There are not many dogs I meet at the top of the stairs leading from the Bridge who arrive wearing a hood so they can’t be seen, but Barnum did that, and like so many things Barnum did, he did it for others. He did not think that the Tommy had received adequate mourning time and he did not want his friends to know he had arrived. The swear in ceremony was done in secret.
“Foley, can I hide in your place for a few days so no one knows I’m here?” Barnum asked me.
“We could, or we could go to some place real fun,” I said. And then we flew high up in the air to the Tunes’ Mansion.
Tommy opened the door and hugged Barnum and welcomed him. Tupper, Max, Raider, Willie, and so many friends came over to him, licking and biting him. He was overwhelmed at all the friends who were with him. Tommy then ordered the TV remote changed saw Barnum could see his Mom.
We all gathered around Barnum. Tears came to his eyes when he saw his brother Bailey. The two of them could only be separated by one thing and sadly they were experiencing it. On the television Bailey sat with his Mom, both staring out the window, thinking of the dog who was sadly watching them from Tommy’s couch.
Another beagle came running over when he saw Barnum’s Mom on the TV. It was Chauncey, Barnum’s sibling who had been with us at the Bridge for years. We left them alone as they watched their Mom. She was telling Bailey how worried she was that Barnum would be alone at the Bridge.
“Oh Mom,” Barnum said looking around at the dozen of friends that were gathered around him. Tommy handed him a hot dog from the grill and he scoffed it down. “If only you could see me and my wonderful friends, you would know that I am not the one alone, I am the one who left you and Bailey alone, and for that I am sorry.”
I hopped up next to him (hopping up is much easier when you have wings.) I told him that we could visit his Mom and Bailey in their dreams. Bailey would remember, but his Mom wouldn’t, which wasn’t fair but is one of the Big Guy’s rules. When you’re an angel, and you visit your Mom in her dreams, even if your mom can’t remember your visit, she will feel a little better about her day.
That night we did go visit. His Mom could barely remember his presence the next morning, but Bailey knew his brother was with friends, and he could stop worrying about Barnum being alone and start taking care of his Mom.
After the dream visit I brought Barnum up to his cloud and we discussed both having met Pokey and what a wonderful gentleman he was, and how much he enjoyed meeting my wonderful parents and even Pocket and River. He told me all about all the dogs who gathered at Miss Laura’s house last year. I was very jealous. I missed it by just a few months.
But I knew Barnum had been touched by my Mom because he had just the smallest bit of her scent. That made me feel so good. I think he thought it was strange I spent so much time sniffing him but when you are at the Bridge a scent of Mom is a rare and treasured gift.
As I was leaving Barnum’s house on his cloud more and more of his friends were pouring into the house and I smiled because I knew a dog with as many friends as Barnum would never be lonely at the Bridge.