Monday, April 6, 2009

Dogs Are Angels with Fur

As you may know, the movie Marley and Me was released on DVD last week. I had been waiting for this to happen. Even though I really wanted to see this movie as I am goofy over dogs, I knew that I would have to do it in the privacy of our home with access to an endless supply of kleenex. I was right in making that decision. I am still recovering from watching the DVD.

Thinking of Marley, I was inspired to share with you my story about our Jack Russell Terrier, Jackie. In 2003, my husband and I had two Jack Russells - Benny and Riot. Benny is now 18 years old. Riot is now 12 years old. I really wanted a third dog. Chuck wasn't abundant with the idea. I did get him to agree that we could be Jack Russell foster parents for a third dog. We would be guardian to the dog until someone adopted the dog. At least that was supposed to be the plan. There was a greater God plan in the works.

Jackie was our first (and last) foster dog assignment. When we picked up Jackie from Jack Russell Rescue she was 12 years old. She had had only one owner in her life and that owner had recently died. Because of her owner's death she was taken to the humane society and from there was rescued by Jack Russell Rescue. Jackie looked and acted like a very old dog. Jackie could hardly walk. She couldn't climb steps. She had cataracts. She didn't have much of an appetite. She had visible tumors. I remember my husband looking at Jackie and then looking at me and asking, "Who exactly is going to be adopting this dog?" It turned out that we were the ones. That was God's plan.

Additionally, when we picked up Jackie and placed her in the back seat of our jeep, I got close to her. I got right up to her face, and reassured her that she had a permanent home with us and she had no more worries of not being cared for and loved. It wasn't smart on my part to invade her space especially during a time when sweet Jackie didn't know what was going on. Jackie proceeded to bite my nose.

As the days turned into weeks, we fell in love with Jackie and she fell in love with our family. She especially adored being with Benny and Riot. You could see in her eyes the happiness of having buddies. In the morning, when the 3 JRT's ran down the steps to go outside, Jackie was thrilled to be part of the charge of the light brigade. She adored romping with them in the backyard. Because of her being with our JRT's, Jackie got a bounce in her step. She bounded up and down the steps with ease and fully regained a hearty appetite. She got a new lease on life.

I told Jackie that prior to us I knew she had had one owner her entire life and probably missed this man terribly. The man had to have been very special because he loved JRT's like us. This man had gotten Jackie as a puppy. He kept excellent care of Jackie and I had been given a thorough file of all her regular vet visits. So I knew he loved her dearly and that they were super close to each other. He had died suddenly. It was my hope that in heaven he was comforted in knowing that in fulfilling God's plan, the angels had brought Jackie into our home to be loved and that we were striving to be as wonderful a guardian to Jackie as he had been. I told her that this man was welcomed in our house if ever he wanted to come visit and be with her spiritually.

Jackie blessed our family for four years. Just before Christmas, Jackie became seriously ill and my dear vet attempted to prepare me for the worst. I identified with the scene in Marley and Me, where John responds to his vet's telling him the worst scenerio. Instead of the worst, I was given a miracle. I considered it my Christmas present. With the help of meds, tlc, and my personally feeding her deli roast beef, Jackie fully recovered.

She would be her happy, zany Jackie self for another six months. I never stopped thanking God for the extra time I had been given with Jackie. In some way, I knew Jackie was on borrowed time. And then in June cancer caused major complications. Jackie did not to want to eat any more. we, of course, took her to the vet to see what could be done to heal our precious Jackie.

I remember having a knowingness that there would be no miracle this time and feeling the deep pain in my heart in having to accept this reality. Her sweet little body was becoming weaker. I felt like less and less of Jackie was here with us, and more of her was already heavenbound .

We knew she was looking to us to be loving guardians and do what was right in order for her not to suffer. Just like John and Marley, we held our precious Jackie in our arms as she closed her eyes to earth and opened them in heaven. I know the angels were there with all of us as Jackie was lovingly taken into heaven to be rejoined with her previous owner.

I was an emotional mess after Jackie's death. I repeatedly said to Jackie in heaven, "I know you are with your longtime owner, but if you ever want to float down from heaven and have a romp around the house, please know that I would love it. I miss you terribly."

I lead meditation groups in my home and one particular evening as I was concluding a meditation and the group members were still in a peaceful energy space, I opened my eyes to the room and there in the middle of the room was Jackie. She was so real that I reached to hug her. And then I realized that she was there in spirit. My heart leaped with joy. Glorious healing joy radiated through my entire being.

I am someone who truly believes that the God loves us in merciful and miraculous ways. I am so thankful to God for giving me that vision of Jackie. How did it happen? It was just God being God.

There's so much to thank God for in our lives. I am especially thankful for dogs who are truly angels with fur.

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