If you’ve loved and lost a dog and are feeling the pangs of hurt a bit extra hard this time of year, I walk this road with you. Every now and again, though, I believe the dogs we have loved and lost send us a message from the Rainbow Bridge.
Recently, I received a message from my beloved Brandy Noel, who passed away October 11, 2008. Some may call it coincidence, others may deem it wishful thinking, but in my heart and to the deepest core of who I am, I believe it to be true.
This past holiday season, I launched a dog advent calendar on my dog blog, Fidose of Reality, with a twist. Instead of turning over a page to count down the days until Christmas, we featured a new dog in need every day during the Advent Countdown. Readers were asked to donate $10 — even if one person took the time to donate $10 on any given day, at the end of the Advent Countdown, dogs in need received $240 (an amount I am happy to report we exceeded). The $10 amount could go toward a bag of food, contribute to a much-needed surgery, or provide a bag of treats.
As it turns out, $10 also had a way of working a message from the rainbow Bridge into the heart of a grieving dog mom.
On Dec. 24, I featured Brandy Noel as the final $10 Dog of the Day, and I asked that anyone who had loved and lost a dog to donate in their dog’s memory.
Before I go on, let me explain something. I view my grief as luggage. Some days it’s the size of a cosmetics bag while others it’s as big as a full suitcase. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a carousel in the airport waiting for the form my grief will take. Do I wait days or weeks before I tear up and ache so very much, or is today a carry-on kind of day where I just take it with me? In any event, I know my luggage always arrives and never gets lost. I’ve learned losing a loved one means gaining a new identity: Victim of grief, survivor of hurt, and eventually carrier of pain.
Do you ever wonder whether somehow a deceased loved one can see you, hear you, or give you a message they are okay? Regardless of one’s religious or spiritual beliefs, someday we all will reunite with our deceased loved ones. For some, heaven is a place; for others, life ends with death. If you think about it, though, you someday will “be” where your love ones are, and in that same state of being or the lack thereof. Call that “state” or “place” what you wish, or deny that one exists. For myself, I received a message from the Bridge.
Back to my story. On Saturday, Dec. 29, I was telling a family member how I wish Brandy Noel could let me know she is happy with what I am doing, that she is okay and she knows how much I miss her.
And then it arrived. A little piece of heaven.
A $10 bill in an origami form arrived in the mail from a PR agency. “What would $10 buy you today,” the postcard beckoned. “To someone in need, this $10 can mean a hot meal, a blanket, or a ride home.”
Ten dollars. Remember, my final $10 Dog of the Day was Brandy Noel. I asked for a message and wondered whether she was okay and proud of her mama and all I am doing in the name of dog. Ten dollars, and I felt so very rich. My little girl spoke to me and crossed heaven and earth to do so.
Am I inferring? Maybe. Is this wishful thinking for a vulnerable broken heart? Perhaps. Highly coincidental? Indeed. Does my heart beat dog? Without a doubt.
Do I believe Brandy Noel sent me a $10 origami bird as a message loud and clear from the Bridge? You bet your bottom dollar I do.
So now Citizen Relations, the company who sent me the $10, asks what I will do with this money. I immediately knew: Paw it forward. My friend, June Myers, lost her Cocker Spaniel, Ziggy, much too soon this year, at the age of 10. In Ziggy’s name, and so he can feel the love and another dog can be helped, I’ll add to the $10 and make a donation in Ziggy’s name to Moore Pawsabilities in Oklahoma City.
As I close out 2012 and look to 2013, I carry my little girl and her message with me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crying through these keystrokes. I will, however, know that miracles do happen, and sometimes they come to us in the most unique forms possible. It’s up to us to open our eyes, believe deeply, and embrace them.
As we close a year out, paw it forward. Take $10 or 10 minutes of your time and do something, no matter how small it seems to someone. It will make a difference. Be well, be positive, and be happy.