All Dogs Go to Heaven

A few months ago, a friend told me dogs don’t have souls and, therefore, don’t go to heaven. While there is probably a ton of theology that proves me wrong, I absolutely refuse to believe she is right.

You see, my family has owned dogs consistently since I was 7 years old–The year Poppa Higg placed two Golden Retriever sisters (Honey Lynne and Sassy Sue) in my bed to wake me up the morning of my birthday. Those Goldens were the absolute best. Even though they clogged our vacuum regularly.

A few years later, Momma Higg introduced us to Lucy Jane, a Bichon Frise. Poppa Higg quickly declared, “That dog will NEVER sleep in my bed,” but about a month later Lucy was his best napping pal.

In college, I wanted a dog badly and my family gifted me with the Bichon Frise, Sneaker. Unfortunately, roommates who “promised to help take her out,” did not keep their word and my schedule proved that I couldn’t handle a dog after all. So my wonderful family took in Sneaker.

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Right after graduation, Kingsford, a Miniature Schnauzer walked in my life when I was riding horses one evening. This poor, neglected, and beaten dog looked in my eyes and begged me to take her home. So I did.

 

And just this March on my daily walk, a full-bred Jack Russell Terrier, Frio (aka Nunca Frio—because she is “never chill”) followed me home. I couldn’t find her owners so I adopted her.

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I never had sisters, but I have dogs. I’ve had six incredible dogs in my life. Dogs that have been with me through a Bachelor’s Degree. A Master’s degree. PhD coursework. Three states. Eight houses. Break-ups. Celebrations. Transitions. New jobs. Picking up the crumbs I left from dinner. Waking me up for early walks.

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I’ve had dogs that, NO MATTER WHAT, have been excited when I walk in the door. Do you know how good that feels? To have something so excited for you to be home that they wag their tail so hard you think it’ll break? To have something that knows when you’re having a bad day and cuddles up next to you no matter what?

Dogs are good for the soul. Dogs make me complete. I believe God made dogs to remind humans that unconditional love and grace are so real.

My parents went out of town last week and I’ve been taking care of Sneaker. Over the weekend, Sneak hurt her back and re-flared some neurological issues in her back legs causing them to be lame. Unfortunately, our family had no choice but to put her to sleep yesterday. This was not the first dog we’ve had to say “Goodbye” to, but this one may have been my hardest.

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Thankfully, I have an incredible vet, amazing friends, and wonderful family who supported and reassured me throughout the entire process.

Sneaker was an awesome dog and I don’t believe God created her without a soul because, if I’m being honest, she had more of a soul than several humans I’ve met (and haven’t met for that matter).

I believe Honey Lynne, Sassy Sue, Lucy Jane, and Sneaker Lynne are all on a mountain of Beggin’ Strips chasing tennis balls together. I believe all dogs go to heaven. Because if they didn’t, who would be there to greet and bark at you when it’s your time to knock on the Gates? You don’t think Jesus needs dogs to bark and let Him know when folks are outside??

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I can’t wait to see you again, girls. And if I didn’t tell you enough, you made my life more full. And I love you for that. And to my girls who are still here, Kings and Frio: You continue to remind me of unconditional love and that life is so much better with a tail wagging close by.

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They call it the Hill Country because it’s hilly: A Marathon Story

Oops I did it again. And outside of Pike’s Peak, I chose the worst place to do it.

Last Sunday I ran my sixth marathon in Austin. And Austin is in the Hill Country. So I ran a marathon up and down and up and down and up and up and up and up and up.

My friend, Emily, joined me and ran the half marathon. So we carb loaded at Mandola’s the night before and were ready to rock on race day.

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We took off in the early morning and, unfortunately, the 7,000 half-marathon runners and 3,600 marathon runners all ran the first 12 miles together which made things…crowded.

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At mile 12, I was ready to quit but I knew I was eating nachos later and I needed to burn more calories.

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Thankfully, Emily met me at miles 18 and 22 with wheat thins, gatorade, encouragement, and beer from one of my favorite breweries.

