“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
Everyone in my family fell in love with Jasmine the moment they met her.
I knew they would, because I did.
Jasmine is the little black girl-dog that followed Rambo the pig to the birthday party my animal friends had given me.
When I met her for the first time, I felt like there were bumblebees buzzing around inside my stomach and I couldn’t even talk.
We played toss-the-ball and tug-the-sock at the party, and we had a great time together.
When she had to leave and go back home with Rambo it made me sad, because I thought that I would never see her again.
I never paid much attention to other dogs before, especially girl-dogs. But after meeting Jasmine I couldn’t stop thinking about her.
With her coal black fur and her playful ways, I had never seen or met another dog quite like her.
When she laughed, it made me laugh. Her laughter was beautiful, like wind-chimes blowing in the wind.
Then when Dad said some neighbors wanted to give away a shelter dog to a good family, I almost didn’t believe it when it was Jasmine that he brought home.
Dad had said that since I was now two years old, it was like being twelve or fourteen in human years.
I didn’t quite understand what he meant, but I guess he meant that I was changing and growing.
I had grown bigger over the past year, but I still felt the same about most things. It was only Jasmine that I felt differently about.
I still liked doing all of the fun things that a boy-dog like me likes to do, but now I wanted to do all of those things with Jasmine. I had never thought that I would like a girl.
Jasmine took to Dad the way that I had taken to Mom. Every dog has placed within their heart a desire to be dedicated to one special human.
Oh, I love everybody in my family, and I would protect them with my life. But Mom is the one that I am completely dedicated to.
She is the one that first fed me when they found me in the field. She is the one that I whine after when she is gone, and the first one that I look for when I wake up in the morning.
This silver haired lady is the one that the Creator has placed first in my heart.
And I believe that Dad is the one that Jasmine feels this same way about.
Perhaps it was because Dad was the one who brought her to our home to live. For whatever reason, it became clear that Dad was the one that Jasmine was dedicated to.
When Dad brought her home that first day, we played in the front yard until it was time to go inside.
That night, I lay down in my usual spot on the floor by Mom’s side of the bed and Jasmine lay on the floor next to Dad’s side.
When Dad got up in the middle of the night to go and sit in his big brown chair, Jasmine went and lay by him.
For the next few days, when Mom would let Jasmine and I outside in the morning, we stayed in the big front yard to play.
The days were getting warmer, the flowers were all blooming, and we had the best time chasing butterflies together.
We would play “keep-away” with an old faded tennis ball and “tug” with a pair of old socks that were tied together. All I wanted to do was spend time with my new friend.
I was so excited about Jasmine; I didn’t realize that I was neglecting my faithful “old” friends who had given me the socks and ball as presents at my birthday party.
Then one morning a familiar “tap-tap-tap” on our kitchen window woke me up. I jumped and ran to the kitchen only to see Marvin the possum’s little pink nose and black eyes looking in.
As soon as Mom let us outside later that morning, I told Jasmine that we had to go find Marvin.
We ran around the corner of the house and headed toward Marvin’s place at the back corner of the yard, but he was already sitting on top of his branch pile waiting for us.
“Hey Jake, where have you been for the last couple of days?” said Marvin. “Hi Jasmine, what are you doing here?”
“Hi Marvin,” replied Jasmine.
“Hey Marvin, you’re not going to believe what happened.” I said.
“Jasmine has come to live at our house. The people that live next door to Rambo couldn’t keep her and Dad brought her home to live with us. Isn’t that great?”
I was so excited to tell Marvin the good news that my feet were prancing while I was talking.
“Yeah, that’s great I suppose.” said Marvin, but he didn’t sound very excited about it.
“I’ve missed playing with you for the last few days. Have you been sick?” asked Marvin.
“Oh no, I haven’t been sick.” I said, “I was just so excited about Jasmine that we’ve been playing in the front yard together. I should have come and told you sooner.”
“We’re sorry,” said Jasmine.
“Oh, that’s okay” said Marvin, but he didn’t look okay and he didn’t sound okay.
“I’ve got to go. I’ll see you later.” And with that, Marvin the possum was up the tree trunk, across the branches, and out of sight.
“I hope we didn’t hurt his feelings,” said Jasmine. “He left kind of suddenly. I hope he doesn’t mind me living here.”
“Oh, he’s alright,” I said. “Marvin just has some unusual ways. He knows that he’s my best friend. He probably had somewhere to go.”
I tried to sound confident for Jasmine’s sake, but Marvin was acting strange, even for Marvin.
“Let’s go tell the others the good news.” I said, and we ran towards the chicken coop to find Spots the calf and Chester the goat.
Everyone was so excited to see Jasmine again, and when I told them how she had come to live with us, they just stood there with their mouths wide open.
“Wow!” said Spots, “Surely this must be the work of our Creator.”
It did seem that with the way everything had happened since the birthday party, it must have been God’s plan all along for Jasmine to be a part of our family.
We stayed and played with Spots and Chester for a while, and I showed Jasmine how to race Spots up and down the fence line.
Chester laughed so hard with his “baaaaa, baaaaa” that he said his sides hurt.
Dad finally whistled for Jasmine and I to come inside, and we had to say goodbye to our friends.
I had thought that Marvin would hear us playing and come to join in the fun, but he never did.
I hoped that everything was alright with my possum buddy.
(TO BE CONTINUED)