It was a lovely Friday afternoon at Rainbow Bridge. We were making plans for parades and barbeques to honor us because we are the ones recognized on Memorial Day. Suddenly the skies filled with clouds. Teardrops began dropping from them. I ran over and tasted a puddle of tears: They were my nom’s, mixed with many others.
My heart sunk to my paws. I ran down to the River to look in the water where I could see my Mom on the mortal side below the surface. She was reading her computer. I scanned the words. “Leo….sick….diagnosis….leukemia.”
Leo? Leukemia? Leo? Who visited me in my dreams while I lay in my oxygen tent during my last mortal hours so I would not be scared? Leo? Who, with his mom;s help, sends Pocket and River presents from me so they know they I know I will never forget them? Leo? Who had the wedding of the century with Hattie Mae? Leo? Who along with Lou ee has the best co-birthday parties? Leo? My brother from other parents? Leo? Muse to his Mom’s many beautiful paintings? Leo? Strong, kind, resilient, courageous, emphatic Leo? Leukemia?
“No!” I barked. And I heard many other angels barking the same word. “No,” as if barking the word could make it not true. It was a devastating truth. And it was a slow truth.
A slow truth is a fact that takes a long time for the mind to accept. Like a dull nail being forced into hard wood with a thin hammer. Whack, whack, whack until slowly it is accepted. Leo is sick. Leo has Leukemia.
I had to see Leo.
I checked on him and saw him napping next to his Mom. I popped into his dream.
He was curled up with his Mom but he and I were the only ones who could move. That’s what it is like inside a dream. He looked up. “Foley,” he said. He jumped down and gave me a hug. I admit I left many tears on his Chow fur. “What is wrong?” he asked wiping my tears.
“You,” I said. “You’re sick.”
“Oh Foley,” he said, giving me another big hug. “Don’t worry about me. I was sick earlier but I am feeling more like myself now.”
“But I read you have Leukemia.”
“Yes,” he said softly. “I guess I do. My parents are very upset about that. You have to promise me you will watch over her.”
“Of course,” I said. “But what about you?”
“I am going to have tests, and I am going to have treatments, and I am going to have good days, and I am going to have some tough days, but I won’t have any bad days, not as long as I am with my parents. And I am going to fight with everything I have to stay with them as long as I can. I can put up with anything as long as I can feel their warm hands touching my head and running my ears. If it ever becomes too much for me, and I am going to try to keep that day at bay for many more years, I will come to the wall, and I will knock four times, and you will let me in, agreed?”
I was crying again. All I could do was nod. He hugged me again. “I need you to go now Foley, I have a lot of angels who are lined up to visit. I am blessed Foley. I have the best parents and the most wonderful friends. Don’t worry about me. Just don’t forget my parents.”
“Never,” I promised. Before leaving I made a dream date visit for me, him, and Hattie in Paris Sunday night. I am going to need to go to the groomers.
I opened my eyes. I was back on the river bank. And I knew what I needed to do.
As I lay dying Leo was with me. He didn’t ask questions, he let there be silence. He was strong, supportive, and understanding. He was the epitome of what a dog should be.
While I believe, and pray to be true, that Leo is a long way from the day where he will knock four time on the Bridge wall, I will, during his illness, become Leo: I will be strong, supportive, understanding, and there for him and his family every single day, as he was for me.
If you want to help Leo then sit your sights on the highest bar: To be like Leo. If you do clear that bar and become like Leo then Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a dog, my pup!
Just like Leo.