Friday Prayer, February 26, 2016


Today, we give away our beloved Sunny to her adoptive family. It is a searing pain….

Last fall, we learned of our daughter, Eden’s,  numerous food allergies. We were concerned that she might be allergic to our golden doodle, Sunny, as well. Eden and Sunny love each other. Eden chases after Sunny, calling her “Bah-Bah” (which we think imitates her bark). But when Eden continued to break out in hives at seemingly random times, we had blood tests done to confirm she has a high allergy to dogs. Her allergist explained that keeping Eden in this environment with Sunny would increase her likelihood of asthma.


We were devastated.

She’s been an integral member of our family, and the memories flood our souls. Sunny always had a special affinity for my father and comforted us through his death a year and a half ago. The day I was in labor with Eden, Sunny remained by my side, sensing what was happening. She’s traveled with us to South Dakota, Minnesota, Chicago, and Iowa City. There are, of course, the memories of excursions to the veterinary ER too for mishaps with a medicine jar and a canister of dark cocoa powder…

Sunny’s always been there for the holy moments of daily life, and taught us how to appreciate them through her simple joy, abiding love, and unwavering faithfulness. I think of the book, Marley and Me that says, “It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it?” Or maybe it’s the most amazing thing to be loved by a dog. God’s come to us in tangible ways through Sunny.

Scores of family and friends have prayed with and over us as we’ve handled the news and wondered how to proceed. And then, through acts we can only attribute to the grace of God, a beautiful family and set of circumstances came into our laps.

And we realized we had to say yes to goodbye. And yes to grief. And yes to trust. And yes to the seasonal nature of life that asks us to believe there is yet joy to receive in each one.

Even when it hurts like hell.

We shared a blessing service when we first adopted Sunny nearly four years ago, and we had a time of blessing last night as we prepared for today. I lift up this prayer of saying thank you and goodbye.

We love you, Sunny, precious creature of God…


Oh God,

Be with us in our goodbyes.

When we are asked to open our hands and

release what we hold –

what we’ve held tightly

place your peace between the fingers.

Put your comfort in the cracks and crevices of our hearts.

Let your Spirit take the groans too deep for words

and fashion them into prayers of


Thank you.

Use our falling tears as nourishment for

this ground of grief,

and bring our souls, our lives, our trust

to new blossom.

In Jesus, Whose love never fails,


The car ride when we first adopted Sunny and were bringing her home three-and-a-half years ago
Sunny’s favorite food – a fried egg – always received on her birthday


Sunny loved Minnesota snow


Car rides are one of her favorite things


This happened more frequently than we like to remember


Always watching for us to come home, and always ready for the next adventure. 


  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, but I am glad that God did work to find her a wonderful new home.

  2. Dear Arianne,

    Thoughts, prayers, and tears we share with all of you today.

    The sacrifaces we make to raise our children are many throughout life. Some come with joy, others not so much. Blessing on this journey together to new found peace from good memories.

    Love from both of us,

    Joanne On Feb 26, 2016 10:51 AM, “Ash and Starlight” wrote: > > ariannelehn posted: ” Today, we give away our beloved Sunny to her adoptive family. It is a searing pain…. Last fall, we learned of our daughter, Eden’s, numerous food allergies. We were concerned that she might be allergic to our golden doodle, Sunny, as well. Eden and ” >

    1. Thank you so much, Joanne and Bob. Your love is felt and treasured. You have been such faithful parents (and grandparents!) to the beautiful children in your lives. Thank you for all of your encouragement.

  3. Thank you for sharing and openly facing the wisdom of your doctor and all. Allergies are complex and hard to deal with in life. What causes us to be allergic? Even doctors have trouble determining some of these complexities. Years ago I had an allergy to dust and pollen from rag weeds and that led to some asthmatic like problems and it was referred to as hay fever. Through the years I overcame that with a climate change, limiting myself to exposure to the weeds, and what I felt like a miracle in balancing my glandular functions, especially the adrenal glands balanced with the master gland. God has given you the sign of Romans 8:28 and will continue to answer your prayers for acceptance and resolution for the needs of your daughter. We will pray that this may all work for good and that the Lord will continue to give you wisdom and knowledge with strong faith that is given for the gifts of healing. Blessings, Gene

    On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 9:50 AM, Ash and Starlight wrote:

    > ariannelehn posted: ” Today, we give away our beloved Sunny to her > adoptive family. It is a searing pain…. Last fall, we learned of our > daughter, Eden’s, numerous food allergies. We were concerned that she > might be allergic to our golden doodle, Sunny, as well. Eden and ” >

    1. Thank you, Gene, for pointing me to Romans 8:28 – one of my favorite verses. So glad that your own health struggles with allergies have decreased over the years! Much gratitude and many blessings to you!

