Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Celebrating Gotcha Day!

Today is Spot's 2nd Gotcha Day! For anyone who doesn't know what a Gotcha Day is, it's the day you celebrate when you first adopted your new companion, or the day when you first 'got them.' Get it? I can't believe we've had Spoteens for two years now! It seems like much longer. In honor of his special Gotcha Day, I am going to share a story with you. You might not believe it. You might think I'm crazy. That's okay. I will share it anyway. Take from it what you will.



Milo passed away in 2013, and after I lost him, I still felt connected to him in so many ways. How could I not? He was like a part of me when he was here. He was my constant companion. Even though he had passed away, I sometimes got pictures of him in my head. I could see him places we had never been before. Sometimes I would get a flash of him on a beach, or by a river. Sometimes by a farm house or in a field. Once I even pictured him on a boat. Was I imagining these things? Was my mind making it all up? I don't know. All I know was that they were places I had never seen before, but so beautiful, and crystal clear.

My Milo

A few days after Milo passed, I got an image of him in my mind. He was swimming in what looked like a giant lake or a river. It was kind of shadowy, as early evening would be. I could see his head treading above water (even now I can picture it in my mind so clearly). The water was very still. He looked peaceful and happy, just swimming slowly. Off in the distance I could see a little town or village- tops of buildings above the grass. And then off to his right there was a bridge with a little lantern hanging on it. There was a dog on this bridge watching him. I couldn't see this dog as clearly as I saw Milo. I just saw a profile, and the dog was standing there watching him swim. I couldn't even tell what color the dog was (I would describe it best as a shadow, or something you were seeing with your peripheral vision). That was all I remember. But the image was so clear and vivid that I can flash back to it, even today. I don't see anything else in the image, just that. 

I thought about it for a while, and I believed at the time that the other dog I was seeing was our old family dog, Corky, who had passed away when I was younger. The dog I saw resembled her as a puppy, so I thought maybe it was her, welcoming Milo over. That brought me a lot of comfort.

Corky, early 1980's

Months later, Spot came into our lives. He sure was different than Milo, but I loved him just the same. The connection I had with Milo was so special. I knew I didn't quite have that with Spot, but I tried so hard to make him love me. It took a long time for him to accept all of us as a family. He was a loving, sweet dog, but he didn't trust us right away, and I guess I don't blame him. Who knows where he was before he came to us? I don't know anything about his prior life. But to anyone who is adopting a new dog after losing another, I just urge you to give it time. Spot and I didn't click right away. It took time, but he is such a bright, shining light in all of our lives, like a little ball of love. You need to give that new dog a chance. Here's why. Shortly after we adopted Spot, he was sitting on the sofa staring out the window. He looked so cute that I took a picture. But when I looked at the picture, I did a double take. Something struck me right away when I looked at it. 


He kind of looked like the dog I had seen in that image in my mind, the one who was watching Milo from the bridge. I tried to make sense of it. Where would Spot have been when Milo passed away? I did some math. He hadn't been born yet. Is it possible this little angel had been on the other side, waiting on the bridge for the torch to be passed, so to speak? I'll never know. I just know what I saw and what I can pass on to you. 

There is a scene from the movie Dances with Wolves that I have always loved. The character Wind in His Hair explains something important to Kevin Costner's character, Dances with Wolves. Costner's character marries a girl named Stands with a Fist (who was the widow of Wind's friend). 

Wind in His Hair: You know the man she  mourned for, he was my best friend.
Dances with Wolves:  I didn't know that.
Wind in His Hair: He was a good man. It has been hard for me to like you. I am not the thinker. Kicking Bird is. I always feel anger first. There were no answers to my questions. But now I think he went away because you were coming. That is how I see it.

I can't explain this life. I can't explain what happens after we leave it. Is it possible someone leaves our life so another can come in, or so that our life can take another direction? Perhaps we're all just part of a bigger picture. I don't know. But I know Milo was here for a reason, and I know what he brought me in my life and how much he gave me. Spot already gives us all so much, so perhaps he is here for a reason, too. Happy Gotcha Day, little one. I may not know what the bigger picture is, but I know there is one.

"But now I think he went away because you were coming. That is how I see it."

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