The first day is the hardest. Then there's the first week. And then comes . . .
No, I'm not used to Tank being gone. It's been a week and it sounds nuts, I know, but I've been catching glimpses of him just out of the corner of my eye. He's not here, I know, but rounding the corner taking dinner dishes to the sink the other night, just for an instant I swear I saw him dancing backwards, ears up and tail wagging, sure that in exchange for his promise that he wouldn't tell anyone, I'd sneak him a little sliver of something I'd left on my plate.
I heard him, too. His feet on the kitchen floor, just like I have for so many years. But he really wasn't there, of course.
Or maybe, just for an instant here and there, he actually has been.
When I took Starbuck out for the second time this morning, I found a box that FedEx had dropped over the fence. The sender, Dr. LaDue. Inside: DOG HEAVEN.
Dogs in Dog Heaven have almost always belonged to somebody on Earth and, of course, the dogs remember this. Heaven is full of memories.Back to Dog Heaven where their beds are made of fluffy clouds turned inside out and there are endless fields for them to run and play in all day long.
So sometimes an angel will walk a dog back to Earth for a little visit and . . . [w]hen he is satisifed that all is well, the dog will return to Heaven with the angel.
DOG HEAVEN is written for children, but it's also for anyone who's experienced the loss of a very special canine companion. The author's simple art, accompanying her spare words, covers each page from corner to corner.
And where it wouldn't interfere with the text or the images were handwritten notes, sometimes paragraphs, from Dr. LaDue and her staff saying how much they're going to miss Tank, too, and why he was so special to each of them.