We are joining Rosy this week for Nature Friday~~
We don't have any nature outside, but for some reason there is a tree taking up space in our living room. My parents say it is going away this week. The worst part is, I don't think it is real.
Every night when we go to bed, no matter what has happened, for good or bad, Daddy says that any day that ends with all of us in bed together, safe and healthy, was a good day.
I thought that would always be true. Then in August, Pocket went to the Bridge, and there were only three of us. But, Daddy said the same thing, any day that ends with us in bed together is good, even if we the souls on the big mattress.
I am thankful for the big mattress, where we retreat every night and know we are safe. It has been a tough year, with lots of loss and fears. But, tomorrow night, I will climb into bed with my parents and know that it has been a very good year because we are all there.
There are many things that there should be a law against the law, and one of them is being sent to the Bridge less than a week before Christmas. Everything gets magnified during the holiday season, probably because of the momentous event that spurned it. That includes grief.
If there were a week without new souls passing over, it would be nice for the angels too. We could enjoy the holidays and do some much-needed maintenance here. But the Earth doesn't stop spinning; time marches on, leaving perished loved ones in its wake.
I always feel terrible when I get a text that I have to swear in a friend, but, six days before Christmas, when I learned my old friend Buddy McGregor was crossing over, I could only think of his poor parents and the sadness that would tinge the most joyful day of the years.
Buddy McGregor slipped away from his mortal coil at home, surrounded by his parents and brother Trip. One minute he was there, the next he was gone: It often happens like that. It was a terrible shock to his parents, so much so that they didn't tell anyone. Sometimes, things aren't valid until you speak of them.
Buddy passed over quietly. His family who preceded him to the Bridge: Bonnie, Clyde, McGyver, and a few more of his family's angels greeted him. His parents weren't ready to share news of his passing. Sometimes, it is better to deal with the initial shock before announcing a passing and comforting the friends and family shocked by the loss.
Keeping his passing quiet was difficult because the stars were brighter with him as an angel and now part of the atmosphere. There was a hint of his scent on the breezes when his parents decided to go public with his passing; three days later, the clouds over Rainbow Bridge filled with tears that rained down upon us.
My sister Pocket was sad when her first Christmas as an angel arrived - all spirits are. I took Pocket as a ghost to my family's dinner so she could sit on the floor and hope food fell, just like she did last year. Buddy's predecessors did the same for him. Both families could not explain why there was not a scrap of food on the floor after dinner, and we well-fed angels knew why.
No family should lose a loved one at Christmas. If they passed that law, I would arrange to make Christmas every day. We could close up the Bridge and get some rest. But, like and death march on, and it's impossible to stop it.
Even for our Buddies.
For the first time I am joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop hosted by my friend Brian the Cat. The point of the post is simple - to state what we are thankful for. Outwardly, I am not thankful, as I have been born with a resting bitch face, which makes sit look like I only have one emotion: Disdain for all that surrounds me, but I am thankful for my home and family. Lately they have been showing commercials for the MSPCA showing poor unloved dogs outside in the cold with no one to love them while I sleep in a bed next to my humans. I am thankful for my truly blessed life, but maintain the right to at least look cranky!
One of my first Doggyspace friends to go to the Bridge was Teddy Bond. Since then, he has been head of the Bridge's Intelligence department because he is a super spy. He is who we call if there is a dangerous undertaking afoot.
Before Teddy departed, he used his abilities to find his replacement, Gracie May, a darling Shih-Tzu. While his passing broke his mom's heart, Teddy gave Gracie the needed tools to rebuild it. I knew their momma was in good paws, and I would not have to worry about her.
It's funny: It's when you're not worrying that things sneak up and shock you.
That is an apt term to describe my emotion when I learned that Gracie, now twelve years old, was due to arrive here. It seemed like yesterday that I first met her, and I am sure her mom felt the same way.
