I lost one of my dogs this week. She was a mini-dachshund as you can probably tell from the pictures. She was 11-years-old and her loss was unexpected. I knew she was getting older, but she still had her usual spunk.

Eleven years ago I was living with my brother Josh. It was the month of June and he was actually on a mission trip to Russia the week that I got Piper. I had not planned to get her, but I’m so thankful that I did.

My little sister was headed to a friend’s house to pick-out a mini-dachshund and I went along for fun. There were four sweet little puppies when we got there. My mom picked-up a beautiful red haired puppy, dropped her in my hands, looked at me, and asked which one was I getting? My head said I was not getting one, but my heart was already gone. I justified getting her since it was my birthday week and I figured I could smooth things over with my brother when he got home. 🙂

Our first week together.

A friend actually helped me name my new puppy. The year prior we’d had a couple classes together and had read many John Piper books and articles. So in memory of our time in those classes, he suggested the name Piper. I looked at her little face and knew it fit her. Her full name was Piper Houdini Hetzel (the Houdini was christened later after I realized she had a knack for getting out of where I left her).

She had a very adventurous spirit. There wasn’t much that frightened her. She was always exploring and loved traveling with me. She never met a stranger as she “knew” everyone was going to be her friend (just ask my sister-in-law)! She ended up spending most days at my parents’ house with her dog siblings because she was so lonely with me at work for nine hours a day.

Her days consisted of protecting the backyard, eating, playing with her siblings, eating, napping, eating, spending time with anyone she considered a friend (which was everyone), and then at night she just wanted to snuggle. If I was sitting, she wanted to be sleeping in proximity so that she could feel me. In the winter, her little body heat was much appreciated. It did make some projects rather difficult to accomplish with her sprawled across my lap. 🙂 She always came running when I arrived home.

Her little presence is so missed! We still have other dogs in the house, but it is noticeably quieter without her. I’m thankful that she didn’t suffer and that I got one final night with her. We found out on Monday that she was dying. The vet said we could have time with her to say our good-byes. She slept most of that evening. My family came by to get a few last snuggles. When my brother came by with his kids, he said that there was a double rainbow outside the house. I ran outside and took the picture below. What a reminder of the Lord’s faithful love in my life!

The double rainbow outside my house.

I don’t know what your beliefs are in regards to animals in heaven, but these are the times I press into the Scriptures that reference animals in heaven. I believe that the Lord, who lovingly creates all, hasn’t forgotten about Piper or me. The rainbow reminded me that God loves us both and is going to take care of both of us.

Our last night together.

Additional blog post on the significance of rainbows in my life – and just when you think its rained enough it starts to pour.