“I hate dogs!!!” was my thinking for years before a small, lovable puppy came into my life.
Before Ike arrived, my animal experience hadn’t been good for most of my life. In my short 40 years, I got scratched, bit, licked, and fell prey to the dreaded cat scratch fever (yes, it is more than an 80’s rock song). Having a dog would be out of the question. RIGHT?

Jumping back to 2011, I was 31, in love, and it was with the girl next door (literally). There was nothing that she could say that would stop me from marrying her. I had the ring, the girl, and a house for the girl to live in after the “I dos.”

So, the time had come. Everything was all set. I knelt down on one knee, nervously trembling as will you marry me, tumbled out of my mouth. Joy anxiously replied, yes, but insisted her dog Teddy was also part of the package.” Fear rushed over me like a bad case of food poisoning, and I awkwardly agreed as my stomach churned uncontrollably.

Our big day had come and gone by mid-august, as the wedding gifts were all put away, and my new bride was true to her word. Much to my dismay, a short time later, I was staring eye-to-eye with a little gray and white Shih Zhu as he stared back at me.

Teddy was a good dog, although, unfortunately, we never truly bonded. About six months after Joy and I married, God began to stir our hearts changing the family’s direction, and we could see a need to fulfill. Joy’s heart was torn; she knew how much her father, Roger, had bonded with Teddy when they had lived at the family home.

Roger missed Teddy after we married, and they moved away. So after much prayer and seeking the Lord’s will, Joy finally decided that Teddy should live with Grandpa and Grandma since he brought them so much love and happiness.

Although I could see Joy made a difficult choice, I thought everything was finally going my way; I had a wife, stepdaughter, house, and NO DOG. Life was finally smooth sailing, or so I thought.

Not long after Teddy’s departure, my new wife revealed she was unhappy without a dog in the house.

Reluctantly I went with the girls to our local shelter to just look at a puppy that Joy found on their website. It was a blow to my ego, and I was looking forward to the peace and quiet of living in a no-pet house.

His name was Ike, and he was a new arrival at the shelter. He looked pathetically adorable with his paw up on the cage, eagerly eyeing everyone as they walked by. When the girls came around the corner and saw Ike, I knew I was in trouble. They fell in love with him at first sight, and I wondered, out of all the dogs here, why Ike. I knew that if this was going to work, God would have to show up, and boy, did he ever.

Several other families wanted to adopt Ike and filled out the application; there were too many to count. Thankfully after much prayer, we were the family God chose, and the girls were overjoyed; I guess I was mildly excited too. We ultimately adopted Ike into our family and brought him home. It was a happy time for Joy, and she thrived with having a new puppy to love; it was a relief knowing that the decision to bring another dog home was just what she needed to adjust to married life.

My work schedule changed a year or so later, allowing me to spend more time with Ike. Then, Ike and I truly bonded and became the best of friends. The bond we developed has become a source of fuel for my creativity, bringing laughter back into my life and allowing me to tap into a new creative place of writing.

Seeing God’s plan for Ike in our family back then was difficult, but now I’m uplifted. He’s a comedian and gets the whole family to belly laugh. Nowadays, Ike is like our third child, spoiled by Joy, the kids, and especially by me. Ike is essential, and I can’t see life without him. I wouldn’t have believed it years ago, but with God’s direction, I went from being down on dogs to living my best life. One that I’m happy to confess includes my puppy best friend, Ike.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD,

thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.