Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (The Message)

I had three dog experiences in my life before Parker arrived two summers ago to be part of our family. The first was when I was about 8 and begged Santa for a dog for Christmas. Of course, no one knew that’s what I wanted so I guess everyone scurried around to find a puppy to put under the tree. However, the dog was not allowed inside the house and soon ran away.

Dog number two scared my two-year-old son so that he was afraid of dogs for a long time. She didn’t last long in our family.

The third dog was actually two dogs, both Golden Retrievers. The first puppy was great fun but being a puppy, she ate snail bait and died. The second had a very enthusiastic personality and ended up living with family who had several acres for her to roam.

Twenty-five years passed before I was even willing to accept the notion of another dog. But I’ve learned a lot about faith, hope, and love from Parker. As a rescue dog, we have no idea of her heritage or history, with some resulting phobias, but she is a very nice dog. She’s really Mark’s dog but I now come in a close second.

Also, I must clarify that I am a cat person. Getting to know a dog has been eye-opening. Dogs are so…open. They are not moody. Life for them is a constant adventure.

Why do I say she has taught me about faith?

We put her in the laundry room (dog jail) when we leave her for several hours. She goes in the room very willingly having faith that we will eventually return.

Parker is all about food and treats. And hope springs in her heart every time she hears the rustle of a baggie, the opening of the refrigerator, the click of the treat jar. She sits while we eat, ready to pounce on any stray food particles that might escape from our plates. She has the mealtime routine down pat and dances her jig in hopes of more.

But the best part is the love. Unconditional love. A tail wag, a cuddle on the couch, a let’s-go-for-a-golf-cart-ride look, or a special noise when you scratch her head and ears accompanied by a look of complete adoration all say, “I love you”.

I’ve learned a lot watching Parker. My on-going desire and purpose is to have complete faith and trust in Someone who is always there, never moody or distant, always eager to spend time with me, ready to listen.

But more importantly, I know that God loves me unconditionally, even when I don’t have my act together, or want to complain, or stumble going my own way. He’s right there to love me back on the path He has planned for me, giving me a hug, and smile.

Thanks, Parker. Good girl!