I have had so many prayers to deal with lately. Not that I am complaining. It is a honor to be the one to convey my friends’ prayers to the Big Guy. But I am getting confused. . I have prayers and notes scattered everywhere.
I was trying to get them sorted when I noticed Shakira looking over me. “Hi Shakira,” I said. “You know I can never keep my prayers straight.” Then I stopped and looked up. “Shakira!” I yelled. I began to look through my prayers and could not find her name. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Rule number two Foley,” a deep voice said. I turned and saw one of my oldest friends, and a senior member of the Bridge Council, Shakira’s brother Angel Apollo, standing on a hill over us. He ran down towards his sister. Instead of running and playing together they just put their heads and paws next to one another and took comfort in the texture of their fur and familiar, long lost smell.
Rule number two was never ask a pup what they were doing at The Bridge because the answer was always the same. I was never good at following the rules. When Apollo and Shakira were done with their reunion I inquired again why I did not have more prayers and Shakira told me that Angel Apollo was handling her’s personally but, while she was sick, no one thought she was ready to cross the River of Life.
Five months ago Shakira was diagnosed with an ugly cancer. Her doctor was confident that a drug known as Palladia would shrink the cancer cells and could even cure the cancer. Sharkia and Apollo’s Mom was hoping that the drug would give Shakira more time on the mortal side of life.
Everything was going great. Shakira went from being a lethargic girl to the energenic one she had been her whole life. She had some hair loss but it was an easy trade to be able to run like the wind again.
But all drugs have side effects which no one pays attention to because they hardly ever happen. Hardly…...With Shakira they happened. The drugs caused her kidneys to shut down. Once that happened Shakira’s Mom had no choice but to make the most difficult decision. Shakira told us how grateful she was that her Mom made that decison and put her out of pain.
But I was still baffled about why the medicine did not work. “Why would the Big Guy create a medicine to cure you and not have it work?” I asked.
Apollo grumbled about rule #3: Never question the motives of The Big Guy.
“Well I think it sucks,” I said just to ruffle Apollo’s fur and make him remind me of rule #7. Instead my old friend just sadly nodded.
Some dogs like to pick out a replacement either just before they cross the River of Life, or shortly afterwards but Shakira and Apollo don’t do anything small. They didn’t pick out a pup, they picked out a whole pack.
Their Mom is one of the most wonderful dog rescuers we know. Just before Shakira got called to the Bridge an unwed homeless Mother was taken in as a foster pup by Shakira’s Mom. The Mom had her litter and Shakira’s mom sorrow has been softened by having a Lollipop and little pups running around her house dependent on her. It was the perfect diversion to Shakira’s loss.
We went to Tommy’s house to watch over Shakira’s Mom and the pups to make sure they were safe. Apollo has been a wonderful angel to her but with Shakira watching over her other shoulder she will be doubly blessed. Then Apollo told Shakira there was something she had to see.
We went up and down several hills and then Shakira saw it and ran towards it. Her old weeping willow that was in her yard until it got sick and had to be taken down this year stood proudly swinging in the breeze. Shakira ran and curled underneath it. Apollo followed her and the lay down wrapped around Shakira and they fell asleep with one another under the willow tree just as they had years before.
(When I finished writing this blog I got a page for another swearing in. I went to my post and I saw Benjamin. I was stunned. I crouched down, grabbed his legs, and began to sob.
“That breaks rule number 9,” a familiar voice said. I turned to tell Apollo I didn’t care about the rules. I looked up and realized it was Benjamin who was speaking.
“No more rule breaking,” he said “There’s a new Sheriff in town.”
I looked up and saw the stars from the beautiful sky twinkle off his badge.
TO BE CONTINUED…..)