Gracie had been battling Cushing's Disease and severe arthritis. When her body became too tired to fight, she signaled that it was time to depart. Her mom lovingly held Gracie as she passed over.
When I knew Gracie was coming, I went to Teddy's spy shack built to create new spy technology. He told me that not only was he aware, but Teddy had arranged her passing; because he needed her for a particular assignment.
I was against sending am an untrained angel on such an assignment. But, she was Teddy's sister, and he had taught her about counter operations, plus we needed someone new to battle the chipmunk cartel. I made Teddy promise he would monitor her activity.
Gracie arrived without fanfare, and it was imperative we keep her mission secret. After a brief hug, Teddy dressed his sister in a giant chipmunk costume, and Gracie bravely undertook her Angel mission.
Gracie returned a half-hour later with a hand-drawn map showing where the chipmunks had dug burrows on Doggyspace land. Teddy sent out a team of secret chihuahuas to drive the invading chipmunks from our land.
When Gracie completed her mission and retaken our land, we held a massive welcome and thank you party for her. At the end of the night, I saw Teddy slip some food to the lead chipmunk. I told him what I had witnessed and asked him why, and he tried to evade the answer. I may not be a trained agent like Teddy, but I am a smart girl and realized the answer.
"You didn't have a special assignment," I said, smiling. "You needed to ease your sister's transition." He smiled and told me it was confidential information.
He told me to tell his mom he and Gracie would visit and take good care of her little girl. And someday, he will create something that will light up the sky, showing their mom how much she is loved.
Last night we went Christmas Caroling. We don't sing human songs; we prefer our versions. Here are some of my favorite lyrics."
"Peein' around the Christmas Tree"
Peein' around the Christmas tree
So much Momma has to mop
Peeing on the pretty wrapped present
Now new presents must be bought."
"All I Want for Christmas"
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
To never go out
To always stay home
To become a COVID shut-in
You don't need a painful booster
You just need to always be with me
"Stuffed Anal Gland Christmas"
Have a stuffed anal gland Christmas,
It's the best time of the year
I don't know when they will leak
But I hope it's on Aunt Sally
Dingleberry, dingleberry, dingleberry fall.
Dingleberry falls off in bed
O what fun there will be
When Momma finds the Dingleberry come morn."
"Steak on Christmas"
I'm dreaming of a steak on Christmas
Grilled to medium-rare
Nice and juicy
A center-cut beauty
Tasting like heaven on my tongue.
"The Christmas Song"
Squirrels roasting on an open fire
Butterflies dancing on our nose
Roadside kill being eaten by a pack
And folks are upset when we leave the remains in the snow.
Wild turkeys and Canadian geese
Their poop is the perfect appetizers
Tiny tots lying in warm beds
Will be kept up by our howls of joy
Last Christmas, I was in the shelter
But the very next day, adopted me
This year, we'll adopt them all
And give them to someone special
"Run Squirrel Run"
Out of all the vermin, you know you are the mastermind
Run, run Squirrel Doggy ain't too far behind
Run, run Squirrel, Puppies going to hunt you down
Puppy, make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run squirrel cause I'm gonna disembowel you like a hound
"What Christmas Means To Me"
Candles burnin' low
Lots of mistletoe
Lots of snow and ice
Everywhere we go
Choirs singin' carols
Right outside my door
All these things and more
Whoa, that's what pisses me off about Christmas
"She's Coming to Town"
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why
Loren Boebert is coming to town
She's burning your books
She's banning your immigrants
Don't tell her that she's crazy because she's packing heat
Loren Boebert is coming to town
I hope you enjoyed my songs,
My friend Maggie now lives in Arizona with her new mom Kate, while her first one, Laura, is with me at the Bridge. Maggie was very excited that she was living somewhere new and decided to sneak out the door and examine her new living space.
