Guest blog: Life with Lola

A big thank you to Miranda from Grace and gravy for this great post! She is our pet guest blogger for the month.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
—Josh Billings (a.k.a. Henry Wheeler Shaw; humorist and lecturer)

It was 8 years ago this past August.

It was the summer when our lives fell apart.

The year when as a mother, I realized what it was like to carry the world of worry, guilt and shame on my shoulders.

To carry burdens that even to this day I haven’t been able to lose.

Life was going on like it always had. The busyness of summer was going full-force. The constant coming and going. The days at the pool, the nights at the baseball field, the preparations for my daughter to start kindergarten.

Right in the middle of our controlled chaos, is when our oldest daughter, a teenager at the time, came home from spending the day with friends, to tell us about a puppy that was going to be killed by a boy she knew from school, if he didn’t find a home for her.

I knew how dramatic she could be. I knew the lengths she would go to get her way, and I wondered if she was stretching the truth just to get me to cave in.

I didn’t want that mutt. Plain and Simple. I already had a puppy that I was planning to buy. In fact that weekend we were traveling to go pick out the one we wanted.

See my furbaby, I loved, died that summer. I was so devastated that I wanted another dog not only by the same breeder, but by the same mother.

In other words, I just wanted my furbaby back!

And to our surprise, our daughter let it go.

But when the weekend arrived, the world had other plans for our lives. The unthinkable happened. Our life as we knew it was shattered. For privacy of my family, I cannot go into details. All can I say is our children were victims of something so evil and not of this world. I let a monster dressed as a normal person in my front door, in my safe place, in my heart.

That was the day my world fell apart.

That was the day, as a parent I had failed.

That is the day, that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I don’t know how to explain the hell we were experiencing. But God said it perfectly when he stated that the enemy is here to Kill, Steal and Destroy.

After that, I lost my faith in God. I was so mad, so angry. How could a God who loved us so much let my family experience such hardship? Such agony? Such pain and evil?

The next couple days were a blur, as everyone’s life continued on, but our life seemed to stop. Family was at a loss. They didn’t seem to know what to say, how to respond, or even how to feel. My children were traumatized.

Nightmares set in, appetites stopped and there was no laughter to be heard.

About that time, our daughter came to me again and said, “Mom, they are really going to kill the puppy if they can’t get rid of it today.”

I thought about it for a minute, and this is what came to my mind, I couldn’t stop the evil from happening to my family, but I could spare the life of this sweet puppy. I don’t know how to fix the brokenness that my family is feeling, but maybe I could help the puppy feel loved and wanted.

I decided at that moment that we would take in the puppy, soon to be named Lola.

That night as my two small children slept on a pallet of blankets in my bedroom floor, that sweet black and white bundle we called Lola, slept peacefully in between them. It was almost if nothing had happened, that our life was still normal, that we didn’t have this ache in our heart for just one moment.

My hubby and I stood in that doorway and watched that precious moment and those innocent children until I had to turn and walk away.

As the pain returned to my chest, and the tears started to freely flow once more, all the memories from the past several days came flooding back. I hated being in the house, I hated the smells I thought I smelled, I hated the sounds that played in my mind.

We made the decision to put our house for sale and move in with my dad before school started back for the summer. I know for that time, it was the right thing to do. I think we just needed to be with family who could make us feel secure and protected.

Since my dad lived in a different school district, I had to drive the kids to school every morning, then I would head to our house to de clutter, do yard work, or anything to keep me busy and to help get ready to sell the house. I would bring Lola with me everyday. She would walk along side of me wherever I went. She found out real quick how to get through the fence to the cow pasture, something I quickly put a stop to.

But day in and day out, it was Lola and I, alone at the house, where I would yell, cry and scream for the pain I was feeling, but she would just look at me with those big brown eyes letting me know she understood.

She understood it wasn’t her I was yelling at. Lola understood it wasn’t her fault for the tears I cried. I don’t know how, but she just understood.

I can remember how she would crawl in my lap, lick me on the face and give me nothing but a pure and innocent love.

Over the next few weeks, Lola helped each one of us move forward with our life. She was our joy when our life was dark, she was our laughter when we were filled with tears, she was our hope that somehow we would be okay.

