“You have turned my mourning into dancing…and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.” Psalm 30:11-12
Sheer lace cascaded around her shoulders, flowing tenderly by her side. Stunning,
radiant, ready. I gathered with my family outside Dallas to celebrate the marriage of my niece, Angela Franklin, to Ragan Rector.
Angela couldn’t have imagined when she became the music minister at Freeman Heights Baptist church in Garland, Texas, in 2013, how God was about to unfold a series of events that would lead Angela and Ragan to that altar.
During her first November there, a small black chihuahua-rat terrier-dachshund mix of a puppy took shelter under the church storage shed. Angela initially thought she would take care of him until she could find a more suitable home. One night when she wasn’t feeling well, the puppy curled up beside her on the couch to comfort her. Angela knew she had found the more suitable home. Now she needed to find a suitable name.
Angela was born and raised in Japan where her parents served as missionaries. Kuro is Japanese for “black” and is a sort of default dog name like “Spot.” Little, black shed puppy had a new home and a new name – Kuro!
The little dog under the shed needed rescuing, but God had a purpose for Kuro. Over the next year, Angela would lose all three of her remaining grandparents, each dying within six months of each other. Living alone in a new place and experiencing the losses of her grandparents, Angela began to battle depression. Depression is a fog that makes the road in front of you difficult to travel. Kuro gave Angela a way to walk that road one step at a
time. While she didn’t feel like taking care of herself, she knew she couldn’t neglect Kuro. He needed fresh air and sunshine. The sun would shine on Angela, too. When her faith felt the most lifeless, family would come in to celebrate the life of a grandparent, and she would hear about the legacy of faith left behind, using their faith to breathe life back into her own.
In 2017, Angela moved to North Dallas, where a sprawling dog park awaited them. Kuro found the perfect playground to frolic, play, and police any rambunctious dogs! It didn’t matter if the dogs might be 2-3 times bigger. Kuro must keep all the other dogs in line!
One day after painting her kitchen cabinets, Angela hurriedly took Kuro for his playtime in the park. No need to worry about being presentable. It was just a dog park, after all. As Kuro patrolled the park, he found two dogs that needed policing, Dexter, a miniature schnauzer, and Bailey, a Catahoula hound mix. He wasted no time giving them his full attention.
Dexter and Bailey’s human happened to be tall, dark and handsome. And they happened to belong to Ragan. After Angela made her apologies for Kuro’s aggressiveness, Ragan and Angela talked dog talk, and then they just talked, and then they talked some more. Within a couple of days, the sun would close the day early and getting to the park before the sun closed down the day would be difficult. Ragan knew he’d better get Angela’s number before he lost his chance.
The rest truly is history! The dogs learned to get along almost as well as their humans. When Ragan asked Angela to spend forever with him, there was no better place than at the dog park, where all responsible could take part. Well, almost all. I am sad to say that Dexter, who was 18 years old at the time, passed away shortly after Angela and Ragan met. Bailey and Kuro celebrated the engagement and barked their approval.
Just a few months before the wedding, Bailey also passed away at the age of 14. Both of Ragan’s dogs were celebrated at the wedding with beautiful portraits. Kuro was honored by being best dog, walking proudly down the aisle, as if he were the one giving Angela away. I’m sure he was also scouting the crowd in case he needed to police any unruly wedding guests!
I love this story because it shows the powerful connection between animals and people. God knows what we need and the perfect time to bring it about. I also hear rumors that there might be another little puppy in the not so distant future. I’m sure Kuro will be happy to keep an eye on him and show him the ways of the doggy world!