She was in the backyard when a wolf approached and announced that he wanted to eat her. She ran inside and told her remarkable brother Pokey, who was in his 16th year and going strong, about the threat. He refused to help her, stating that he had reached an advanced age by not messing with wolves.
She prayed to her mom, and, knowing that I am an expert animal angel, Moma Laura asked me for help. I have been studying wolves for a long time, and they are both very vicious and dumb, and the latter could work for us.
I floated down and told Maggie to make a big dinner for the wolf. She didn't understand why, but she got a message from her mom to listen to the Yorkie. She grilled up four steaks and called for the wolf. When it appeared, Maggie said she was ready to be eaten, but first, she wanted to know if they could share dinner. The reluctant wolf agreed.
The steak was delicious, and when he finished, the wolf was no longer hungry. He went home and told his dad about the steak dinner he ate. His dad was disappointed, telling him a true warrior killed his food. Desperate to please his dad, the wolf devised a plan to trap Maggie. He planted beans outside her window. When the stalk grew high enough, he would climb up it, sneak into Maggie's room, and eat her.
Maggie found the beans and replaced them with poison ivy seeds. When the plant grew as high as the window, the wolf began climbing it, but soon his paws broke out in a painful itch, and he fell off, then ran into the woods to lick his poor feet.
His disappointed father told him he was getting one more chance at a kill. Once he was healed, he went back to Maggie and told her he was there to eat her. She offered him another steak, and the wolf said he couldn't take it; his father would be mad if he didn't kill his food.
Maggie said she knew he was not a killer, and let him have the steak, then had him lie down, and she listened to the wolf's problems with his father. Maggie said his father would appreciate it if he stood up to him. The wolf took her advice, and when he got back to the den, explained to his dad that he was not a killer. The senior wolf told him he respected his decision and vowed never to kill either, as long as the little dog kept giving them steak.
Everyone ended up very happy, except Moma Kate, who kept wondering what happened to her steak.
Romeo was aptly named because he embodies love. Unfortunately, sometimes love ends in tragedy, as did the mortal life of our Romeo, who this week succumbed to illnesses linked to being a senior pup. He left hundreds of broken-hearted Juliet's behind, including the one who had captured his heart, his mom Karen.
For 16 years, Romeo was totally devoted to his mom. Her heart was shattered when his brother Copper, who had fought the dreaded IMHA, went to the Bridge; subsequently, Romeo helped rebuild her broken heart.
Before departing, Romeo sat down with his sibling Jax and Chipper and told them all his secrets to mend a broken heart. He knew his loss would shatter his mom and wanted his survivors to have every tool available to help his mom carry on without her special boy.
For most of the year, Romeo has been fighting off the side effects of being a senior. His appetite began to fade, as did his ability to control bodily functions. He would rally and have good days but then be struck by a string of bad ones. His mom watched him and tried to make a difficult determination: Did the bad days outweigh the good? If she only thought of herself, she would have kept him with her forever. But, her love was greater than the need to have him with her. This week, the negatives outweighed the positives, and his mom made the hardest decision.
After scheduling Romeo's Bridge arrival time, he spent his last night at home. His family gathered inside the bright, loving home, and they experienced all the finals: Last meal, last walk, last bedtime, last morning, last time leaving home, and last car trip. Trying to stop or slow them down was like trying to stop the waves from coming ashore. They just keep coming, not caring if they were welcome or how much damage they left in their wake.
When Romeo was carried to the car for the final trip to the vet, he let out a deep breath sending part of his soul into the atmosphere. Now each breeze would carry a touch of his scent, and he could draw his mom pictures using the sky as a canvas and clouds for paint.
As Romeo faced the final shot, he tried to reassure his mom that there was no reason to cry because his soul was in the sky and his heart in the wind. As long as the sun rose and a breeze whispered by, he would be with her.
At the Bridge, the River of life crashed against the banks. Then the fog lifted, showing Romeo alone crossing the water like a skipping stone.
