when she committed the "Lambchop chewing incident" or ran away momentarily to get tangled in the tree at the end of the lane, we still loved her and took care of her. That's kind of a picture of those in Christ as they relate to God. Though we stray, He loves us still. We trained Haven and provided for her, even comforted and loved her through her final moments. In Christ, God trains us and guides us and provides for us and He is there in our final moments.

Haven was like our first child. She gained nicknames and we had routines. We would call her "Haven Hoggin" and "Ravenous Havenus." Haven and I would "wrestle." My wife and Haven would cuddle. She was there when we had children and as they grew. We will miss her greatly. I will miss the little things from her excitement when someone arrived at the house to just my talking to her. She was a good friend and loyal companion. And there were lessons to be learned in how she observed us expectantly with anticipation, something worth modeling in our relationship to God.

We offered Haven a haven. A dear family friend made a sign for us depicting the definition of haven as "A place of safety or refuge, a harbor." God allowed us to have Haven for a season and to learn from the experience, even about Him. In Christ, He offers "A place of safety or refuge, a harbor."

After Haven's passing, my wife said that she, Haven and I were together in her beginning and we were together at her end. We were with her to the very end as we held her near on our laps in her final breaths and thereafter. As we shed tears, she breathed a sigh of relief. Jesus is with the believer to the very end and with them thereafter in glory where there are no tears.

In the loss of a dog, we see how pain over a death is an expression of love. Yet, it is a big lesson. God demonstrated His love in such a way. Sometimes, it is in the small, the simple, the dependent things where God gives us a lesson or experience. May we see His work in the creation and honor Him even when there are tears while anticipating in Christ a glory far beyond what this world can offer.

In memory of Haven:
August 26, 2003 - June 28, 2017

My dear Haven

"We loved on and cared for one another until the very end. She passed on my lap with her head on Jamie's leg. No more pain for her. Sweet, sweet puppin'. A season has passed. As I redecorate the bathroom and remove the little duckies of our childrens' early days, I had not really planned on removing Haven's bowls too. This is why I never ask time to hurry along. The passing of time brings change - both good and hard. This is why we need to relish the seconds and the minutes. The seasons pass so quickly. It feels a bit like the end of a big season here - in the blink of an eye. I remember searching the local shelters for a puppy and bringing each baby home to be greeted by the pup who would never leave my side. Now, they are looking all grown up and she is but a sweet memory. All sweet memories."

~ from a Facebook post* from Louise, Haven's "Mommy"
on the day after: 29 June 2017

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