That is, until last night.
Darrin had been sick all day and I came back to the hotel to check on him, pick up some dinner and keep him company as we watched on my iPad the live stream our staff conference with Cru.
Jonathan called on the phone (rare occurrence), “Mom, Max has been hit by a car. I’m here with some neighbors that saw him bleeding on the street. They want to know if we have a vet.”
And so the rest of the night we pieced together from three states away what happened.
Most of you know how we unexpectedly became dog owners right before this past Thanksgiving. Since he was a rescue of a rescue we were careful to not leave him during these months as he settled into being a member of our family. The change has been a joy to witness. Max came to us fearful, jumpy, resistant. No longer. We thought we were being a blessing by saving his life. But the truth is, he was the one being the blessing. Max had a distinct and marvelous way of connecting unique to each of us.
We have a biannual staff conference of 5000 staff out in Fort Collins, Colorado. Up until last week I wasn’t sure if I would attend because of Michael’s broken wrist. After receiving clearance from the doctor, I flew in last Tuesday night to meet up with Darrin and Julia. Michael was finishing up football camp, Jonathan was tying up loose ends after summer school and they were taking care of details before they left on Saturday to join us.
Weeks before I had asked our dear friends if Max could stay with them while we attended our staff training. Hand selected because they didn’t have a dog but were dog lovers, and there were six in the family so Max would have lots of human contact. I couldn’t picture leaving Max alone in our house and just having someone come to check on him. Julia and I took Max over for a visit before we left. Max loved being there, felt right at ease and left his mark on the palm tree outside their house on our way home.
When the boys dropped Max off at their home Michael said he went inside without hesitation and recognized the home. The boys stayed a long while to help him settle in. I received a text from my friend reporting that Max was doing great. Then the family had to leave for their church Vacation Bible School and when the husband came home from work and opened the front door, Max darted out the door and started running. He ran after him and couldn’t keep up and lost sight of him.
We realize now that Max was trying to come home. And on his way he got hit by a car. He was bleeding heavily and at least four different people tried to help him. One of those helpers was a neighbor we haven’t met yet. She shared with me over the phone that Max was lying in the grass near the bus stop and a man approached him to try to help. Max, frightened and in shock, got up and ran all the way up the steep hill on the way to our house. She followed him and found him bleeding and lying on our front porch. She started ringing our doorbell and thankfully the boys were home at that time packing their stuff before leaving for youth group. This wonderful neighbor stayed with the boys and took them to her vet.
They got Max in right before the office closed. Through blurry tear vision I grabbed whatever paper I could find to take notes. The x-rays showed severe bruising in the lungs and a partial lung collapse from a tear. Major laceration on his mouth, paws were bleeding, he was in shock, heart rate too high. The office was closing and he needed oxygen so the vet went with the boys to take Max to Animal Urgent care. More tears, more decisions.
The intensive unit vet called and gave us updates. I felt so helpless being so far away. My sons handled the crisis with maturity and strength, but the mom in me just wanted to hug them and comfort them in their grief.
The call came for what the bill would be. The range they quoted might as well have been a million dollars. Darrin held me as I cried. “It’s going to be all right. We will pray and trust the Lord for Max and for providing.”
I woke up after four hours of sleep with puffy swollen eyes. Max made it through the night. These next 24-36 hours are critical. We haven’t told our daughter, Julia, yet. She thankfully was with her aunt last night.
No more, “it’s just a dog.”
So I am asking you to join us in praying for Max, for his complete healing. Please pray for the boys as they fly out to us today. Please pray for God’s provision. We will keep you posted.
Thankfully our dear friends, Brent and Leila, are in town. They rushed over to animal urgent care and comforted the boys, brought them home to finish packing and will be ready to help in any and every way. Thank you for those of you who have called, texted, Facebook messaged, twittered. Your love and support of us and of Max means the world to us. Grateful tears now for each of you.