The crowd cheered his appearance, and when he arrived on Hobo's Landing, he was swarmed like he had just hit a game-winning homer. It was apt. Romeo, through his mom's writing, had become everyone's hero. The last dog to approach him was Copper, and they had a joyous reunion.
A million tears created by those mortals who loved Romeo fell from dark clouds making everything look refreshed and anew. Tears cleanse all, even if it takes buckets of them to do so.
Romeo is here with us at the Bridge and also in the sky and the wind. Every time his mom feels it on her cheek, it is Romeo nuzzling her. His love is represented by the sun in the sky, and he is always with her.
Romeo's World is without end.
When a single dog lives with an only person, they create an unbreakable bond. Women can discuss their affection for their pup, but men try to fulfill society's version of masculinity and keep their emotions at arm's length.
Chloe and her dad were a happy pair battling life alone, but then her dad met mama Lori who had a pack of dogs herself; they joined forces to make a family. Chloe was treated as an equal by all the members.
But, as the years progressed, Chloe began to fade away. Love surrounded her, buoying her spirit and adding time to her life, but as everyone at the Bridge knows, the dark angels will claim you and bring you to your final forever home, and that was true of Chloe too.
One night Chloe agreed to go, but on her terms. She did not want her parents to make the most difficult decision; she would cross over independently. The angels provided her the perfect opportunity to pass over. She had an infection treated just as her heartbeats expired. We expected her, and with her brother Tango gathered at the Bridge, waiting for her to cross over, but Chloe never appeared.
She knew that every parent wanted one more day with their pup after they passed. She was going to give her parents extra time with her, even if they didn't realize it at the time. Chloe came home from the doctor, bloody, leaking pus, with medication to help her heel. She was uncomfortable but determined to have one more day with her pack.
After she gave her parents a final evening, she woke up the following day, got some water, went outside, came back in, and passed over, saving her parents from having to make the hardest decision. It did not ease their shock or grief, but she hopes, when they look back, they will realize why she had to pass that way.
All Chloe's friends, both in real life and the social world, gave her a rousing ovation as she passed over the Bridge. Every angel wished they were strong and brave enough to have lived an extra day. We all recognized the massive effort it took to delay his trip to the Bridge.
After we become angels, most of us strive to ease our mom's pain, but Chloe will be concentrating on her dad, remembering when she was an only dog and he an only man.
She is very thankful for her mom. She doesn't know if her dad would have survived her passing with no one to share his life with. If they had never met, he would be facing a world without love, and no angel wants that for their parent.
There was no fanfare when Baarney crossed the Bridge,
as he requested. He came at night, in secret, to protect his mom.
After nearly 17 years, Baarney left his sister Tabaatha, his partner in
the Laambies, his mother Patricia, and his father, Robin. After his
last heartbeat rang across the world, he arrived at the Bridge,
insisting that his appearance would be on the down-low except for a few
close friends. He correctly believed that being an original DS dog with
hundreds of friends, when news spread of his passing, it would create
countless tears, and people would tenderly reach out to his mom with the
best of intentions. But sometimes, a wave, even created by tenderness,
is too strong to bear. That is why Baarney hid to protect his mom and
let the word of his angeldom spread slowly.
It is challenging for a new angel. They miss their parents with the same intensity that the grieving humans mourn them. We try to keep new angels busy, so they do not slip into a depression. But, Baarney insisted on being alone. He stayed in a room at Tommy Tunes' mansion. It was so big he could have a whole wing to himself and not be detected. I checked on him every morning. He thanked me for coming, then dismissed me because he was busy. At what? I wondered.
I would soon find out. Baarney knew his parents were grievously hurt and that the only thing that could cure such sorrow was a new dog. Baarney's task was arduous because his mom wanted another Bedlington, a rare breed and a male. The odds of meeting this specific requirement were monumental.
