Through our discussions, we came to a plan. We wanted to provided days for our children where our focus would be simply going about our day and watching for people we could serve. We wanted our families to learn that in any circumstance we find ourselves in, there are those around us who are in need of love, kindness, and a helping hand. For our first day, we planned the weekend before Christmas. In the months leading up to Christmas, we talked to the kids about our plans and asked them to pray that they would be guided to those they could serve and know what they could do to help. We were all excited.
As it turned out, the week before Christmas, Claire ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. Next thing we knew, Sam was sick too. Disappointed, Jodi and I talked and decided we'd have to put our day on hold and let her family do it on their own.
Then, a few days before Christmas, on the afternoon before the "service day" was to take place, our Buddy died. I was at home and let him out to go to the bathroom. Claire and I were working on her gingerbread house when I got a call from Courtney telling me that our friend had found him on the road in front of our house, having been hit by a car (that never even stopped- but don't get me going on that). Fortunately, Courtney and our friend, Jim were able to get him off the road before the bus came home and the girls found him.
I was surprised at how sad I felt. I don't think of myself as an animal lover. In fact, I never dreamed we'd have a dog in the house (even more, I swore I wouldn't!) I guess Buddy changed us, because Courtney and I were broken hearted to lose him. (And so was everyone else- neighbors, friends, and family. Everyone loved Buddy!) The girls cried and cried, and talked of getting a new dog "just like Buddy" right away. Courtney and I started looking on KSL that night, which made my sister Kelsey laugh. "Guess what. If you are already looking for a new dog to take his place, you are animal people!" I thought Ryenne was wise when she didn't want a dog 'just like Buddy'. "It will never be the same," she told us.
Well, when the five Stosich boys found out we wouldn't be coming for our weekend service day and that Buddy had been killed, they were pretty sad. Courtney and I were so touched when the next morning we got a call from Jodi and AJ asking us what we would think if they got us a new dog. They told us that the boys had gotten together, pooled their own money with the intention of buying their cousins a new puppy, and wanted to do it for their "service day". When Jodi and AJ protested, the boys countered with "But you told us to pray for someone we could help, and this is what we want to do for our service!" What made it even more touching to me is that these are five boys who have never had a puppy of their own, want one soooo bad, but never asked for their own. Their hearts were set on serving our girls.
How could we turn them down?
We were all so excited to surprise the girls on Christmas Eve. They were able to find the perfect dog they wanted for us, a goldendoodle, in just the same color as Buddy! Since Buddy was a toy poodle, this dog will be about ten times his size, but the boys grandma has a goldendoodle and they all said that is what they would get if they were getting one for themselves. (As it turned out, Jodi and AJ watched the boys with the puppies as they were picking ours out and couldn't resist getting one of their own! Now we have brother/sister dogs! But the best part is, the dog they picked for our girls was their favorite, and we couldn't talk them into keeping it for themselves. They wanted it to go to the girls!)
On Christmas Eve, the boys told the girls that they were coming and had a special game they had created for them. The girls could hardly wait for them to arrive. The "game" was a scavenger hunt, complete with a poem written by the boys. Amazing boys!