A few weeks ago, I assisted my family in around the clock care for the family dog, Shadow. He had been diagnosed with canine lymphoma and was getting close to his final days. We made an effort for someone to be nearby at all times in case of an emergency.
Though Shadow was in his final stages, our family was only beginning to understand that after 11 years, inevitably we would no longer see his powerful, wagging tail when we entered the house, or hear his deep bark that a stranger would mistake for ferocious, but would soon learn it was only a friendly ‘hello.’
I began to think about these things one day as I ran the bike trail. The song “Awake My Soul” by Mumford and Sons came on my iPod. And my thoughts turned to my Sheltie of 14 years, Duchess, whose passing broke my heart 4 years ago. There is no easy way to lose a pet or any loved one and I wondered how my family would get through Shadow’s passing.
I came to a fork in the road - either go back home, or run an extra 3 miles - that day I chose to run the extra 3. When I came to the end of my path finally, I saw a woman walking her dog in the distance coming towards me. As she got closer, I squinted to make out the dog…it was a Sheltie. Of all the breeds in all the world, today I would see a Sheltie, a breed of dog you rarely see. I kneeled, and petted, and chatted, and smiled. That moment meant a great deal to me as I know it was not merely a chance encounter that day.
Everyone has experienced a great loss of some kind. But in those moments of loss and grief, we can always find something beautiful or significant within them. My Duchess waited for me to get home from work before she passed in my arms. When I learned of my Grandpa’s death, I was in church, sitting next to my best friend. These things are not accidents. They are gifts, orchestrated by the Creator of the Universe to help ease our pain. Because He feels pain when we do. And He cares so deeply for us, for our loved ones, for our pets, for the sparrow that falls to the ground. How painful life would be without His love.
Shadow Daugherty 2002-6/22/2013
"In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life."
-Mumford & Sons