Hazel is a giant in the dog world. She is a champion athlete who has won scores of ribbons for agility, and a faithful blogger who provides her friends with thousands of laughs, emotional support, a furry shoulder to cry on, and powerful prayers when one of her readers take Ill or passes over.
But most of all Hazel was the perfect family dog and pack leader. There has been a lot of tragedy at the Ranch in the past. After the loss of little Greta who passed over much too young and her brother Bailey who arrived here last year, It was Hazel, the heart of the ranch, who helped both humans and dogs through the long road of grief. She guided them into the sunshine.
Everyone on the Ranch knew Hazel would get her family through anything. But what would happen when this sweet girl's song ended, and the family was left alone?
Hazel celebrated her 14th birthday last year. Her body and heart were beginning to fade, but her spirit was strong. But Even the most strong spirit cannot stave off passing over once the heartbeats start to expire. As the first signs of spring appeared at the Ranch Hazel's time with her family was dwindling. Her heart beats lessened. What should have been pumped away was not. Last week, during a spot of diarrhea the doctor checked Hazel. Her poor heart was swimming in fluid. A few days later, while Hazel was in her dad's arms and her mom held her paw they took away all her pain and sent her on her journey.
She floated through the air until she came to a stream which carried her to the River of Life. A wave scooped her up and deposited her at the base of Rainbow Bridge. Having visited her angel siblings Greta and Bailey many times before she knew where to go.
She ran up Hattie's steps, ascended Smoochys cliff and stopped at Hobo's landing where I administered the Angel oath. Then Bailey and Greta hugged her and gave her 1000 kisses. The three of them began playing together as we prepared her welcoming feast. The hundreds of dogs who had preceded her to the Bridge and whose life she had touched attended. We all told our favorite Hazel stories, ate plates of Bison and toasted her. It was a pug wake which is like an Irish Wake, but the guest of honor can bark back.
Bailey and Greta showed Hazel the ranch where they lived. She was given a tour of the birds and pretty insects closet where the bodies of the winged creatures they dress as when they visit their parents were kept. The largest room had been kept vacant for her. There were framed pictures of her and her parents on the table tops and her championship ribbons on the wall. Hazel gave her brother and sister a kiss of gratitude.
That night Bailey, Greta, and Hazel went, for the first time together, into their parents’ dreams and to the visit their surviving sister Mabel. I waited in their back yard, sitting in a lounge chair, overlooking the River, and sipping my Foleytini.
When they returned, Hazel joined me. I passed her a big cigar because there is something funny about a pug smoking a cigar.
We sat quietly until she asked me when the pain of missing her parents and watching them suffer, would pass.
I put my paw on her leg. “It’s been almost five years for me. I’ll let you know when I get there. But until then we will keep doing what we can for our parents, and trying to make each other happy.”
Hazel lifted her glass and clinked it against mine and then we looked out across the river to where the lights from our parent's houses twinkled in the distance.