But, Baarney has proven to be a wizard in lamb's clothing. It was not long before he found Raalphie, who needed a new family. Baarney knew within the first five minutes of their meeting that he had found the right dog. He used two of an angel's most fantastic tricks: Dream dates and persuasion. Soon, his parents welcomed Raalphie into the family.
Raalphie has proven to be the perfect remedy for a broken heart, thanks to the many hours a solitary Baarney counseled him, and he gave his mom the strength to tell everyone of Baarney's passing. The tears will still come, as her friends tell her how much they loved her special boy, she will have Taabitha and Raalpie to comfort her. You need love to combat grief, and her two pups will provide her with plenty.
When news of Baarney's arrival swept across the Bridge, hundreds of angels came to greet him and tell him how much he meant to them and speak of their undying love. It will help Baarney combat his grief too.
I have had many prayer requests from odd animals before, but I have never received one from a mouse until today.
The mouse was outside in the cold and dark. It needed to find a new home. I asked what caused him to be in this predicament, and this was his answer:
"This summer, I needed a new place to live. I noticed a shed next to a house. I slipped inside and saw plastic tubs piled one on top of the other. Curious, I climbed to the top.
"At the very top was a tub with a folding lid. I burrowed in and found ribbons, strings, and plastic figurines. At that moment, I realized I was the luckiest mouse around. I had stumbled upon the perfect place to make a new home.
"It took me a day to chew through the strings and gather the ribbons to make me a proper nest, which I built snuggly in one of the many compartments that separated the trinkets. My nest was on the top floor, the second was for food storage, and the third was to hide when the humans came into the shed. Luckily, they never detected the presence of my luxury apartment. When they stopped working in the garden for the year, I thought I was safe for the winter.
"There were bird feeders near the shed, and all I had to do was sneak ten feet across the yard, fill my mouth with them and bring it back to my deluxe apartment. I had piles of it stored up until spring.
"I was sitting down to my Thanksgiving feast when suddenly the shed door opened, my tub was picked up, and moved into the porch. Nothing else happened, and I took this as a bit of good luck. It was a lot warmer on the patio.
"Four days later, the tub was moved again, this time into the warm house. But, it wasn't a bit of good fortune. They opened the tub lid, and the humans found my nest and little piles of bird food scattered in the compartments. Thankfully, they were not at the higher intelligence end for their species because, while they could tell from things being chewed that something had been in the tub, they thought the creature had fled. Little did they know I had just taken refuge on the first floor.
"I stayed low, trembling, as the trinkets were removed and hung on a tree. What kinds of barbarians were these people? I went to a corner of the tub and tried to hide. Finally, the woman removed the last level, and I was exposed. At first, she thought I was a fuzzy ornament,t then that I was dead until I looked up, smiled, and said, "Hiya, Sweetie."
"She screamed, then I did too, and a man came from another room and told her to close the lid. He picked up the tub and, while I hoped I would be brought back to the shed, once we got outside, he turned the tub sideways, kicked it once, and I hurried out, evicted from my home, just before Christmas. There ought to be a law!"
You will be pleased to know I made a little nest for the mouse next to the heater underneath the kitchen. As long as Ugly Joan does not patrol the underworld, he can still get his food from the birdfeeder and be safe from prey.
And, when spring comes, he will crawl up the wall, find a crack in the floor, climb inside, and run across the floor because that will be his revenge.
You can't kick a mouse out of his home before Christmas.
Being a dog means you have a lot of downtimes. We are content with sitting near a human in a state of perfect zen. But, sometimes, zen is dull. Time would have passed quicker if we learned to read.
When we arrive at the Bridge, we become fully formed, able to speak with all other creatures and walk on our hind legs, if we choose. Also, we are blessed with the ability to read, which I have taken full advantage of.
That is why I frequent the Blogville library founded by Barkley the Lab, who was drawn to the profession because his mother, L.B. Johnson, had written a popular book and blog about him. When Barkley came to the Bridge, he opened the library in tribute to his mom. I owe her a debt of thanks. Without her inspiring Barkley, I never would have borrowed books from the library and discovered worlds I never knew existed.