  4. Dear Arianne and Jeff–A lovely sharing of a precious family jewel. May God bless you and Sunny, too. Hugs from Harriett

    1. Thank you, sweet Harriet. I love your term of “jewel” – Sunny truly was! We are so grateful for your warm hugs, and send them back. Bless you, Harriet.

  5. Arianne and Jeff,
    My tears mingle with yours….our Chicago granddog is a golden doodle and I can only imagine the loss of your beloved Sunny. Thankfully she has found a loving home. May that help you in your grief.
    Marti Odle

    1. Thank you so much, dear Marti! How grateful we are for your shared tears and solidarity. I didn’t realize you had a golden doodle in your family as well. They are so precious!! Really appreciate your loving support, and hope to see you soon.

  6. Dear Arianne and family, I am saddened by your broken hearts.
    Sunny really was your first baby and that ache will remain for some time.
    It is a blessing that you found a wonderful family to adopt her and one she
    will also bless with her boundless love. Blessings to you all.

  7. Oh, Arianne, how my heart hurts for you and Jeff today. I know how much you love Sunny. We saw your love when we were around her as well as her love for you. We have been heartbroken in the past when we have lost one of our beloved dogs. They are just so trusting and bring so much joy. And we know that your sacrifice of Sunny for dear Eden was a difficult but necessary decision. I pray that Eden will eventually grow out of some of her allergies, as did my son. He suffered with allergies and asthma as a child and grew into a teenager free from both.

    As always, your words, prayer and the pictures of Sunny have lifted me today, even at this sad time for you. Please know we are sending our love.

    1. Thank you so much, sweet Susanne! You knew and loved Sunny well, and I know you understand this loss at such a deep level. Really appreciate your words of hope and encouragement, too, about your son’s overcoming allergies! You lift us so much, Susanne!

  8. I am terribly sorry – what a hard goodbye. When we lost a beloved dog to lymphoma I clung to these words from Linford Detweiler – “There are some who would argue that a dog’s life is insignificant. But God so often chooses to use insignificant things in significant ways. In the grand scheme, we’re all insignificant until love shows up.”

    Blessings and peace to all of you.

    1. So, so grateful for your encouragement and solidarity, Katherine! I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s passing with lymphoma. How hard! It is such a raw and deep pain. I really appreciate the quote that you shared from Linford Detweiler. Thank you so much for that! Isn’t that the truth? Sending much gratitude to you, Katherine, and looking forward to your upcoming book.

  9. Ohhh Arianne and Jeff. My heart breaks for you!!! What a beautiful piece you have shared. I hope there was some cartharsis in doing so. Glad God sent the perfect family to adopt and love Sunny, but it still hurts so much.

    Prayers for comfort and peace as you say farewell to your beloved Sunny. Love you! Barb

    Sent from my iPhone


  10. I join your other friends in hoping the day will come that Eden is no longer allergic to dogs. In the meantime I pray this loss will result in improved health for Eden and that Sunny will adapt well to her new home and be as loved and cared for as she has been in your home. Praying for conform for you and Jeff as you adjust to another new normal.

  11. Oh Goodness Arianne, Jeff and Eden, our loving prayers are with you as you make yet another life transition. The photo gallery with Sunny is absolutely adorable. Thaank you for the wonderful smile it brings to me and to us!
    Lovingly-Ann and David

    1. Oh Jeff, Arianne and Eden
      You yanked at my heart strings, I know this pain in your hearts so well. Just this past Monday I had to put my Suni down just after 5 short years of loving him. He was the faro cat I rescued from our woods, who had so many health problems. But the love in my heart will never leave. You will know where your Sunny is and can see and check on her from time to time although her presence will be so missed. Bless you all and hugs from me!!

      1. So hard, Marianne! We are so sorry about your precious Suni. What a doting and loving mother you were to her! Let us share one another’s journey of grief and lift one another toward new horizons of hope and peace. Love to you, Marianne!

  12. So sorry that you had to say good-bye to Sunny. Your photos are a treasure. I hope you soon see a very healthy little girl, such wonderful parents to put her needs first. Not easy.

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