2013 has been quite the journey for me.  Just a year ago I was sitting on the beach of Oceanside, California, enjoying a family Christmas vacation.  Although the plans for Disneyland on Christmas day weren’t exactly how I wanted to celebrate the birth of our Lord, the trip as a whole was what I needed.

From events in the past, I had let myself become a bitter and selfish man.  I didn’t always show it, but that’s who I was inside.  I tried to put my best smile on for the day, but in reality I was empty.  Work seemed to drag on, classes and assignments that never end.  I had lost joy, peace, and hope and knew it.

It was on that trip that my family encouraged me to adopt a dog from a family member who had just passed away.  To this day, I’m not sure why, but I decided it might be a good idea.  Unfortunately that dog had already received a new home before I had made my decision, but I became excited about the idea of owning a pet.  I currently had a 10 gallon saltwater tank installed at my house and enjoyed it, but it was becoming a drag on my life and busy-ness.

Away I went, to the internet, researching breeds that I would search for.  I ended up landing on the idea of a rat terrier.  Rat terriers are known for their skills in killing rodents (hence the name), but also very loyal to their owners.  They make great farm dogs as they rarely run away, and don’t need a haircut (which in the city could cost $30-50 per cut).  Alas, I began my search for my new friend.

A few weeks went by – and after searching craigslist and other sites, I came across an ad for a 4 year old rat terrier.  No price or picture, but they said it was a great dog and house trained.  I was ecstatic.  I immediately contact the seller and asked for more info on cost and a photo.  I received the photo and was a little taken back, but after discussing with one of my friends decided to pursue even further.  I made them an offer and they accepted – I would be receiving my new dog that next weekend.


Besides being excited about becoming a dog owner, I didn’t take many steps to be prepared to own a dog.  Our house had a fenced in back yard, so I assumed that could entertain it while I purchased necessary supplies.  The last thing I wanted was a bunch of dog items and not actually get the dog.

The day came – it was Saturday, January 19.  I was to be an usher in a friends wedding in town, but I thought I’d be able to make everything work.  I was to get the dog that morning, and would have plenty of time to run to the store and make it to the wedding.  The time passed for them to let me know when I could pick up the dog.  I waited a few minutes, and eventually contacted the seller.  They were running late but gave me an updated time of arrival.  I could still make everything work.

The time came to pick up the dog, and I went over quite excited.  Handed the seller the cash, and took my dog home.  Her previous name was Boo, or BooBoo, but I decided that just wasn’t a proper name.  I decided to name her Kynda, after discussing with a friend who gave me the idea of the name.  I took Kynda home, put on my wedding clothes and ran out the door.  Everything had worked out just fine..or so I thought.


The wedding attendees were starting to show up for my friend’s wedding.  I was waiting for the next guest when I received a phone call and voicemail from my roommate.  I discreetly listened to it, only to discover that my dog was missing.  He had let Kynda outside into our fenced in yard, and returned minutes later only to find an empty backyard.  She was gone.  I panicked, and couldn’t focus during the wedding.  I sat there searching the internet for posts of a found lost dog.  Nothing.

Immediately after chowing down a piece of pie, I said my congrats to the couple and headed home in search of my dog.  This, I thought to myself, was not how I wanted to start off being a dog owner.  Once home, I quickly changed and went on a several hour search of my dog.

I spotted her immediately, but she quickly outran me and was gone again.  Several people in the neighborhood were out looking for her, but she was a very scared dog in a very big city (she was from a farm).  Eventually, we had to give up.  It was dark and it had been hours since I had seen her.  My heart sunk.

I went home and posted on a website my contact info in case anyone found her, but i went to bed heartbroken.  How did I mess this up so fast?


The next morning I woke up to an email from a lady who said she had found my dog.  I called her immediately.  She only lived a few blocks away, so I jumped in my car and headed over.  She had rescued Kynda from the highway the night before.  When I arrived, Kynda came up from the basement with a slight limp.  She slowly walked toward me, before I had to pick her up.  The lady blessed us with a leash and engraved name tag for Kynda in case she was ever lost again.  I thanked her and retreated home.

Once home, I went to the store and finally picked up the necessities of owning a dog (toys, food, treats, etc).  When I came home, Kynda’s mood had completely changed.  She went from being distant to very loving.  Now almost a year later, she is still that way, and it has changed my heart.


This post isn’t to encourage people to get a pet or just brag on my awesome dog.  It is much deeper than that.  See, while I had family and friends love on me over the past few years, there was nothing more vivid in my mind than the illustration of Kynda running from me the same way I had ran from God.  She hadn’t trusted me, even though I had great plans for her.  As soon as she could, she jumped a four foot fence and hit the town – racing across highways and around houses to avoid me.  My heart broke.

Over the next few weeks, I noticed that every time I came home she was right there waiting for me.  She wouldn’t let me out of her site until I picked her up and hugged her.  I felt loved.  Not that I hadn’t felt loved over the past 24 years of my life, because I certainly had.  But I could see this love illustrated by a dog jumping up and down wanting to be in my arms.  That’s how I wanted to be when I was in the presence of God.  I wanted to love Him whole heartedly with no reservations, and thus began my journey.

Over the past year I’ve continued to see a softening of a hardened and bitter heart.  I’ve been able to let go and forgive those people who had hurt me in the past and move past it.  I’ve been able to serve with sixth grade students at my church.  Most importantly, I’ve been able to see a dynamic change in my heart and how I perceive those around me.

Today, as I write this, my heart is full and my spirit is filled with hope, peace, and joy.  I am thankful for 2013, and look forward to seeing what is in store for me in the upcoming year.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!