Sunday, December 11, 2005

Angels

Mom came up to spend the weekend, and got me out of the house and out in the sunshine. I think we must have walked twenty miles today, window-shopping in town, running a dozen or so errands, and just hanging together. May I have half the energy she does if I make it to 70.

We took my daughter to our favorite bakery in town so we could have some pastries and tea. We went outside to sit for a few minutes, and met a young couple out walking their two beautiful Shelties, a golden-brown and white sable and a very light blue merle. The little blue merle was almost identical in size, shape and personality to Missy, the Sheltie we lost to cancer two years ago. The only difference between them is that Missy was a tri-color (you can see the color differences here.) The dogs were very well-behaved, but most Shelties are angels that way.

The couple told us the dogs' names were Jessie and Skye, and asked my daughter if she would watch them while they went into the bakery. I thought my kid would burst into song, she was so delighted to be asked.

I was not so thrilled. I haven't gone near a Sheltie since Missy died, and I haven't wanted to. I was bracing myself to go and look at some new pups after the first of the year (the breeders we've contacted who have new puppies don't have any old enough to come home with us for Christmas.) Add to that my depression over Frank's death, and I thought I might start wailing right there. Then Skye, the little blue merle, came to sit at my feet, just the way Missy used to when she wanted a scratch behind the ears.

Here was this beautiful animal, the color of cookies and cream, staring up at me with that hopeful expression I have seen a hundred thousand times since Missy came into my life. He wasn't my Missy, but he didn't know that I loved another dog who resembled him. It didn't matter that in ten minutes he and his owners would move on, or that he'd likely never see me again. He just wanted some love and attention, and I looked like an okay human to him.

I petted Skye, and gave him a good scratch behind both ears, and talked to him, and watched the joy light up his eyes. Ten minutes later we were both headed in different directions, probably never to meet again.

But that was okay, too. That is life. I just needed to be reminded of it.

9 comments:

  1. I believe things happen for a reason (rarely do I understand those reasons--so, no, I can't figure out the reason for Frank and Gretchen's deaths), but I can believe Skye knew you needed some comforting--and maybe your daughter needed the honor of that brief responsibility from a complete stranger.

    I'm glad you had a good time with your mom. One of my grandmother's is like that. She's nearly 90 and stopped driving this year, but she hasn't slowed down much. She says the secret is to make younger friends.

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  2. Your post made me teary. :( I had a little tri sheltie named Diego a while back--smartest, sweetest dog I've ever had, and I miss him terribly. I can just picture those little ones who comforted you.

    I'm glad you got that few minutes of peace with them, and I'm glad you had a nice time with your mom and daughter. :)

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  3. To twist a line from Dean Koontz, animals know things.

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  4. I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time at the time of the year when we should be so joyous.

    It sometimes drives people crazy when I say it, but everything happens for a reason. Most of those answers, we won't find out till we get to the other side.

    I'm just praying that you find peace in the sadness that you've experienced.

    God Bless You!

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  5. I also think that Skye knew that you needed the comfort that comes in petting a sweet dog. Hugs to you at this difficult time. Glad that you enjoyed a good day with your mother and daughter.

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  6. That's just lovely. Thanks.

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  7. I had a sheltie named Missy who died a few years ago, too. Every time you write something about your Missy it touches a part of me that still misses mine.
    Life goes on, but there will always be that special look in a dog's eyes.

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  8. Bridget, indeed, animals know things.

    There's a family in the appartment house where my parents live, a young couple with a 3 year old daughter and a smallish dog of dubious ancestry. Laska is an affectionate dog and always in for some petting when he meets my parents. But when in September, the family came to say their usual goodbye because they wanted to visit relatives in Poland, Laska didn't want to leave my mother. He jumped onto her lap, didn't want to leave when the woman called him, came back several times for another round of pettings, - it was a most unusual behaviour.

    A few days later my mother had the fatal accident that led to her death a month later.

    I can't help, but what my father and Laska's family told me, the dog must have sensed that it was a final farewell.

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  9. Anonymous10:13 PM

    Did you ever get another sheltie? I still miss Duncan, a beautiful tricolour, who died in 1993. Other shelties have been in my life, (and a golden retreiver), and I loved them all, but thinking of Duncan still brings bitter/sweet memories.

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