Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Electing Love of God and the Ebony Dog

 In memory of the late, great Ebony Dog (2006?-June 1, 2018)

My handsome date for the royal wedding broadcast, May 2018

Dogs pick their people, or so they say.

Once upon a time,

A black super-dachshund named Rex,

Left at a shelter so long the volunteers feared it was permanent,

Chose me to be his Person.

Before I had done anything for him, good or bad,

Before I changed his name to Ebony,

With the inscrutability of grace,

He picked me.


To the Ebony Dog,

I was never too much,

Even when I was.

He drew all the closer to my tears,

Kissing them away from my face.

He wagged his tail with my laughter.

He nestled against my leg or belly

In my hours upon hours of physical therapy exercises.

He never bored of my company,

Not even with months on the sofa

And years mostly in the house.

He made the love and companionship of God

Tangible to me in the funerals,

The heartbreak,

The five surgeries in five years,

The anxieties,

The upheavals

Of his decade as the canine of the couch.

He loved the people I loved,

But only because I loved them.

His favorite place to be was at my side.

No matter what.


To the Ebony Dog,

I was never too little,

Even when I was.

He consented to Amore walking him without me,

But he sulked all the way to the turn toward home

And strained at the leash the rest of the way.

Even in those final days

When he collapsed in the living room

Before my shocked and stricken eyes,

And I couldn’t lift him off the floor where he'd fallen,

Into the car, to drive him to the vet,

As I rocked myself and wept,

Waiting for help to come to help us both,

He tried to wag his tail when I reached down to stroke his ears

Or tried without success to find the place of pain.

I couldn’t help my most constant companion,

My de facto emotional support dog,

In his time of greatest need,

But there he was, telling me

It would be all right.


That last morning in the vet’s office,

My weakened, struggling dog,

Who would normally be trembling with anxiety

And hiding under a chair,

Resisted us, tried to jump off the table

And get away from the hands trying to help him,

To ease his suffering.

I told my mother afterward,

And her response was instant:

“He didn’t want to leave you.”

“You think he knew that was what was happening?”

“Yes. He was a very perceptive dog.

He never did like being separated from you.”


His constant, lavish, undeserved, undeterred affection,

With the inscrutability of grace,

Chose me

To be his Person.

It was one of the greatest earthly gifts

I’ve known in seven weeks of years of life.

In his love I read a parable of

The unconditional, electing love of God.

To Him I am never too much

(Because He is always bigger),

Never too little

(Because He is always enough),

Always accepted and acceptable in the Beloved,

Chosen and blameless in His eyes.

His affection is constant, unfailing,

Not bound by dog years or pages on a calendar,

Not excluded by quarantine or locked doors.

Though the Ebony Dog has left me,

The God he pointed to never will.

He stopped at nothing to be with me—

Becoming human flesh,

Giving His only Son,

Showing me my sin and His salvation,

Birthing faith in my heart—

To unite me to Himself forever.

Who, indeed, shall separate me from Him?


  1. This is so beautiful! You made me cry. I'm so glad you had the love of your Ebony dog. I wish he was still with you. What a special companion he was.

  2. Hi, Rachel! Comments were not working on my end for a while, so my attempts to reply failed. Thank you so much for reading and for the encouragement. Grateful for you! Grace and peace to you in Jesus today.


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