Like our humans, we dogs are guilty of checking out Facebook when we should be working. I like to see dogs and their parents doing mundane activities: A walk, a car trip, snuggle time. It reminds me of better days when my humans and I undertook similar endeavors.
One of my favorite profiles is as on Momma Teresa’s and Gordo’s page. No matter what they did together, even if it was sitting around the house, they did so happily. The pictures were proof of the joy the duo felt just being together.
One day last week Momma Teresita awoke planning to have another fun-filled day with her heart dog. She found that Gordo was breathing heavily and his stomach and legs were swollen. She took him to the vet who said Gordo was suffering from congestive heart failure. There were treatments, but it was doubtful Gordo would improve. HIs mom asked him if he wanted to go to the Bridge and he put his head on her knee. Momma Teresita knew their song together was ending.
Like a giant maple tree that is uprooted by a sudden storm and abruptly transformed from a glorious living creature to an empty spot in the sky Momma Teresita’s and Gordo’s time together had come to an abrupt end leaving both mom and dog existing like shell shocked soldiers desperately trying to find their way back to friendly lines.
For Momma Teresita, every dawn brings another reminder of her loss. There is food dropped on the floor with no one to eat it; treats found in a coat pocket with no one to reward — little gut punches of pain and memory that rise up every day.
Gordo followed the usual path a new angel takes: From the water to the shore to the Bridge to the stairs and finally into the immortal world, and also from confusion to disbelief, to sadness then determination.
I saw Godro climb from the River of Life. He shook off the water, looked around, and began to cross the Bridge. He stopped, considering going back, but the Langoliers had eaten everything behind him forcing him forward.
Many cultures and religions have symbols of death. In the dog world, it’s me. When Gordo saw me with my black book, he sadly nodded. “What happened?” he asked with a tear in his eye.
Often dogs, like Gordo, who were suddenly snatched from the mortal side don’t have memories of their passing. I reminded him about his last hours with his mom. “This is wrong, I don’t belong here, you have to let me go back to momma!” Gordo cried.
I told him that, sadly he did belong here. Time comes for all of us and this time it has come for him.
“No,” Gordo insisted. “My momma will be lost without me. I can’t let her live brokenhearted. There is no one there to clean her floor or eat her biscuits.”
“Yes, she can,” I told him. “It will be hard but every angel has a mommy who went down grief’s dark, lonely road and they will help your mommy find her way out. She is a strong lady. And we are going to teach you lots of tricks so you can help her.”
“You promise you will teach me how to make mommy better?” Gordo asked.
I assured him. “Maybe you will help your mom find a new dog to fill that horrible hole she has in her chest from when she gave you her heart.”
“I think, after a time, she would like that, ” Gordo said thoughtfully. “I am going to start looking tomorrow. It is going to take a lot of searching to find a dog who is worthy of my mom. The pup also has to be worthy of my biscuits.”
Gordo and I walked towards the Doggyspace village where he would find a home specially built for him. From there he could watch over his mom and plan his dream visits. He wasn’t happy, nor was he sad. He was accepting, and determined, which is the best we can hope for on a dog’s first night at the Bridge
Perhaps happiness will come tomorrow. Sometimes happiness is something out of focus that we can’t see or a smell that we can’t quite place. It is nearby, but elusive. I hope Gordo finds it someday.
Then he can tell me where it is.