It soon became very clear that Lola was very attached to me. But how could we not bond after all the hours we spent together, all the raw moments she shared with me, it was bound to happen at some point. I often thought to myself, how could this little puppy be making my life better? How could her presence make me believe that the storms would pass when no words anybody said to me made me feel that way.

After several months, we decided to go back home. The kids needed to be around their own things. So we packed our bags and moved from my father’s house back home. It wasn’t easy for any of us, but I think it was extremely worse for me because I carried the guilt and shame on my shoulders. The guilt I couldn’t shake, the shame of not knowing the true colors of people. But Lola was the one constant always at my side.

I slipped into a deep depression from carrying too much burden around with me. Lola would lay right beside me on the bed, or cuddle with me on the couch. That is when I realized she was my protector. She was not going to leave me. She was not going to let me go through my darkness alone. She was placed in this life for me. She was sent here to watch over me.

As I sit here and type, with tears streaming down my face, Lola is right beside me. Watching me with her big brown eyes, letting me know that she is not leaving me, she is my forever friend.


I was thinking back to when I realized that Lola’s presence made me feel like life would get better, when nobody else could.

And then I got it.

See I was so mad at God. So angry and hurt. And people? Well, I didn’t trust anyone anymore.

God knew I wasn’t running to him for safety and love.

God knew I was running as fast as I could the other direction.

And he also knew that I would not let just anyone into my life. I had built walls. I was protecting myself from anymore hurt and shame. But a dog? Did God know that I needed someone in my corner. An angel perhaps?

At that moment it all became clear. Lola was sent for me. She was sent to show me joy, and love and how to live again. She was sent to protect me during the dark days, because they became very dark, she was sent to be my best friend. She was sent to do something no human could do, to love without restrictions, to love without judgement and to love without fear.

A love so innocent and pure. A love that we all long to know and experience. The love of God!

I have done my best through the years to give her a good life. There has been times when life got busy and I would feel like I was neglecting her, but she never let it show. There was a time when I was in full time ministry and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time at home. I missed Lola and I know she missed me, but she loved me unconditionally anyway.

Lola has traveled with us, camped with us, been a mommy to all baby kittens we have ever had.

She has a heart full of compassion. Yes, she is a dog. But yet, Lola is so much more.

I know that Lola’s time on earth is limited, just the same as any of our time is. She has developed some health issues in the past few years, that make me worried that she is going to leave me soon.

I’m not ready. But then again, are we ever ready to lose a love?

I fear the day when it’s time for her to leave me and for her soul to reach another hurting person. I know there will be a void in my heart that has only been filled by her. She filled the hole in my heart with love, but she will also leave a hole when she is gone.

Some might say, she’s just a dog. I understand your way of thinking, I really do.

But see, since Lola, my dogs have become more than just a pet.
They have become more than just an animal that when you decide you don’t want to take care of anymore, you can easily give away.

They have become my family.

Now I am an advocate for animals. I am their voice.

I support many rescues and do my part to spread the knowledge of Adopt Don’t Shop. I want the world to know that a dog is so much more than a dog, they are a friend, a companion and a protector.

I see my life turning out differently if I had not met Lola. I see myself still running from the world, my faith and my God. But my life turned out the way God had planned. Maybe not the conventional way, most would say, but God knew what he was doing.

He was able to put love and compassion back in my heart, joy and laughter back into my life, and faith and trust back into Him.

All because of my, Life with Lola.


Today I will be thankful for all the paw prints  on my floor and the slobbery kisses on my face and the hair on my clothes. For there will come a day when there is far too much room in our bed and these days will be profoundly missed. Author Unknown


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Miranda, is a Crunchy, Country Mama giving her look on a Homemade Life of Homeschool, Good Eats, (Mis) Adventures, and Living Grace-Filled Everyday @GraceandGravy with a side of life! Miranda has been married to her sweet hubby for 16 years and a home school mama to 2 kiddos at home. She loves her four-legged, fur babies and they make her life complete. Miranda is passionate about Guatemala Missions, Early Farmhouse Life/Decor, and learning to be a Self-Sufficient Homesteader!

You can also find GraceandGravy on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

Linking up with Michelles weekly pet challenge

Michelle’s weekly pet challenge: Butch and Nastia enjoying the Christmas holidays

This post is part of Michelle’s weekly pet challenge. Stop by and look at all the great pets!

