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An Unexpected Message from God

After her poodle went missing, she realized that God had bigger plans for her small family.


“Teddy’s gone!” I cried.

My husband, Gus, pulled me into a hug. We stood, surrounded by shattered glass from our back door. While we were at the gym, someone had broken into our house. We’d searched all of the rooms. The only things missing were our wedding bands and some other jewelry—and our seven-year-old toy poodle, Teddy Pooh Bear.

Gus and I didn’t have children, so Teddy was our baby, our little girl. We usually took her everywhere, even to church. But that night, we’d left Teddy at home for just an hour while we went to work out. And now she was gone. Either she’d been scared by the break-in and run off, or she’d been stolen. I didn’t know which was worse. I hated thinking of her out there alone in the dark. Or with criminals who had goodness knows what plans for her. Tears poured down my cheeks.

The police arrived and made their report. After they left, I shut myself in our room. I just couldn’t bear to see anyone. Over the next few days, a reward for Teddy’s safe return was set up by a local detective who’d seen our story on the news. While our friends and family searched the streets and put up flyers, I stayed in bed, crying my eyes out.

Three days after Teddy’s disappearance, my mother called.

“Mija, you can’t just lock yourself away,” she said. “Maybe this is a sign. Maybe God is telling you it’s time for a two-legged baby instead of just a four-legged one.”

Although Gus and I had agreed that we would discuss alternative options if we didn’t get pregnant by the time I turned 40—a fast-approaching deadline—I wasn’t so sure. Truth be told, I worried what becoming parents would do to our dynamic. We were happy now, but our relationship hadn’t always been this strong. Raising the tiny poodle puppy, a gift from Gus, had helped us reconnect.

Now, coming up on our twentieth wedding anniversary, Gus and I were stronger than we’d ever been. We were comfortable, just the three of us, and I wasn’t sure what a life with children would look like. Still, Mom’s words stuck with me. What if she was right?

On Sunday, when Gus and I were at church, one of the other parishioners approached me. She said she’d heard about Teddy and was praying for her safe return, then added, “But this could be God’s way of telling you it’s time for a two-legged baby instead of just a four-legged one.”

I practically gasped. The same message my mother had told me—down to the very words!

After someone at my office said the exact same thing on Monday, I was reeling. Three different people. One message. I called Gus from work and told him that I wanted to start fostering children. He agreed. We signed up for certification classes the same day.

Five weeks passed. Then, the night before we were due to com­plete our training to become foster parents, our doorbell rang. Gus answered. I heard some muffled conversation, then: “Anna!”

I hurried to the door. Two women were standing there—they recog­nized us from around the neighbor­hood. And in Gus’s arms was a small, gray bundle. Though her hair was shorter and dirtier, and the fur on her ears and tail had been dyed pink, I’d know that sweet little face anywhere.

“Teddy!” I cried, scooping her into my arms.

The women explained that they’d found Teddy a few blocks away and recognized her from the posters.

Teddy definitely needed some TLC, but after being bathed and fed and getting a quick checkup at the vet, her tail started wagging. By the time we all went to bed, she was back to her old self. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I said a prayer of thanks. Deep down, I had already begun to fear we would never get our little Teddy back.

That night, something became crystal clear—I didn’t need to worry about us becoming parents. Raising Teddy had brought us closer as a couple. And we had so much love for this little dog and still more to give. If anything, our time as par­ents of a fur baby had shown us how ready we were to become parents. Was that the lesson God wanted us to learn?

It’s been a little over three years since then. Gus and I adopted two wonderful children, who have brought more joy to our lives than I ever could have imagined. Journey, who’s now three years old, came to us just a few months after Teddy returned home. Recently, he was joined by a little sister, one-year-old Destiny.

Teddy has taken surprisingly well to her role as “big sister.” At 10 years old, she might be a little slower than she once was, but when the kids take out a toy to play fetch, she be­comes a puppy again. Seeing all three of them playing in our yard, I can’t help but think—if Teddy hadn’t gone missing when she did, Gus and I would’ve continued as we al­ways had, unaware of the incredible happiness awaiting us. I believe briefly losing Teddy helped us find the rest of our family.

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