faith, Jesus, the friends

Calm, Bright, Holy Beagle

It was not my usual week-before-Christmas.

Monday, instead of baking and sampling, I was fasting and prepping for Tuesday’s colonoscopy.  It’s not ideal to schedule a colonoscopy the week before Christmas, but it had already been rescheduled twice… The good news is I passed with flying colors. Doc says I don’t have to “Golytely” again for another ten years. Misnomer that.

All is Calm, All is Bright

Wednesday, instead of shopping, I was sitting on a folded quilt on the floor of the veterinary oncologist’s exam room with my back against the wall.  The little beagle lay on her side beside me, head on my lap. A mild, pleasantly soothing incense wafted through the air, mingled with the gentle music playing beside it. I stroked her soft little head and spoke quietly to her as she lay still for the twenty minutes the acupuncture needles needed to do their thing.

“It’s worth it little Be,” I whispered, as I stroked the side of her face, “they are stimulating your immune system and helping to clear the lung congestion.”

She lay perfectly still. Completely calm. Not a single needle fell out this time. What a sweet little love.

Acupuncture needles in place of pine needles.

She has been doing so well – her eyes clear and bright, her energy high – that I was starting to imagine her a medical miracle.

And then Thursday she started coughing. Really coughing. She coughed up a hunk of tissue and what looked like a blood clot.

Silent Night, Holy Night.

So Friday she went back on an antibiotic.

She’s sleeping a lot now, her little body battling pneumonia. So last night, while she slept, I broiled filet Mignon, mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed Brussels sprouts. And then my daughter and the hub went to the 10 pm Candlelight Service while I stayed home with our friends.

I was going to have our own little silent night, holy night – just me, the hound and the beagle. I was going to read them the Christmas story. I was going to tell them what Jesus said about not a single sparrow falling from the sky apart from the Father’s care. I was going to read them the story Nathan told David and explain that God considers pets members of the family, too.

“but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.”

God had no problem with the way the poor man lovingly cared for his lamb, but He certainly had a problem with the way the rich man treated her as property.

I was going to say, “God loves and cares for all of the creatures He created, guys, and He loves you even more than I do.”

We were going to have our own holy moment while the rest of the family was at church.

But the night turned out to be more silent than holy. The beagle’s breathing was labored as she slept on the sofa beside me. I didn’t want to disturb her by reading aloud. I knew she’d try to respond to the sound of my voice and she needed rest more than anything else.

So I scrolled silently and came upon this from Muddy Boots Manor:

A precious telling of the Christmas story. I think the hound was listening as he lay awake on the floor nearby. The beagle slept through most of it – awaking only briefly and raising her head to see who was talking. Then she drifted back off to sleep.

Now it’s Sunday. Christmas Day.

When my daughter wakes up I’ll make pancakes. I’ll embellish the maple syrup with minced figs, dates and walnuts because on Tuesday the recovery nurse handed me a brochure with a list of high fiber foods and dried figs was at the top.

We’ll open gifts and then I’ll make stuffed mushrooms and a mushroom pate for the hub and the daughter to take with them to the family gathering.

I’ll miss out on some amazing food, but Christmas, it turns out, is not about beautifully set tables and skillfully prepared feasts.

It’s about giving presence to a sick little friend.



The hound – 96 in dog years – wants extra presence himself these days.


I did take time to do some fancy wrapping this week.


Merry Christmas everyone!




21 thoughts on “Calm, Bright, Holy Beagle

  1. Pingback: Festive – Daily Prompt – Ladyleemanila

  2. Mrs. Boots says:

    Oh, Julie, I am so glad my children were part of your Christmas Eve, for you and your wee little pup. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for sharing those verses about animals. I have often heard parents comforting children about their pets with the sparrow verse, but never thought of the man’s little lamb in that way. What a wonderful and apt application! Thank you for that. Merry Christmas, and I will say a little prayer now for your poor beagle, to recover easily and to feel better today. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Merry Christmas to you and yours even though a cloud is hanging over little Beagle. The loving care she is receiving is in keeping with Christian philosophy and I’ve no doubt your continued presence and thoughts are a calming influence on her well being.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie,
    God is good all the time. Interesting that you are going through the same thing we are going through with our dog Jake. It’s going on as I write this. So when I say, “I know how you feel”, believe me I know. Our Christmas was similar in feelings, etc. It is my prayer for you, your pup and your family that you will get through this. Be strong in the Lord and just know that He is in control.
    Russ P.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joanne Palumbo says:

    My husband and I found your blog today through you “liking” his blog.

