Our ‘Bess’ friend

“Maybe we should get a dog,” my wife Anita suggested. 

“A dog? No! A dog can be expensive to buy, and a fortune to keep. Look, we’re retired, the children are long gone and we don’t want that extra hassle in our seventies!” I replied.

“But now that lockdown is nearly over, I think I’d like a little dog. And the grandchildren would love it. I’ve seen a family with puppies for sale. They’re adorable!”

Two months later we took charge of Bess. 

We chose a little brown pup, eyes still closed, from a litter of four. Six weeks after that, we drove home with a rather adorable (I have to admit), cuddly Bess.

We’d both agreed that we should set some ground rules, but the finer details were a little uncertain. A dog would never sleep on our bed, it would live downstairs, and it would fit in with our plans (and not the other way round). 

If you have a dog, or children, you’ll know that well-laid plans don’t always work out! 

Yes, Bess does sleep at night in her bed downstairs, but everything else, well, that’s been blurred!

Of course, rain or shine, Bess needs at least one walk a day and I’ve enjoyed those; the early mist, the light through the beech trees, the sunset over Pangbourne. Our paths have probably crossed if you frequent Sulham Woods or one of our local parks!

It was on one of these walks, in mid-2021, that Anita fell and broke her wrist. That Christmas, cancer was discovered. Stage four. It certainly makes one consider the priorities of life.

In many ways it’s been a difficult time since then with hospital appointments and treatment, but we’ve especially known the peace and love of God. 

Many years ago, we both, independently, became Christians, putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Many in our church have prayed and supported us and we’ve often been reminded of the Lord’s many promises; one card we received quoted this Bible verse:

‘For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand; It is I who say to you “Fear not. I am with you”’
(Isaiah 41:13)

So, we take each day and each week as it comes, trusting Jesus that whatever happens, we are safe in His arms. 

Yes, Bess is a great companion and gives us much joy. But Jesus, the Son of God, has been, and continues to be, a much more wonderful and greater friend, one who never lets us down, one we can trust and rely on, and one who freely offers forgiveness and eternal life.

If you don’t know him, come to him. He’s our best friend and he wants to be yours as well.