2100 pennies: A (tail) of faith*

Twenty-one hundred pennies.

That’s how much Middle Son needed to buy the baby guinea pig at the pet store.

So Middle Son, determined animal-lover that he is, scoured his room and pilfered from his brothers and culled through junk drawers, presenting me with a couple of bulging, gallon-sized bags full of copper. We took it all to the bank, and the bank teller said she was way too busy to count it all herself. She set us up at a table in the bank lobby, where we sat for a good while stuffing paper rolls full of coins . . . and hope.

When we were finished counting, my son had twenty-one hundred pennies.

To the penny.

If that wasn’t a sign from God that I had to buy that darn tennis-ball-sized mound of fur, I don’t know what was.

So we crossed the street to the pet store and brought him home.

Middle Son named him Pogo.

Pogo purred when we picked him up. He squealed with glee when time we came in the room. He sat on our tummies when we watched TV. And his chocolate chip black eyes blinked at us with adoration.

For four years, we loved Pogo.

And he loved us.

So when Pogo died on Saturday, I cried all morning. We all did. I placed his soft, limp body in a shoebox, on top of fresh bedding. Middle Son found a homemade, matching hemp bracelet and necklace, tucked the necklace next to Pogo, and tied the bracelet around his ankle.

As I dug a hole, Middle Son brought his guitar outside and sat on the picnic table. “I’ll play Ode to Joy while you read, Mama,” he said. (It was either that or Iron Man, the only two songs he knows. I blame his guitar teacher.)

The whole family stood around the grave site as Middle Son plucked a somber rendition of the tune, and I read Psalm 104 (which, incidentally, talks about a guinea pig-like creature in verse 18).

Before we buried Pogo, Middle Son wrote and tucked a page-long letter in the box beside him, which I wasn’t allowed to read, but I imagine said something about how Pogo was his best buddy in the whole wide world, and how they will be friends forever, and how much he’ll miss him, but he’ll see him again someday in Heaven.

Friends are hard to lose.

No matter how small.

And sometimes the smallest friends are the most faithful.

Which is why, as a grown adult typing this days later, I’m still weeping. I remember the guinea pig I had as a little girl. Somehow feeling the fur between my fingers and holding my hand to his tiny, rapidly beating chest unveiled the flutter of my own heart . . . and the flutter of My Maker’s as He reassured me, “I am here. I made this creature. I care for him. And I care for you.”

When the hearts of humans dissapoint us, betray us, and cause us pain, God’s creatures assure us of His unconditional, unwavering faithfulness.

Because like the Bible says, faith starts as a mustard seed.

If it grows as big as a guinea pig, you’re doing pretty good.

And if you have enough to fill a bag full of pennies, you’re doing great.

No wonder psalmists sang so often of all of God’s creatures.

No wonder God made them every size, shape and color.

In lieu of the unfaithfulness of humanity, God’s faithfulness blinks at us . . .

. . . adoringly . . .

. . . through the eyes of even His smallest . . .

. . . furriest . . .


How many are your works, O LORD! 
In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small.
These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

~Psalm 104: 24-25, 27-30~

*This post is part of Bridget Chumbley’s One Word at a Time blog carnival on faithfulness today, as well as Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

19 thoughts on “2100 pennies: A (tail) of faith*

  1. I’ve got a dog who’s beginning to enter the last stage of his life. I can’t even think about it. Reading about Pogo is enough to make me lose it. Good post, Amy.

  2. OH POGO!!!! 😦 I am so sad! I only met him a couple of times but you know how much I loved him and wanted to just stick him in my pocket and bring him home with me. I’m gonna miss him so much too.

    Amy, this is SO beautifully written. I can’t tell you how much I admire and appreciate your talent and gift of the written word.


  3. Aw, thanks, Anne! I do know you loved him, too & so glad you got to snuggle with him, too. I knew he was getting old because he was getting so bony, no matter how much extra food and treats we gave him. So grateful for the time we had with the little guy. And that God made them in the first place. Thanks friends!

  4. Amy, Thanks for sending me to your beautiful tribute to sweet POGO. I feel like I was there with all of you as you laid him so lovingly to rest. We were blessed to know him too. God chose a very special boy to love and care for one of his creations !!!

  5. What a sweet story of a much loved Pogo. It reminded me of our dearly-missed Bennett family Dalmatian, Dotful. For awhile there, he was still getting mail from some of my long-time daycare children. They missed him more than me :). I believe every child needs and deserves a pet they can call their very own. Mine was tortoise named Myrtle. Thanks for sharing Amy. Hugs to you and your family.

  6. Oh, Amy. How sweet. God just sent our family a guinea pig of our own last week! We named him Oreo. He has already brought bundles of joy to our home and he is just adjusting to us ( and all our noise!) Thanks for sharing your heart.

  7. Oh dear, I’m so sorry. My neighbor and friend lost their guinea pig a few months ago. It had way outlived the typical lifespan of a guinea pig and did all the things you described.

    We just lost a bird. We had a ceremony, but the bird must not have really integrated so intimately with our family, because the kids kept things short and sweet. Our son did pray a perfectly lovely prayer, however.

    It’s hard to lose anything that we’ve loved. I’m sorry you’ve said good-bye to Pogo.

  8. Ummm… wow dude. That was really beautiful. I wouldn’t have thought that a post about a little ball of fur like that would hit that hard in the end. Thank you for sharing your life like this. And thank you to Middle Son for his response to Pogo’s passing… very touching.

  9. Beautifully written. As a lover of animals, I almost cried.

    Somehow, we are taught about God through these little creatures. For me, it was a small pet monkey I had when I was in Ghana, W. Africa.

    I remember the day he died. It was tough. Give your son a hug today. 🙂

    I subscribed to your feed and look forward to reading more from you.

    Take care,

    Marty Duane

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