I gave the angel oath to what I hope will be my last angel of 2018 a few days before Christmas. His name, Duffus, was familiar to me, but so many names are. During a clear night, I went to Hobo’s landing and saw the new angel crossing the bridge. Your first night at Rainbow Bridge is like your first night at college. You're on your own scared, excited for the new adventures ahead of you, and missing your parents.
When the new angel drew closer the faint bells of recognition rang somewhere far away. It wasn't until he was in front of me and I got a good look at his face that I realized I knew him. "Duffus," I said in recognition.
He recoiled, like a recruit who expected to be hazed by his training officer. I recognized the anxious, fearful look. It was Pocket's default face. "No," I said, gently touching his paw. "Your mom named you Duffus. It is here on my paperwork." I showed it to him. Relief spread across his muzzle.
"Do you remember me?" I asked. "Foley Monster, from Doggyspace."
"Yes," he said, as his tail began to wag. "Of course, it's been so long. I am happy I know someone here."
"You know more dogs than just me. Tommy Tunes is here, Hattie Mae, McDougal, and many more. There is also a real Doggyspace village where we all live near one another and keep each other company."
"That's great," Duffus said, then he furrowed his brow. "Oh no, all those parents I came to know and love. They must all be heartbroken."
"They were, and some still are. Parents always carry the pain of our loss. You can help ease your parent's burden by finding a new dog and training him to act the way your parents want. If your parents decide they want a pup you can slip into their dreams and tell them where to find the one you picked. If not, you'll learn how to ease your parents' burden in other ways.”
Duffus looked eager to learn these lessons. "I am so happy to have found you and my other friends here. I was sure I would be lonely. I just wish, when we were mortals, we could have kept in touch. “
"It's that darn Facebook," I responded. “Our parents went there because the site was supposed to bring folks together, but it drives them apart. Whether you have 50 friends or 5,000, you see the same people's posts every day. If you are friends with someone but miss a few of their posts, you have to search to find them or miss what is happening with your friends. They become like driftwood floating away from the shore. It's not like the old Doggyspace where you saw everyone’s posts. Those were good times” Duffus nodded.
Then we turned and began to walk towards Doggyspace village where Duffus would renew friendships with hundreds of friends.
I took one look back at the Bridge. I hoped it would be the last time I saw it this year. Then I prayed that the next year would be a damn sight better than the last one with not as many friends crossing the Bridge.