How to Love as Taught by Whoopie

I did not want this dog. I already had one, and we lived on a busy road. Busy to the point that over the past 15 years, we had lost two dogs to vehicles on it. The dog we now owned I had trained tirelessly over his puppy year to learn to stay away from it. He learned well. I was very pleased. This dog however was a couple years old. How would I ever teach her?

My sisters wanted me to take her though. Our dear mom had passed away and the dog I had picked out for her from the local pound a couple years prior to her death needed a new home. All my sisters wanted me to take her. The stack was clearly packed against me. It was pretty clear. The dog was going home with me, and becoming a part of my family.

Her name was Whoopie.

The gals at the shelter liked her so much she stayed out with them in the office area. I noticed her only after I had looked at 145 other homeless, big-eyed dogs. “What about this one?”, they sweetly asked after I had emerged from the kennels. “We call her Whoopie, she has just been spayed.”

She was blond with a sweet german-shepherd face. I told them I needed an old-lady dog. One that was not too young, needed too much exercise, or jumped up on people. Our mother was suffering from moderate dementia and not as strong as she used to be. She loved dogs, and we knew she needed another.

I looked at Whoopie, she looked at me with very sweet eyes. I told the gals I’d be back tomorrow for them to meet one another and see how it goes.

“I am NOT going inside that building and seeing all those sad dogs!”, Mom soundly declared upon arriving at the shelter.

“Ok. I’ll bring her out to you.”

Whoopie came out on her leash most politely, sat down at Mom’s feet and looked up at Mom.

“I do declare that dog just smiled at me,” Mom said as she bent down to pet her.

…and that is how Whoopie came happily into our lives. All our lives, as we four sisters took turns caring for our dear mother in her last years on her beloved farm, while Whoopie took care of us all.

When we told the farm good-bye for the last time, I climbed into my truck and looked at Whoopie sitting quietly on the passenger seat. I wondered if she felt as lonely and sad and we sisters did that morning. She was quiet the whole way home. It was the beginning of a wonderful life with two dogs. Both of whom came from the same shelter (we got them at the same time).

It did not take long to realize that Whoopie loved people more than she loved to wander off. She was ‘the perfect hostess’. The first to say hello, the first to say good-bye. She wanted to be sure everyone was ok. So to do that, she was nearly always underfoot! She look straight into our eyes as if she understood everything, and stood quietly while petting her soft, floppy ears. She lived to please, to love, and to be scratched on her belly.

She died suddenly just this past July 23, 2020. Without warning.

I never thought she would be the first of ‘Mom’s pets’ to go. The miniature horses are much older than she. She was one good dog. The dog that taught us the selflessness of love.

Not long after we brought her home, we moved from that place on the busy road to our current farm on a private, quiet road to accommodate both Whoopie and the four miniature horses that were also Mom’s. We also have two big horses, chickens, and miniature cows. It has been a grand five years here.

To love without complaint, to give without strings, to be faithful and true, to care beyond self, to be generous, and to make folks happy. I do not know how God in His wisdom has put that in His creations, but He surely did with our Whoopie. She lived out the Words of Scripture better than I have. She was a great teacher. Rest well you good, good dog…