My father (Charles’ grandfather) LOVES to tell the story of when I was really young and caught a frog, and in my glee to bring it home to show to my mom, squished the life (literally) out of the poor thing. I am convinced that because of that, the very first creature I will meet in heaven will be that frog, and we’ll just clear the air and be done with it. “Human, you are forgiven” he will say, and on with eternity. (Yes, I believe animals go to heaven…)

So maybe it’s because of that that I am constantly in awe when something I take care of survives (or, more shockingly, thrives).

The first time my wife and I got a dog, almost 20 years ago, I was stunned to find, every 15 minutes when I’d call home from work, that indeed, the dog was still living, we hadn’t fed it the wrong food or accidentally crushed it or anything like that. Fezziwig wasn’t a puppy, she was an old dog to begin with, and well-trained. An excellent “starter dog” if you will.

I did the same thing when Charles first came to live with us, before he was adopted. I was calling home with a “how’s the boy doin’?” (It drove my wife crazy.) He didn’t break himself or something yet, did he?” Well, 6 years later, despite his choices (good and bad, depending on the day… yesterday was… well… not good… but he survived and went to school this morning, so we got that goin’ for us), and despite our choices (mostly good, I think, except when we let him have seconds on pizza perhaps, or when we give him sugar) he is surviving, and thriving.

So, a few weeks ago, imagine my delight when I saw this huge awesome toad in front of our house, just sitting looking at me, when I took the dog out. When I came back in, he had moved closer to where I had walked. I think he wanted to get a good look at me. As far as we can tell, he was moving in (probably to hibernate for the winter) underneath our steps. No, I didn’t pick him up and squeeze him. We are leaving him alone, even Charles is.

Every night he’d be there, so I named him “Todd the Toad”. Why Todd? Well, silly, because he’s a Toad, of course… He would be on either side of the front step, not too far off, waiting for a bug to come by, burying himself in the mulch, or peeping out the hole that I think leads to his winter “toad-man-cave” (I wonder if he’s stealing my cable…).

Then he disappeared. I looked… every time I went out… but nothing.

Well, imagine my glee when he was back outside looking at me (with what must be reptilian curiosity of course), and he was still there this morning. I know what you’re thinking… “pics or it didn’t happen”… well, then… here, I present to you, Todd the Toad.

Todd the Toad

Todd the Toad

So I wonder if every time I wake up in the morning or survive a bad choice or some such, God does a little dance of glee. “Oh, look, he made it one more day. Isn’t it a MIRACLE!”

I bet he does.

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