June, 2021 – The Two Kasey’s

June, 2021 – The Two Kasey’s

When my youngest son was six years old, he announced that he wanted a dog for Christmas – and a ‘real’ one!  Previously when he had asked for a dog, he always got a stuffed dog toy, or other animal.  That particular Christmas, he had gotten the Pink Panther, nearly as tall as he was.

I began praying about getting a dog for my three boys – kind of always knew I would when they would be old enough to carry some responsibility for a pet.  Jonathan turned seven in the Spring, and in early summer, we went to a shelter to look for a family pet.  There was the most adorable puppy – nine weeks old – and twelve pounds!  That should have told me something right there.  This was going to be one big dog!  And that was okay.  But upon bringing him home, he ‘cried’ constantly.  I did everything I could to try and comfort him – called the shelter – and not until then was I told that he really hadn’t been old enough to be weaned away from his mother.  Sadly, we returned him.

In just another couple of weeks, we stopped by a friend’s house to say ‘Hi!’ – and upon telling her about our quest for a family pet, she asked me if I had heard of a Keeshond.   I asked her if we were still talking about dogs . . . (??)   (Keeshond – a dog from the Netherlands – and pronounced Kay-sond.)  I told her that I hadn’t – and she told me that there was a kennel a couple of doors away that bred that particular dog – and that they had one up for adoption – and, would I like to go look at it.  Sure!  We took a walk to the place where this adoptable dog would be.  The owners let him out in a fenced area and he just ran and ran and ran like an absolutely idiot!  It was like he was trying to impress us.  He was one of the most beautiful dogs I had ever seen – all black and silver and white.  Just the kind of dog that the Lord had led me to pray for.  He was nearly three years old, house-broken (‘ready to go’ which would be great for me since I would have to be returning to school to teach in just another six weeks or so) – and I had specifically prayed for a long-haired dog.  I got that alright.  A Keeshond also has an undercoat – but they don’t shed!  What more could I want.

Oh, yes.  I found out quickly after we got him home what else I could have wanted – should have prayed about.  Not liking the name he had been given, we decided to call him Kasey.  Kasey the Keeshond!  I should have been praying about his attitude – his behavior.  At that particular time, Muammar Gaddafi was the very scary revolutionary politician of Libya.  With our Kasey’s strong, strong personality and will, I couldn’t help thinking that we should have called him some sobriquet like ‘Muammar’!  But we knew that he had come to us from an abusive situation – and we were determined to bring him to the place where he could be a loving and (fairly) obedient pet.

He did become that for the most part – and we loved him deeply!  And he grew to trust us and loved us deeply.  That was Kasey, No. 1.  The one who loved to sleep with us – who would come when we called him – who was so protective of our home and ‘his’ whole family – the one who would snuggle his nose and head under my hand when I was sick with the flu – the one who would pull my sons on a sled – the one who absolutely loved riding in the car for nearly eight hours to Maine just to be with us while we went to visit my parents – the one who would let my youngest son use his body for a pillow on the bed while my son read – the one who was so beautiful that people commented on him before they did my young boys!  Hmm-mm-m-m-m . . .   But he definitely was striking with his coloring, wearing his red collar.

Now for Kasey, No. 2.  Naughty, naughty, naughty!  He had a penchant for getting into the garbage – just couldn’t seem to understand what ‘no’ meant when it came to our not wanting him to forage after some tasty little bits that had been thrown out.  I came up with a brilliant idea to set the trash can on top of one of the kitchen chairs.  But not even that impeded his well-fed self from wanting more.  He would ‘bump’ the trash can from the chair with his nose and once again, find every single morsel available.  This Kasey, No. 2 while being so protective of his house and family, and while only forty-five pounds or so, was fierce enough to keep every dog – even the large ones – at bay in our neighborhood!  Because he had been abused by his first owner the first three years of his life, he also would bear his teeth and give us the ‘death growl’.  Lots of tough-love for this very ‘tough’ dog the first couple of years.  But we never gave up on him.

Actually, I think there was a ‘third Kasey’ – the one that was fearful.  While in Maine, we went island hopping which involved taking a ferry that was no more than a barge fitting only four cars on it.  The sides were just roped off to prevent the cars from sliding off – and the four cars were driven in onto boards that weren’t ‘closed’ – that would allow water to splash up between the boards.  We were in a part of the Atlantic that is plagued with eddies so large that if not steered through properly could take even a fishing boat to the bottom of the ocean.  Kasey was beyond fearful!  Finally there was something of which he was afraid.  I had to hold him for the duration of the trip to the next island while he whimpered and curled up as tightly as he could against my body.

It made me think of how our Heavenly Father loves for us to come and ‘curl up in His lap’ when we are fearful – sad – sick – confused – and lovingly holding us so tightly . . .    I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am that God never gives up on us.  At some point, we have all been Kasey, No. 1.  I still am – at times!  We all came with that very ugly original sin.  When I think of all the times I have been directly disobedient to God, Almighty – have borne my nasty spirit to Him – have been unkind to others – have committed, sadly, sins of omission – have neglected Him – have thought that I knew better than He did – that my old nature has reared its ugly head – have been fearful . . .   Well, I could go on and on!  Truly, my heart’s desire is to be ‘Kasey No. 1’ – sweet, kind, thoughtful – a Philippians 4.8 follower of Christ.

There is a popular Christian song right now entitled ‘Less Like Me’.  In all due respect to the one who wrote it and performs it (look up Zach William’s amazing testimony), I don’t need to be ‘a little more like Jesus, a little less like me’ – I need to be a whole lot more like Jesus, and a whole lot less like me!  Have so loved this verse for years — John 3.30 – ‘He (Jesus) must increase, and I must decrease’.