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You’re thinking, “Beer? Who drinks beer at a marathon?” And I say, “Ummm…yes.” Just a sip, y’all. It helps with the energy levels.

The last 4 miles are always the worst and this race was no different. Soon, my Garmin read “26.0 miles” and I knew I was close. As I turned a corner, I saw it. A MOUNTAIN.

The hill finally leveled out and I found Emily who took the photos below.

My watch read “26.2 miles,” and the finish line wasn’t in sight.

“EMILY. WHO MAKES THE LAST .2 OF A RACE UPHILL?!? WHO DOES THAT?!? ALSO, MY WATCH SAYS “26.2.” WHERE IS THE DAMN FINISH LINE??? WHERE IS IT?!?”

At “26.4 miles” I crossed the finish line. I was very bitter.

Regardless, I finished and enjoyed the after-party with Emily and our old favorite from Longmont Colorado, Oskar Blues.

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After cleaning up, we enjoyed 10 pound can nachos from The Local Post. We were in bed watching the Olympics by 8pm. And we weren’t sad about it.

The next morning, we rolled out of bed, donned our medals, and headed out to explore. First, I needed chicken and waffles from the 24 Diner. It was so amazingly perfect.

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It was such a nice day outside that we found a patio to continue making up the calories we lost the day before.

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We found the Live Oak Brewery on our way out of town to soak up the last bit of our short vacation. I would totally go back.

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It was a great place for the old ladies to do what we normally do when we go out.

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Anyways, I’m taking a hiatus from marathons for now. Well, until I forget what it feels like and sign up for another.

Savannah State of Mind

In October, Emily and I headed to the Florida vs A&M football game in Gainesville and took a few extra days in Savannah, Georgia afterward. I know. It’s January and this happened in October, but better late than never right?

First things first: We visited Gainesville to watch the Aggies BTHO the University of Florida. But more importantly, we got to see Kristen!!!

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We had a blast and won the game!

After a few days in Florida, we headed to Savannah. Now, it’s important that I tell you I had a wicked sore throat and was doing anything and everything to ease the pain. Cough drops. Pain Reliever. Cold medicine. EVERYTHING.

The first thing we did was take a bicycle tour to get to know the area. We were the only ones on the tour so I had only two people made fun of my lack of bicycle skill. Also, riding a bike after 20 years is not easy.

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Don’t worry. I only veered into traffic like eight times. Ok. Nine.

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Heres a fancy fountain in Forsyth Park.

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After the bike tour, we explored more of town and went shopping. Savannah is one of the few places where you can drink alcohol in public areas. So we took advantage.

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Alcohol definitely increased our spending limits. For instance, you never realize how many products made from bees you need until you have a few beers in your system.

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One night, we visited Jen’s & Friends Martini Bar. This place was AMAZING! We met the owner, Jen, who told us how accidentally throwing a mini candy bar into a martini glass gave her the idea to create these creative martinis.

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Emily liked the Reese’s Cup and Oreo martinis. I won’t tell you how many Rice Krispie Treat ones I had.

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We spent time at some fantastic places like the Olde Pink House, Sweet Melissa’s Pizza, Rocks on the Roof, and Moon River. Our waiter at Moon River gave us our own little ghost tour of their basement.

On our last night, we chose to do a bar crawl ghost tour. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped 20 degrees so we were FREEZING and my throat was slowing trying to kill me. But I was determined to see some ghosts.

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The ghost tour wasn’t exactly scary…or very ghosty. But, we learned about secret tunnels underneath the city and stopped at a bar every ten minutes to get out of the cold.

We had an early flight to catch the next morning and my throat was on fire. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t swallow. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry all the way home.

I went to the doctor as soon as I got home and was diagnosed with a wicked sinus infection. Did it help that I walked around Savannah in the cold with an occasional alcoholic beverage? Probably not. But I got medicated and was good to go in a few days.

Overall, Savannah was amazing. Minus the sore throat. And the amount of salt a gargled. Until next time, Georgia.