Sunday, March 05, 2006


This week's edition of Carnival of the Dogs is up at Mickey's.

Bill Quick is also dog blogging, adding a new "snap" showing, once again, who's REALLY in charge.

Mark, who lost Bart this week, blogging about Molly, Bart's much younger "sister" also said:

I heard that a dog's soul is out there waiting to return to those who loved him in a new form. If that is truly the case, I'll know when the time is right.

And if that's just a myth, I'll wait and let a dog choose me again, the way Bart did.
I started replying at Mark's but realized I was already going way too long and I hadn't even started. So, Mark ...

Satan, my Dobie of long ago, never understood that because he was a Doberman Pinscher, some people automatically assumed he was a vicious killer beast. Heck, I don't think Satan even knew he was a dog.

By my side for eleven years through ups and downs, good times and some really bad ones, I'd taught him to do all kinds of tricks. Not that I knew what I was doing but our connection was so complete, it got to the point — I swear — there were times he'd do something before I'd even had a chance to give him the voice command or hand signal. I'd just started thinking about it and . . .

I got home from work one afternoon to find Satan sick. The diagnosis: kidney stones. Doc could operate but X-rays showed others had already formed elsewhere and once they moved maybe in a week or so, Satan would be right back where he was. And two back-to-back major surgeries on a dog his age . . .

That was the first time I realized how much love can hurt, and how much pain making the right decision can cause.

We still had Beau and Cocoa. It's not that they didn't love me or I didn't love them, but we didn't "belong" the way Satan and I always had.

Six months later I pulled into the driveway, Da Kid yammering away in the passenger seat, after his T-ball practice that day. It's late in the afternoon. Early evening? The sun is just starting to dip behind the roof of the church next door as I opened the car door, started to get out . . . and froze.

Just outside the fence, standing in silhouette against the sun's fading glow, is Satan.

I know this dog. I know the way he stands. The way he moves. The angle he cocks his head in when he's looking at something. And I know he's looking at me.

I hear Da Kid get out of the car. He runs around the front of the car to where I'm standing. He squeals, "Look Mommy! It's Satan!"

The silhouette began to move along the fence and . . . slowly it stopped looking like him.

Dobies and Labrador retrievers don't look anything alike, and this one was a walking wreck.

It was starved down and mange-ridden with bloody, scabby skin and little patches of tar-matted hair instead of a coat, trailing a broken rope knotted around its neck so tightly it's cut the bare skin completely around.

When Hubby, who'd pulled up in back of me, went out to the road the dog fell, then when on its back offering its belly.

What are you gonna do.

We brought the dog in the yard and gave it food and water. He let us cut the rope off, and Hubby announced that it looked like I had a new dog.

"No, it's not staying."

I checked up and down the road for a couple of days. Everywhere around. No one was missing a dog or knew of anyone who was, and no one wanted one, either.

A couple of meals, and finally I broke down and gave it a bath because I knew no one was going to want a dog that looked this bad.

That night Hubby said I'd just confirmed that THIS dog wasn't leaving.

"If you bathe a dog, we both know it's staying."

"No, he's not staying! Lucky son of a bitch, though, walking up just as we were pulling in."

"And now you've just named him, too."

There was something else, too, I'd felt from the start. A strange sensation that somehow I knew the dog. From . . . somewhere. I pushed it away. I buried it.

I couldn't ignore it any longer a few nights later, when one helluva storm came in. Thunder, lightening, wind and heavy rain. So, I let him in.

The dog walks right over to where Satan's bowls had been for so many years until six months before, and stares at the empty space. Then he looks at me, then back to where the bowls used to be.

Nah! That's crazy and I'm not.

Except when I went to bed that night, Lucky put his head along side my pillow for a minute . . . the way Satan had always done, just before he curled up and went to sleep in the corner Satan had always slept in.

He also knew every single one of Satan's tricks, answering my oddball voice commands and hand signals without hesitation.

Okay, maybe I am crazy. If I am, fine. So is Hubby.

About two weeks after Lucky showed up, Hubby grabbed his face and went eye to eye with him:

"You couldn't stand being gone, could you. You came back."

Do dog's souls wander around waiting to come back to the people they love? I don't know, but I think so although not in all cases.

From whatever the other side is, some recognize that the hole they left in their person's heart hasn't been healed by time. That while they were here, they were able to help their person through rough times, and seeing the rough times they're facing now they know THEY aren't there anymore to help the way they used to.

So, they either come back in another form . . . or grab "someone" already here and say, "Yo! Over there. Yeah, THAT person. This is everything you need to know."

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Anonymous Bou said...

I love this line: If you bathe a dog, we both know it's staying.

What a great story!

7:38 AM  

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