Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things,
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There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things, Elmo was born in March 1996 in Northern Minnesota. I was looking for a pup to raise and be my friend, and saw an ad in the paper for “Free Puppies.” They were a German Shorthair Pointer mix.  As I was heading to the rural house where they were at, a bounding full-blooded German Shorthair crossed the road in front of me and streaked on through the field to the left. I wondered if he was the father.

The young couple with the pups verified the runner as the sire, while the puppies, and so many of them, freely chased each other outside the garage where they had been born. Tirelessly and unmercifully they ran and nipped at each other while mosquitoes tirelessly and unmercifully nipped at me. There were several pups, and all were black and had white patches with black speckles in the white. One frisky male had speckles Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things, on his chest, belly, forelegs, and like my calico cat Eppi, a white-tipped tail. (You can read Eppi's story on this link.) Also on the pup’s muzzle was a slight, almost unnoticeable whiff of white, as if an artist had unknowingly let his paintbrush lightly press his face. Having had pups a few times before, I knew to bring a box to set the little fellow in while we drove back home. Oh, how he cried to leave his brothers and sisters behind, but I knew he would get over it for all the love he would receive.  I made Baby Elmo at home with a bowl of water and some dried dog food. He wasn’t crying any longer. What a wonderful little pup he was, and he was my little buddy.

Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things, Three years earlier I had to move across the country and leave my other dog behind. Her name was Charity, but I was blessed to be able to give her to a nice couple with two little boys who she instantly loved. My heart broke to give her away, but I knew the boys would give her more attention and love than I did. Charity and the boys would have an enclosed backyard to play in, and I liked that.

Well, Elmo was going to have to stay indoors while the weather warmed up, so we began “potty training” right away. I took him outside after he ate, and at night, I tied one end of a sturdy string about his neck and the other end around mine. This way, when he stirred, I would know and take him out to do his business. It worked very well.  Elmo grew and I would take him with me often in the truck. The first time I left him in the cab by himself, I was like any other parent stepping away from their child for the first time. How would he react, I wondered? Would he be scared? Would he cry? However, when I returned, there he was sprawled out and basking in the sunshine, his back against the seat’s back, and his lanky legs stretched out straight. I can still picture it vividly.

As an adult dog owner, my first two dogs had been hit by cars. Spike was a Shar-Pei mix, and while I was taking him off his tether, in a split second he rocketed into the street. Then I built an enclosure for the next pup, Goldie, rather than using a tether. But one day, the latch didn’t shut and she was gone and dead in a few minutes. I remember after I fed her, I got on my bike to go to work; and after getting onto the street, I could see what looked like the neighbor’s Golden Lab laid out in front of their house. How terrible, I thought, that their dog had escaped out of his fenced yard and gotten clobbered. As I pedaled closer, I saw the all too familiar bright blue collar. It was my dog - it was Goldie. There around her body were pieces of plastic grillwork, and I peddled home, got the car, loaded her heavy body into the front seat, and buried her.

With Baby Elmo, I was determined to be as vigilant as I had been with Charity, so I bought him a ten by ten kennel, a doghouse, and stakeout running lines in the back yard. He was often in the house, also, and I took him with me in the truck  a lot. He loved to go for a ride, but preferred the cab to the truck bed, and after he got older, he could settle down and pointedly studied things through the windshield. Sometimes as we drove, he would intentionally lean against me as he sat, and we liked that feeling. He was a good boy with lots of puppy energy for the first five or six years of his life.

Elmo liked to be tethered in the back yard on a long chain or rope. As he trotted around, he resembled a muscular miniature stallion and was built and proportioned very well with long legs, a short back, and a deep and wide chest. Elmo liked who I liked, and loved to have a ball to fetch, but rarely would give it back. And what is more, he enjoyed keeping the ball just out of reach while making playful growls of possession, daring one to take it away from him. When I would come home from work, he was always happy to see me, and he loved me with unconditional love. We often would go on long walks, but I never persuaded him to walk right next to me as dogs are supposed to do with the leash hanging limp, for he mostly wanted to pull ahead – it was his nature. After about ten years, though, I found it was in both of our interests to let him be on point on our excursions, and reel him in only occasionally. As a matter of fact, I deduced he liked the line taught because he felt a direct attachment to me like one does while holding hands.

Elmo-boy was a great watchdog. One day, in the snowy winter, he let out his alarm from the back of the house. The propane deliveryman was about to fill the tank without checking with me first and said he just happened to be by and thought it a convenient time to fill it up. I asked him the current price, and found it to be very high, and told him I would wait until the tank was lower. Well, a few weeks later, the price dropped, and Elmo had saved me about thirty percent because of his bark.

In the winter, when I was working the night shift and it was very cold outside, I would have Elmo stay in the house. He would always irk me a bit because he would come to the front window and put his paws on the sill while standing up under the curtain to watch me go. His claws were scratching the woodwork, but how could I get upset at someone who didn’t want to see me leave? After the shift, I would go directly home to let him out, feed him, and then he’d lay on his rug next to my bed while I got some shuteye.

