• jeanineenglert

Unexpected Gifts May Be Right Around the Corner



Every year, I always receive unexpected gifts. Not the wrapped, shiny, commercial kind of gifts, but offerings of things that I could never imagine coming into my life. Every January, I pray to have any open heart to receive those gifts, as they often involve uncertainty, risk, and tiptoeing through a bit of fear.


On February 1st of this year, my husband and I lost of the most amazing unexpected gifts we’d ever had: our sweet American eskimo mix, Chloe, to intestinal cancer. She was a rescue, and one that literally followed my husband and our other beloved pup Maggie home from a run on April Fool’s Day back in 2011. She was covered in mud, had a bark collar on, and was dragging a rope behind her, one she’d chewed her way through to be free.


Fearing she’d be hit by a car, my husband brought her home, gave her a bath, and called the number on Chloe’s tags to let her owner’s know he’d found her. The man was angry at her running away again, but begrudgingly came to pick her up. When my husband made an offhanded comment to the man about how sweet she was and if she ever needed a new home she had one with us, the man didn’t hesitate and left her with us that night. All he took back was the bark collar. He left Chloe with us and drove away with his two little girls in back of the minivan. I was so shocked, you could have knocked me over with a feather.


I have to admit, I was hesitant to get attached to her. I feared the man would change his mind and come back, and I was also heartsore. I’d lost a sweet dog that could have been Chloe’s sister 8 months prior after having her for over 13 years. I didn’t know if I could love Chloe with my whole heart when she reminded me so much of the dog I’d lost. But, I didn’t know Chloe: she was impossible not to love with your whole heart.


The first few months, she was shy with us as she’d never been allowed to live indoors and she’d never been given treats or toys. The poor girl didn’t bark at all for years after wearing a bark collar for the first year and a half of her life. She’d “snap” her teeth together to show her excitement or get our attention. The more she came out of her shell, the more joy she exuded. She jumped and twirled in the air, hunted little creatures in the yard with her sister Maggie, and never met a stranger. She was always smiling. And her yawns. . . they were the sweetest noises you could ever hear.


So, even though we lost one of our treasures this year, it’s a reminder to always have an open heart. You never know what unexpected gifts may come your way this year.


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