I was angry.

Perhaps at God.

And at Jake.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but when I received a third call from Therese to meet him, I caved and said yes.

The attraction was immediate. I fell in love. His face tugged at my heart strings – sweet, loving, and kind.

Bringing him home on a sunny April afternoon, our relationship began and so did my healing.

At the age of one, this full grown puppy entered my life as a rescued dog. I had no idea what I was in for, but something in me wanted to love him.

It appeared he had been neglected and left on his own. With undeveloped hind leg muscles, he walked like a crouching tiger. Mange under his torso and obvious odd behavior, I assumed he was not fed well.

We began with basic obedience, walking on a leash and sitting. He had no idea how to walk stairs or climb into my car.
A willingness to obey and quite intelligent, he was a quick study.

I forgot he was a puppy and expected mild manners at home. Jake would often grab pillows or throws on the couch to entice my play. He would make cleaning difficult and chase the vacuum hose.

What should have been innocent fun and a time of laughter for me turned into rage. I never hit Jake but I was a screaming lunatic.

And then there was the walks. The “New York” in me is on the move and when I go for a walk, I want to WALK!

After getting to know Jake, I now call him, “Mr. Social”. He’s on a walk to see others – people and dogs.

Trips to Orlando’s trails turned into disappointment. Tugging at the leash, frustrated with the pace, and angry at this dog’s lack of energy to move with intention, strained our relationship and my anger ensued.

Why was I so angry?

Wise words from my family were only shared to help me see what I couldn’t.

I can’t change Jake. I can only change me.

Oh, what freedom to accept him for who he is, and to focus on his good qualities, which are many.

I now receive compliments about Jake’s behavior. He’s kind to others, plays well, he stays by my side off leash. He comes when I call, leaves people food alone, greets every stranger with a happy hello, and is calm in the car or in a storm. Jake loves to sunbathe, nap and has become a gentle giant.

The secret to peace and joy in relationships is found in acceptance and thankfulness. God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. True healing comes when we can look inward when there is a lack of peace, be transparent, and focus on changing ourselves.

I am so grateful I did.

Nicole Santapola

About Nicole Santapola

Nicole Santapola began her relationship with Christ after 30 years of religion being a mainstay in her upbringing. Experiencing a divorce, Nicole found herself a single woman leaning on God's promises and learning both His faithfulness and love. She calls Discovery Church home. She began attending in 2002 and through bible studies, women's events, and restoration counseling, she was baptized at East Campus in 2006. Nicole has a passion to share God's love and encouragement to others particularly in the area of health and wellness. She has followed holistic health and nutrition and through education and cooking classes, she teaches and shares this with others. She loves to cook and bake mostly plant-based dishes in her home and visit local vegetarian establishments. Her walk began with Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".

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