Elmo loved to take a bath and be blow-dried. He was a big care and responsibility all of his life, but there is something about having someone depend on you that makes it all worth the while. He loved me and I loved him, and he was my little boy.

A few times Elmo got loose and took off. I think because he was always on a leash, he was tempted to make an escape from time to time. Perhaps he wanted to see what things were like out in the world. Take the time I had removed the leash from his collar at the entrance to the kennel, and for some reason, I didn’t hold onto the collar for a moment. In just that second, it dawned on him that he was totally free and sheepishly trotted away. I sternly commanded him to "Stay!” and, of course, his German Shorthair daddy was a runner, so off he went in a sprint. Well, because of my unfortunate experiences with dogs getting loose, I assumed he would be run over shortly, and drove the streets looking for his body. However, about forty-five minutes later he showed up, wet and happy after his run down to the river. He escaped on a few other occasions, so I just put it in the hands of the Lord, and he’d show up later. After we moved to Texas, though, and I got married, Elmo and his younger adopted Malamute brother, Juneau, really had a run for it.Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things,

It was in the small barn in the back of the property where I would take Elmo and Juneau at night after being tethered next to the house. After some time, I realized as soon as they entered in the barn area, they were attacked by fleas and had suffered much. So, I had to make the decision to let Elmo and Juneau run loose in the insect and snake infested country of South East Texas. They were at liberty for the first time to go anywhere and do anything they wanted, and they did exactly that – they ran! Elmo was gone for six days, and I don’t think he had a bite to eat the whole time. Exhausted and haggard he finally found his way home like the prodigal son after I had given up almost all hope. He never ran away again, except on one other occasion for three days. I guess he figured living out in the world wasn’t as great as he imagined. Juneau found another home with a woman and filled a void in her life, and this worked out well for her and us.

Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things, LB (Little Bit) was another dog we had, but he was a Texas native, and always on the loose. He was a black Pekinese that had been discarded in a cardboard box when he was a puppy and didn’t care much for enclosed places. LB and Eppi both died in Texas, and Eppi was seven years old when she died. Buddy was my wife’s young Rhodesian Ridgeback who went for a run one day and never came back.

For Elmo, it was difficult living in the subtropics of South East Texas. He didn’t take the heat and humidity well, and he developed skin problems. Also, there were ticks galore. I found out how bad these critters had been when I started to shave his hair in the summer when he was ten years old, and under his coat were many scars. It was sad to see how much he had been bitten. Also, in regards to bites, he was attacked by some other animal, receiving two large lacerations in a rear leg, and was bitten by a poisonous snake, which left that leg useless for a few days. Finally, Baby Elmo got to be an indoor dog and enjoyed the heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer; plus, we enjoyed his immediate company, and he ours, all the time.

Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things, When Elmo was about nine years old and still in Texas, we had a little abandoned puppy left by our house. Elmo had found him hiding in a bush. We thought it was an armadillo he had cornered, but it was a small and mangy flea bitten fellow. I didn’t want another dog, so I hoped while we went to town, he would just move on. Well, I forgot about the little guy, and after we returned home it started to rain, and then I wondered if that little puppy was still under the bush. And so it happened that the small and mangy flea bitten pup was then adopted into the family. His name is Moses, and Elmo treated him like he was his own son, and taught him dog etiquette, and how to play without being too rough. Moses could be very playful and energetic like Elmo was when he was young, and Elmo tolerated it well, like a big old lion trying to be rousted by his cub. Elmo had become a very easygoing, friendly mature dog, and he always a great watchdog.

As my folks grew older up in the North Woods, and Elmo grew older, too, I hoped to go back with my wife and the pups and spend time with the folks. I had prayed often to outlive Elmo, and be able to take care of him all the days of his life, that he would have a long and happy life, and he could move back to Minnesota and spend his last days there. Well, a few months ago we finally sold the house and took “the boys” with us. Elmo’s spot in the new house was the nice enclosed breezeway that is like a den. I was calling it “Elmo’s Room,” and last week I took a picture of him sitting in his room, and put it in a frame on the wall with the title, “Elmo’s Room.” And so it happened, the event I had prepared myself for many years…

We had gone down into the basement to watch a video and Elmo and Mo came down too, which was their habit. Elmo would be lively for a bit, play a little with Moses, and want to be brushed. I remember that he had gone to his basement doghouse soon after. Mo stole his bone, and Elmo gave a threatening play bark, and then settled down while we watched the tube.

After the video, and before going upstairs, I noted Elmo lying in his house, and it seemed like he was going to stay there a while, which he did on occasion. Also, I had observed his being very tired from his walks of late, and not as peppy; nevertheless, he had come down into the basement to be near us. As I watched my little Elmo age for a couple of years, he was getting old and acting like it, too. Often I would look into his friendly face and affectionate eyes while petting him, and observe all the white in his muzzle that had only been a small spot when he was a baby. But still, his coat was shiny and beautiful, and especially after I bathed him in the shower. Afterward, I might get concerned he wasn’t warm enough, and I would throw my heavy winter robe over my little boy as Jacob might have done with his favorite son Joseph.