Two weeks ago, I went into the library and found books piled up on the floor and some of the shelves barren. I asked Barkley what was wrong, and he said he had been awake for days trying to keep up with the new arrivals and returns. I suggested he hire help. After thinking it over, Barkley agreed it was a great idea.
Barkley was succeeded in his family by Abbie, who also became famous thanks to her mom's writings. She was 15, a ripe old age for a lab, but she thought she had plenty of heartbeats leftover and was surprised when Barkey appeared to her and said it was time to go to the Bridge. She hated to leave her mom, but she was getting weaker and concluded it was her time.
Barkley had arranged for me to meet Abbie at the library and swear her in on the steps. Then they hurried inside, where Abbie got a look at the books. "We need to get to work; you know the Dewey decimal system don't you?"
Abbie grew suspicious. Did her brother bring her here just because he needed library help? She pointedly asked him that question, and he insisted he was innocent and then showed her the mice he had hired to help him. "I am sorry, my sister, but it was your time. I even asked for more heartbeats for you but was told no. I wouldn't hurt you or our mom, just for help at work."
I had overheard their conversation and backed Barkley's version of events. Abbie said she was sorry. Then they started working on the books. They both knew that the pair of them and books were three things their mom loved. They made sure they put their paw prints in each one, so, when their mom read it, she would feel their love, just as she had poured so much love for them into her words.Books don't hold just information and stories, but souls
There have been so many new angels this month that I can
miss their arrival if the Powers That Be do not assign swearing-in
duties to me. That happened to two cats from the same family this
week. And, I am not proud of the way I discovered my error.
Cats are welcome to live with us at Doggyspace Villiage if they have pup siblings, and we do not stop dogs who want to room with their cat siblings in Kittyspace Villiage. But, unlike the occupants of Blogville, where all animals are welcome, we are suspicious when we see an unaccompanied cat lurking along the border.
I was up early in the morning taking a walk when I saw two cats creeping across the wet grass. I immediately thought they were sneaking in to steal some of our kibbles, so I charged at them, barking and flashing my fangs. The cats stopped and began laughing, which was quite emasculating.
"You shouldn't be here unless you are with a dog!" I said suspiciously.
"We are visiting our brother," the black one answered.
"I know all the dogs here, as well as their siblings, and you aren't one of them."
"We are new arrivals. I am Sambo and came to the Bridge after 19 years because my mom could no longer see me suffer from dementia. When I arrived, I was reunited with my memories. A few days later, the seizure monster attacked my brother Garfield, and he came here after suffering a hundred of them in one night. Tilly invited us to live with him here."
"Ha!" I said. "I know for a fact that you and Tilly are not siblings!" I said confidently.
"Yes, they are," Tilly, who had appeared behind me, said. "I know you are busy and missed their arrival. Also, I have been away.
It has been the worst possible time for my family. Not only have Sambo and Garfield passed, but COVID has destroyed my father's family, claiming his mother, brother, and aunt. I welcomed them and have been trying to help my family settle here at the Bridge and ease my parents' burden. Now I am going to help my cat siblings."
I knew two things. Tilly was the most extraordinary angel ever, and I was a true crap puppy. I apologized to the cats and welcomed them. I promised I would do anything needed to help their transition. They forgave me because being merciful is something their parents instilled in them.
Then coming over the rise, I saw their grandmother, aunt, and uncle. All three angels ran to the humans and were picked up and snuggled.
I knew the family was going through one of the worst times any family could experience. But, they are strong and have mighty angels on their side.
Still, I walked to our little church and said a prayer for the family. I know they will escape their grief, but it will take a lot of faith, angels, and love.
After 21 years, Tien had given everything she had, and it was time to cross over. Some people say when a pet parent and animal, like Momma...