“God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.”---Billy Graham
When I was a child, my uncle Albert seemed to me to be a very serious guy, scary and unapproachable. We were taught to respect him, old school style. As an adult, Albert was to me more of a father figure after my own dad passed away and I no longer feared him. He gave good advice, was concerned when I struggled and happy with my successes and I no longer felt forced to respect him, it was genuine. I remember warmly how I felt the first time I realized Albert was proud of me. I was working for a Tour company and driving charter buses around the Wine Country in Napa and Sonoma. I had driven a mini bus full of tourists to Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen and had parked the bus in the back of the parking lot facing the main trailhead while I waited for the tourists to finish their visit. There I sat on a bus parked in the shade surrounded by the beauty of oak trees and birds singing. I can think of a lot worse places to be.
As I sat looking around, I glanced up the trail when I saw a lone hiker coming down. He was stepping lively at a steady pace with a strong stride and a big white shepherd dog trotted happily along beside him. There was something familiar about the pair. A second look confirmed that indeed I knew that hiker, it was my Uncle Albert and his ever faithful dog, Butch. When I shouted, “Hello, Albert,” his head spun but he offered no response. At first it seemed he was gonna walk away as he turned to towards his car, so I repeated a little louder, "Albert, hello!" This time he stopped and turned. When recognition crossed his face he seemed both surprised and a little embarrassed. "Why are you here?"He chuckled and probably was trying to understand what was I doing in a parking lot at Jack London State Historic Park wearing a black suit. I explained I was actually at work, this was the uniform, then I proudly gave him a "tour"of the bus. He was so amused that I was getting paid to sit in a State Park all afternoon enjoying the fresh air and view. He was impressed that I drove such a big bus. I informed him that this wasn’t even the biggest one and then he was really impressed.
Albert recently passed away at the age of 93yrs but not before he lived a full life with lots of love and family and many, many dogs. Albert just wasn't complete without a dog in his life, he never let much time pass in between dogs, tho he grieved, he knew the best way to ease the pain was with the support of what else but another dog. We probably all can relate.
A friend recently said good bye to her dog she had had for 14yrs and was afraid to share the news a week later that she had already gotten a new pup. She was worried she wasn't ready, and also worried others would judge her harshly if they maybe felt differently like there was some kinda expected mourning period following the loss of a dog. I don't believe there is, each situation is as different from the next, each dog is different, each person is different.
Often we have more than one dog when we loose one so it isn't even thought of. Getting a new dog doesn't mean we are replacing the one before, that just simply can't be done. Wanting to fill an empty space in our hearts isn't what is happening either, we all know that hole can never to taken away. But to sentence yourself to the absence of the love of a dog for any length of time seems like cruel and unusual punishment. To be open to the possibility to build a true and unique bond when opportunity presents itself is what we all do. And knowing we will be united spiritually with all those we have loved and who have loved us when we pass this realm is for me a great comfort. Hold onto the memories and remember with unique feelings each dog you have had the fortune of knowing. Those memories are the path that will lead you back to them from here to the by and by.
I know that my uncle Albert has all his dogs by his side. I can see him walking now, in spirit and forever young, up the trails thru the always blooming flowers and down the beaches where the sun is always shining.