“Let’s name her SPIKE,” J.T. said with a grin as he dangled a tiny black spiked collar in front of me.
“We are not naming this cute little puppy that will be all of 12 lbs full grown, SPIKE!” I snapped.
My son’s grin told me that was the point- the humor of a tiny fluffy Shih Tzu with a name that conjured visions of an attack dog.
She was named Yogee, and yet even after both my son and Yogee passed away, everyone remembers the Spike story that followed her through her 15+ years.
The sadness of losing a pet after that long opens up a thought process of do we want another dog? Can we handle puppyhood? Did we want the responsibility? When should we think about it- is it too soon? Can we handle saying goodbye in another 15 years?
Loss is hard, but with everything in life, as they say… the beat goes on. The heartbeat of love and life goes on.
I researched Shih Tzu breeders and found three, in three different states. All of them had a detailed process of applications and background checks before they considered the forever homes for their puppies. The waiting lists were 9-12 months, so I filled out the applications and put it out of my mind.
The crazy chain of events that happened next was, I believe, Grace in action! It began with a simple text message from my daughter that read:
Brady just said,
“Yogee is in heaven and Grandma is going to get a new Yogee puppy –on TUESDAY!” Is he correct?
This made me chuckle coming from my 4-year-old grandson. I responded with,
“Well, everything except Tuesday… maybe late summer.”
A few nights later I had a dream that Yogee had puppies next to my bed. The dream was clear, in color, and felt like it was REAL. I reached down and picked up a white and copper brown one – the color I hoped for in my next Shih Tzu. I knew there were other puppies in the dream, but I could only see this one.
Yogee was walking away. I called to her saying over and over again that she needed to come back and take care of the puppies. She just shook her head and kept walking away as if she knew I would do it. The extraordinary clarity of the dream spurred a long conversation with my husband the next morning about what it meant and why Yogee brought a puppy to me – the exact color that I wanted.
couple of days passed, but the comment from my grandson and the dream lodged in my mind. Watching TV one evening, I received an email to my phone from one of the breeders saying she had a female puppy available and wanted to know if I was interested. The picture attached was of a white and copper furball of cuteness. It was her eyes that drew me in. As I stretched the screen on my phone I saw familiar eyes. They were Yogee’s eyes looking deep into my heart. Tears welled and I heard the word, “Grace.”
Not wanting my husband to see my tears, I forwarded the email to him. I waited for his reaction. I saw him enlarge his screen to see the very thing I saw. The eyes.
He looked at me and said, “What are we going to do?”
I didn’t know. We had resigned ourselves to wait and allow the loss of Yogee to settle. To enjoy a bit of freedom without the responsibility of a dog. And yet, the messages were clearly being laid before me. My tears surged with every conversation about this puppy and with every photo the breeder sent.
The messages continued.
We were told this puppy was the runt of the litter. After sleepless nights of caring for the tiny pup and worrying about her ability to survive, the breeder wanted to keep her. Deciding she shouldn’t, she scanned her large waiting list reading the profiles of prospective families, and kept coming back to us.
When we found out that the puppy’s mother was named Beah, I knew. I ran to the scrapbook I had created for Yogee and pointing to the registration papers I showed my husband. Yogee’s mother was named Bea!
We made arrangements to visit the puppy. A sweet woman invited us into her home. She picked up the smallest of four puppies and laid her in my lap. She called her, Emma – mysteriously close to the name of my granddaughter Emmie – the daughter of J.T.my late son.
She said, “There is something special about this puppy. I tell everyone I believe she is an angel.”
The day we adopted her our home filled with joy. We heard the patter of paws running on our floors. We enjoyed snuggles and cuddles and puppy kisses. I was convinced she was brought to us through the mystical process of grace orchestrated by J.T. and Yogee … a process others may not understand or comprehend, but to me it was clear.
We named her Gracie Beah.
The next morning, I took her to my daughter’s home so Gracie could meet her family. As I was leaving I told them all to say goodbye to Gracie. Hugs and kisses irrupted and the last in line was Brady, the one who predicted the arrival of a puppy.
He kissed her, looked in her eyes and said, “Goodbye Spike, Spikie, Spike.”
Stunned, I asked him why he called her that. He had no way of knowing the Spike story. He simply shrugged and said, “I just felt like it.”
My daughter and I smiled at each other.
The last message had been given, and yes, the beat goes on.
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Pennie's Life Lesson: "Pay attention to the magical messages of Grace."
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