It's confession time — I'm in love. It's been a long time in coming and snuck up on me a bit, and it seems to be growing even deeper, so I've decided that it must be more than puppy love. It's Bunny love.
A few years ago, my now-13-year-old daughter, Maggie, and I began our campaign to convince my husband, Jimmy, we needed a second dog. Our now-7-year-old black Labrador, Midnight, is an incredible, fantastic dog, but at close to 80 pounds she is a bit too large to sit in one's lap (if you sit on the floor cross-legged, however, she will come sit in your lap). Due to outside pressures (presidential primary campaign, anyone?), the purchase decision was delayed to this past Christmas.
Maggie was in full puppy hunt this past fall and found what she deemed to be the perfect fit on a rescue website. A small black mix puppy named Bunny, who had been born on Maggie's birthday. Certainly a sign from heaven that she belonged to us.
Jimmy, in his ongoing effort to maintain his father of the year award (which he has made every year so far), drove four hours each way for puppy approval before the final decision. He approved.
Three days before Christmas, he once again drove to get Bunny and brought her home to us.
Bunny — fluffy, black, curly hair, 12 pounds, curled-up tail, bark and boundless energy that exudes through her entire body when she wags not just her tail, but her entire body from her head to her tail. She is full-on puppy.
This past Easter weekend, our family went to the beach and took our two dogs. The dogs ran through the surf, chasing birds they never caught and sniffing the unending menagerie of smells. Their joy was a joy to watch, unbridled happiness in just being who they are.
The day we were to leave, Jimmy and Maggie were back in just a few minutes from their early morning walk. The catch in Jimmy's voice let me know something was wrong before I could catch his words. Bunny's back legs weren't working right. She couldn't walk, would not drink or eat and was whimpering.
Not like Bunny, not good.
She was taken to the vets when they opened at 8 a.m. Her condition appeared to be neurological, based on the symptoms. A battery of blood tests was ordered. They returned Bunnyless. I gave Maggie a hug and mentioned that she might want to say special prayer for Bunny. She replied that she already had.
I prayed as well. Please, God, keep Bunny safe and well.
The children and I packed up and left for the six-hour drive home, leaving Jimmy with Bunny. Driving away, a few tears ran down my cheeks. For Bunny, but for more than Bunny — for everyone and everything we love.
For the way it hurts your heart when someone you love is hurt. For my mother's multiple strokes last fall. For friends whose child died unexpectedly. For a fellow church member whose nephew was hit by a car. For the pain of loss, loss of touch, loss of life, for the loss of those we love.
With my heart heavy, I remembered the morning before, Easter sunrise service on the beach. The sky and ocean a visual reminder of God's power and majesty. The Easter story, told again, proof that God can deliver anyone and do anything.
By noon, the news was promising — Bunny was better. By three that afternoon, she was reported to be back to her normal Bunny self. After a quick pickup, she and Jimmy were on their way home, as well.
There was no explanation for her condition — but Bunny was back.
That night, after greeting Bunny and seeing her whole body wag, Maggie and I knew that our prayers had been answered.
Bunny's Easter story of healing reminds me that God can do anything, if we ask, and that he loves us unconditionally, just like I love Bunny.
Jackie Gingrich Cushman is the co-author, along with her father, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, of the book "5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours." Read more reports from Jackie Gingrich Cushman — Click Here Now.