Just like us our furry kids liked to lie in during the holidaysSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESButch on Christmas day right after he had a swim. (I put pictures on of him swimming here) SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt was Nastia’s second birthday yesterday! She is two years old now. What did your pets do these holidays?

Day 7: Our dogs are a blessing (Michelle’s weekly pet challenge)

Our dogs are a blessing to us. We have two pups Butch and Nastia and we love them very much!.

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They bring a lot of joy to my life (as well as a few gray hairs lol) Butch and Nastia are both just over two years so they are very busy and always up to something.

They keep me on my toes and are great company when I’m at home alone. We don’t have children yet so they are our guinea pigs to practice our parenting styles to a certain extent. I wish that everyone on earth can have an opportunity to be loved by a dog.


Read more about our dogs here, here and here.


This post is part of the 31 days of 5 minute free writes challenge I’m also linking it up with Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge for this week. For more info about the challenge please go to Michelle’s weekly pet challenge page for more posts about amazing pets.


petchallenge .

Day 1: It is my wedding anniversary today and I am blessed to be married.

Day 2: I am blessed with an AMAZING family.

Day 3: My mom is a blessing.

Day 4: My sister is a blessing (sometimes in disguise lol)

Day 5: My grandma was a blessing

Day 6: My brother and his wife is a blessing

Day 7: Our dogs are a blessing

Please click here for a list of posts about Blessings. Please like my Facebook page to stay informed.

31 Blessings

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Butch and Nastia’s new ball

20140916_160136We have a small pond in our garden. Butch and Nastia really enjoys tanking items out of the water. Today was no exception as my mom just gave them a new ball. At first they didn’t know exactly what to do but when they got the hang of it you could hear splashing of water and their barks as they enjoyed playing with the ball in the water.  20140916_155950 20140916_155954 20140916_155959 20140916_160002 20140916_160006 20140916_160121 20140916_160125


Read more about our dogs here, here and here.

Go to Michelle’s weekly pet challenge page for morepetchallenge posts about amazing pets.

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Butch

Butch is a crossbreed. Not even the vet really knows what type of cross he is. His (adopted) sister Nastia and him are great friends . He was born in Soweto and came to live with us when he was about 3 months old. He was very small but grew quickly.
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Today he is a big boy and he really enjoys playing outside.  20131225_064002 20140104_174258Read more about our dogs here and here.

Go to Michelle’s weekly pet challenge page for morepetchallenge posts about amazing pets.

Michelle’s weekly pet challenge: Nastia

Nastia is a one-of-a kind personality. From the first time I saw her I just fell in love with her. She was born on 6 January 2013.Our paths crossed when she was about 6 weeks old. I had the privilege to visit Russia and stayed in Moscow with a girl named Nastia (Short for Anastasia). I knew that this is a one of a kind puppy so I gave her a one of a kind name. Below are pictures of Nastia when she was about 6-10 weeks old.IMAG0486 IMAG0528 IMAG0514 IMAG0504She had a brother Brakkies but he died at about 10weeks from Parvo:-(

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Today Nastia is very active and always busy with something. (even though I mostly have puctures of her sleeping lol)

IMAG0768 IMAG0762 20131215_004042On our first camping trip with the dogs she didn’t want to sleep so she fell asleep while sitting upright.

If Nastia can go somewhere in the car she is very, very happy! 20131214_125106

She loses a lot of hair so she needs to be brushed often and she JUST HATES IT! 20131102_082640

We took part in the Discovery Jacaranda Spring walk. It was great fun!Springwalk 2013 begin

You can read more about Nastia’s antics here and here.

Go to Michelle’s weekly pet challenge page for morepetchallenge posts about amazing pets.


Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: A (not so ordinary) brother and sister

As I’ve said earlier I’m going to focus on my favorite things. So I forgot about the desert for a moment and thought of our two dogs: Nastia and Butch. I have blogged about them earlier. They really are my peace and joy. When I come home they are always happy to see me and they keep me busy afterwards too 🙂 Nastia (grey) is a Husky Boerboel cross and Butch well he was born in South Africa (he he) so he is a proper dog. (Not even the vet knows what he is)

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IMAG0507 IMAG0529Nastia and Butch when she was about 2months old.

I also came across this blog challenge(click on the picture for more info). It is really worth a visit.    logo