It’s a resurrection story of sorts.
As many who read this column know, I lost my beloved friend of 16 years, my Velcro dog Igor, who was constantly by my side — through good times and bad.
She (yes, she) knew my moods and she acted accordingly to just be the best friend she could be.
I truly believe that dogs are one of God’s greatest gifts to us, and I don’t know how else to say this without sounding almost callous, but losing her was the most heart-wrenching loss I have ever experienced. I lost a infant son, and both my parents, and believe me, those were very painful losses. But I have been able to absorb the pain and loss while never losing my love for them.
But, for some reason I cannot explain or maybe even defend, I cannot get over the loss of Iggy, and it’s been nearly four years.
My wife and other people have told me I should get another dog. As much as I love dogs, I can’t get another. I do not want to go through that loss ever again. And I know I would become attached to another, only to eventually have to say good-bye again. So, I will not get one.
I know so many of you, some of you personally, who have experienced the gut-wrenching loss of a family member or friend. I also know that some of you have had “visits” from that person — whether in the form of a sign, a dream or some experience of feeling their presence and their love. I do believe that God sends such “visits” to comfort and give us courage.
That leads me to my wonderful encounter last week that came out of the blue.
I went for my daily walk, and I hadn’t gone more than a couple of hundred yards when a beautiful ghost-like white pooch came out of nowhere and started barking at me. I kept walking, but she, being loose, ran from yard to yard barking at me.
I know it’s not the wisest thing to stop and encounter a stray dog, but she was different, and she had a collar. I stopped and bent down. Immediately she bowed down on her front legs. I reached out my hand and she inched forward to me, apprehensive, but curious. She backed off, then advanced to me. I rubbed her neck and without my asking, she gave me her paw. My heart melted.
I stood up and she jumped up to me with her paws reaching both my shoulders — tail flailing happily the whole time. Again I gave her a neck massage and she dug it, much like Iggy did.
I wanted to get on with my walk, but I didn’t want her to follow me and get lost, if she wasn’t already. I didn’t want her to be hit by a car. Somehow, she got distracted. I continued on but kept looking back to be sure she wasn’t on my tail, so to speak.
As I walked onto another street, I was comforted and felt it was a visit from Iggy.
When I came back a half-hour later, she was no where to be found. A neighbor called Animal Control and they searched, but came up empty. I hoped she was OK.
Later I relayed the story to Emilie and the first thing she said to me was, “It was Iggy.” It brought tears to my eyes that she saw it, too.
Like I said earlier, a resurrection of sorts.
It turns out the beautiful white dog in fact lives a block from me. I met her again with her young owner. I was relieved to know she was safe.
I rubbed the scruff of her neck, but I didn’t have the same feeling. It was still nice to see her again, but she wasn’t Iggy this time — but she was in our first encounter, and I thank God for that.
Happy Easter to all, and I hope you get a special God-sent “visit” this blessed season.