    We also have a sick dog. Jake recently had surgery to remove a cancerous mass on his lung. The biopsy results were not good and we have decided against chemo. We can only take it one day at a time, and as long as we see his tail wagging we will take him for walks and little trips in the car. Once he know longer cares to move about we will have to say good bye because we do not want him to suffer. As you know having to go through something like this is so very heart wrenching, I wanted to let you know that I was able to find comfort and peace in the Bible verses you shared about the animals. I will be praying for you and Be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for praying for Bebe. I’m sorry about Jake – I said a prayer for him and for you and your husband. What kind of dog is he?

      Bebe was diagnosed with lung cancer in October. The cancer is located deep in her chest. It is too difficult to access and too near her heart and a major nerve for her to be a candidate for surgery. We decided against chemo, too. I just couldn’t bear the thought of giving her toxins, especially since they aren’t very effective against lung cancer and they squelch the immune system. I decided instead to work with the system God designed. So she is being treated with Chinese herbs, immune boosting supplements and acupuncture. Up until a few days ago she was doing very well. She had an x-ray the day before Thanksgiving that showed good news: the tumor had not grown in the six weeks since her first x-ray. It’s been a roller coaster of heights and depths – from thinking she might just beat this thing to fearing death is imminent.

      I’m learning to take it one day at a time and trust the One who loves her most.

      I’m with you – as long as her tail is wagging, she is still enjoying her meals (and she does really enjoy them) and she still gets excited for walks, I am going to let her. And enjoy every minute of her.

      Thank you for sharing your own heartbreak. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon your friend Jake.


  6. Joanne Palumbo says:

    Thank you very much for your prayers, that means so much to us. Jake is a rescue dog, we have had him for 8 years and believe he is about 10 years old. How old is Bebe? Jake is part lab and chow, he looks very similar to your other dog. He is one of the sweetest dogs, he is so tolerant of our other dog (his little sister). Jake started getting sick sometime around October, however, the doctors could not figure out what was going on until the end of November. The surgeon was not aware of how close to the heart the tumor was or they may have suggested not operating. The surgery went way longer than planned because of the location. Your little Bebe and Jake sure have been sick at the same time with the same thing. Would you be able to send me the info you have on the Chinese herbs, this is the first I have heard of it.
    Thank you, and praying for you and your family, goes without saying family includes Bebe.


    • Bebe is a rescue dog, too, also about 10 years old and also very sweet. They have a lot in common. We’ve had her just over 3 years.

      The oncologist who is treating Bebe practices both conventional and alternative/complementary medicine. Here is a brochure that briefly mentions the Chinese herbs and here is a link to the practice.

      If a google search for an alternative medicine oncologist is unsuccessful, perhaps you can contact her department for a referral to someone in your area.

      Bebe gets three different powdered herb blends every 12 hours:
      Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, modified
      Liu Jun Zi Tang
      Bao Hu Jiang Jun Tang (Schisandra Compound)

      The first two compounds help slow tumor growth, the third one is for liver support (she came to us with hepatitis).

      She also gets supplements added to her two daily meals (6 am and 6 pm):
      An immune builder
      A digestive enzyme
      A probiotic
      Something for the congestion
      And astragalus
      And a once/day anti-inflammatory

      All of them are meant to improve her quality of life and I must say, her coat has never been softer and shinier and her overall health (except for the cancer) is improved – alert, lots of energy. Before this current infection you wouldn’t have guessed she has cancer.

      I also feed her home-cooked food: I vary things a little but mostly it’s a combination of organic chicken, broccoli and/or green beans, pumpkin or squash and steel cut or rolled oats simmered in bone broth. Fresh is the key. And it’s important to supplement with the vitamins and minerals if you feed a home-cooked diet.

      I hope some of this info is helpful to Jake and I hope both Jake and Bebe live until they are old and full of years.


  7. Joanne Palumbo says:

    Thank you for sending the information about Bebe’s food plan and meds/supplements. You indicated in your text above that there was a brochure. I don’t see it. Would you please send me the brochure at my personal email address: Thank you so much for everything……Joanne


  8. Joanne Palumbo says:

    Thank you again! My email address is …..the previous address has a typo.
    We have an appointment on Monday with a holistic vet. I will take along the info you provided to discuss with her since I am not sure of how much experience she has with oncology.


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