Anyway, about an hour after we left the basement, I was going to take Elmo and Moses out for the last time that night. I called downstairs, “Elmo-boy! Come on Elmo-boy. Let’s go outside!” It was quiet in the basement. I shook the leashes thinking he would automatically come up, but all was still. So, I went downstairs for what I had already prepared myself for – the day my Elmo would die. He was gone, and his eyes were just halfway open as I had left him and am sure he was dead when I had glanced at him an hour earlier. I called up to my wife calmly and told her that I thought Elmo was dead – but I knew that he was.

We then prepared to take Elmo up the stairs and I wrapped him in my heavy winter robe. If the robe had been of many colors, it would have been very fitting for how I felt. He was my substitute little boy for eleven years. I didn’t sleep very much that night and kept telling the Lord, “Thank you, Lord, for the life of Baby Elmo. He was a good boy.” When I woke up one time and my mind was still a bit foggy, I remembered that my little Elmo was dead. It was a sick and sinking feeling of unbelievable sorrow.

I guess the first thing that struck me during this event was, I had been there for all of Elmo’s eleven years, taking care of him since he was a puppy. He had grown, matured, aged and died, and I had seen it all - I had been a part of it all. My prayers had been answered, though, for I had outlived him to take care of him all the days of his life, he had had a long and happy life, and he had died less than two miles from where he was born. The Lord had been merciful to him and to me. Hallelujah!

What also came to my mind were the dogs that licked the sores of the Bible character, Lazarus, who was a poor and sick beggar. Perhaps Lazarus’ friends and relatives (if he had any) couldn’t or didn’t want to assist him in his tribulation, so they laid him at a rich man’s gate, hoping the rich man would come and help - but only the dogs came. I think God sent the dogs. You see, Lazarus was not capable of scraping his own sores with a potsherd, as Job was capable of doing with his, so the dogs licked his sores. And instead of comforters for companions like those that Job had, the dogs became Lazarus’ comforting companions. And like Lazarus’ dogs, I had always known that God had sent my little Elmo-boy to lick my sores and to be my companion for a season. When I didn’t have a son any longer, Elmo licked my sores, and Elmo was my little boy. When I had no friend to be my buddy, Elmo licked my sores, and Elmo was my friend. When I had no wife to warmly welcome me home, Elmo licked my sores, and Elmo affectionately greeted me. (Some of us know about these things, don’t we?)

I had thought also about our pets and if we Christian people would see them in eternity one day. Have you? Some think it will not happen, but I believe it can. All of my pets had their own special and unique personalities given to them by the Creator. We can read in scripture that Adam named all the animals, and all my pets were named, and they knew their names, too. The dogs were so smart that sometimes we’d spell words out so they didn’t know what we were talking about: words like w-a-l-k, and c-o-o-k-i-e. As a matter of fact, they would get so excited to hear the word “squirrel,” we just used the letter “s” to talk about them. Furthermore, I read this about God and his creation, “for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” It was for God’s pleasure and purpose (and mine as well) that Elmo was created.

Therefore if we can read in the Bible about Balaam’s ass that could talk, and saved Balaam from being slain by the angel of the Lord on three occasions; and if we can read about a man that had a sheep that was like a daughter unto him, whose rich neighbor stole and roasted her for his feast; and if we can read about four angelic beasts in the midst and round about the throne of God (one like a lion, one like a calf, one with a face as a man, and one like an eagle); and if we can read about the Lord Jesus Christ returning with the armies of heaven, and all are riding upon white horses; can I not believe that there is a place in eternity for a dog like my Elmo?

But in regards to man, I am positive that there is a forever for every person to enter into; and for every person, there will be the last breath they take on earth and the next breath in eternity. (You probably have noticed, haven’t you, that everyone has an expiration date, and there is one assigned to you as well – at a certain hour in time.) And like my Elmo, you, too, don’t know when you are going to expire - but God knows.

So, at the conclusion of this life, when your hour of expiration arrives, you will begin eternity as easily as taking your last breath here and your next breath on the other side. For those who have repented of their sins and been born again of God’s Spirit, they will take their first eternal breath in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Saviour, and spend all eternity with him, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth will pass away. But for those who do not repent of their sins, they will take their first eternal breath in wait to see the Lord Jesus Christ, their Judge; and they will spend the rest of eternity without God. It is written, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Yes, my friend, as sure as my little Elmo unknowingly took his last breath, you will unknowingly take your last breath here someday. Are you ready to meet the Lord?

Thank you, Lord, for the life of Baby Elmo. He was a good boy, and the dog that licked my sores.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,

neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain:

for the former things are passed away.

-The End-

Elmo: The Dog that Licked My Sores, Elmo, The, Dog, that, Licked, My, Sores, Northern Minnesota, Minnesota, MN, 1969, puppies, German Shorthair Pointer, German, Shorthair, Pointer, Eppi, calico, Shar-Pei, Goldie, Golden Lab, Baby Elmo, Juneau, South East Texas, TX, Texas, armadillo, Elmo’s Room, Bible, Lazarus, pets, heaven, Balaam’s ass, Balaam, Revelation, dead, Book of Life, hell, lake of fire, tears, sorrow, pain, former things,