Over the past couple of years, and especially the last few months, I have spent many hours with a precious friend who fought valiantly for her life while never ceasing to minister to everyone who crossed her path. On September 13, Yvonne McCoy was finally set free from pain and suffering and is now safely home with Jesus. I don’t think I realized how much my mind was on her until she was gone, and now there is a huge void in my days. I miss her texts. I miss her voice answering “Hi, honey!” when I call. I miss her.
But she left me her dog.
We have had him here with us quite a bit since she brought him home last summer, often for several weeks at a time. He was her emotional support animal, and very good at it. Sometimes, though, because our Clara has social anxiety (I’m not kidding…she is ridiculous when other dogs come to visit) we were not always the ones to care for him when Yvonne was in the hospital. But just a few days before she passed away, Chance ended up at our house and, for whatever reason, Clara finally accepted him and it has been a happy wrestling match ever since.
I took him to the hospital to spend time with Yvonne the day before she passed away, not knowing at the time that it would be the last time they saw one another. He settled in next to her and her fingers found his fur, running through the softness of his back with sweet familiarity. I held him to her face, allowing him to smell and kiss her around the bipap mask that was forcing oxygen into her failing lungs, and he loved on her just like she needed.
And he knew.
Something changed in Chance that day. I will be honest, he had been quite the handful for us in the past: all energy, chewing everything, and Clara’s reluctance to accept him had not helped matters at all. But that day, I brought him home and he…well, he was home. Somehow he understood he was home.
Dogs are smart. They sense death. And Chance knew Yvonne was dying.
She requested that we care for him after she was gone, and I was able to say yes without hesitation because I saw in Chance the shift…suddenly I became his person and, dang it, I fell in love with that dog.
Having Chance join our family has been good for me. When I feel heavy with grief, he senses it, climbs into my arms, and presses his head into my chest, like he is helping to share the burden. He happily follows Clara and Hollie around, loves all the cats, and finds great joy in chasing goats! He and Clara have epic wrestling matches every evening, then he snuggles in with Hollie for the night. He is home and he knows it.
Meet Chancellor McCoy Joyner, aka Chance.
Chancellor, welcome to Arundelle Green. You’re going to have a good life with us, buddy.