Friday, March 11, 2016

Faithful companionship

My heart was heavy as I left the plush garden island of Kauai to come home. In the land of brown and sticks again, I was relieved to see the snow had melted and the temperatures were unseasonably warm. I hurried home with one thing on my mind.

My little dog Nikki had been sick when I'd left and had only gotten worse, despite more medical interventions. I prayed for her quick recovery, but my daughter reported the poor thing was still struggling to breathe. Then I prayed she'd last until I came home so I could hold her once more. 

Anyone who has loved a dog knows about the difficult decision we were facing. Is she going to recover or am I only prolonging her suffering? But she was 15... by any standard, a good life for a dog. She had been my faithful companion for all these years, as the kids were growing, leaving the house one by one, then as the grandkids were born and the family was becoming larger at each gathering.

Then when Ted passed away, she was my 8-pound sidekick through the loneliest of times, making sure I always had companionship and unconditional love. Whether I was gone all day or only a few minutes, she delivered her happy greeting with the same attentiveness and energy.

Now I was walking around the backyard with her in my arms, telling her how much I appreciated all our times together. I told her she would be going to a special place where she could run and play again, unencumbered by illness. I suggested she find Ted if she could, and that he would certainly relate to the stress of not being able to breathe. 

My tears were falling on her and she sighed some sweet sighs in response. I heard a cardinal singing, "pretty, pretty, pretty." I looked around but could not locate it at first.

Again I heard, "pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty..." I looked up and saw a male cardinal sitting in the tree above, looking down directly on us. It reminded me of how some people say a sighting of a cardinal signifies the presence of a lost loved one. 

I imagined it might be Ted saying, "Sweetheart, let her go. I'll look after her now. She'll be in good hands."

* * *

Nikki has crossed the bridge to a new life, whatever that may be. We are missing her sweet presence but holding onto some dear memories.

P.S. It's more than mere coincidence that I'd been reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn for several months and just recently came upon page 395 discussing whether or not we will see animals in Heaven. Alcorn believes we will:

"Adam, Noah, and Jesus are the three heads of the three Earths. When Adam was created, God surrounded him with animals. When Noah was delivered from the flood, God surrounded him with animals. When Jesus was born, God surrounded him with animals. When Jesus establishes the renewed Earth, with renewed men and women, don't you think he'll surround himself with renewed animals?"

Thank you, God, for all the years we've had Nikki to love. Thank you, especially, that she was my companion these last years without Ted.

Cardinal photo by Mitch Stimpson. Used with permission.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Marilyn I know how hard it is to let little Nikki go. I will pray for you, but like Acorn I believe she is in a better a place running with no pain and looking for Ted.