Sometimes, it’s the most profound moments that blind side us.
My husband J.C. is one of the greatest gifts to ever walk into my life. He has repeatedly demonstrated this in the time we’ve known each other, but it still takes my breath away when I realize that ONCE again, a comment made in passing and with laughter between the two of us had such an ability to touch my heart and soul.
It started like this: (It usually does) J.C. and I were sitting and relaxing; our favorite pastime is simply to BE with each other. Having recently acquired a foster dog from our friend Kelli Miller of Solace Pit Bull Rescue, we found ourselves playing the "comparing "game. We were discussing the differences between Annie (new foster) and Rae (old shoe) and the conversation went kinda this way:
(J.C.) "Yeah, the Universe looked at Rae’s face, touched one side, then the other, and said; Perfect. You’re perfect."
"They looked at Annie and said…what?"
(Me) "Perfect…you will find the perfect place."
It was out of my mouth and floating into the ether before I knew it.
And that, in a nutshell, was such a moment of the purest clarity that it literally took my breath away. I began to travel back, through the chapters of mind and heart almost 25 years ago, to the dog, and the story, literally, where the journey began.
I was a young wife and mother, living in Maryland. I had a couple friends who ran a horse farm, where I kept my horse. One of the girls had a pit bull female, who she had "taken" from her ex-boyfriend. This was an ex-boyfriend who fought dogs and chopped his pit bull puppies ears off himself at 3 weeks- with an axe, in his barn.
I know, right?
The female was already pregnant. The ex was short a male pit bull, his had just been killed in a dog fight, it seems. So he bred the female- with a boxer. He figured the pups would look enough like full blooded Pit Bulls that he could pass them off as "pure".
Long story short- they talked me into buying one of the mutts for $50 dollars. That’s still the best 50 I ever spent.
Even after all these years, I’m still a sucker for the Underdogs.
Mr. Paws lived with me his entire life, from the time he was 6 weeks old until I granted him his release from a life well lived in 2001. He was 16, and starting to suffer badly from canine senility. Yeah, it happens to them too… I won’t say he was perfectly behaved…I won’t say he had perfect confirmation, or was perfectly obedient, but I remember when Jess came home from the hospital and it was such a miracle that he and I had both survived his birth. Paws came running up to me with a huge smile on his face as if to say "FINALLY!" He slept under the bassinet, and then later under Jess’s crib, although patience wasn’t necessarily his strong suit. He had his moments when he needed a break…he was trustworthy with the kids, but he wasn’t a "nanny dog."
No. The Universe looked at Paws and said "Perfect. You will be the perfect FRIEND".
Thank you, Universe. In your infinite wisdom and goodness you gave me a companion spirit that journeyed beside me for 16 years, and never left my side- even when given the choice.
I miss him still.
Wow- this one in particular does me in, every time. I loved my Belle…she looked like Elsie the Cow when she was a baby. Calm, quiet, loving, and patience were her keynote qualities. Sean used to lay on her and fall asleep watching cartoons. She’d lay there awake while he slept and more often than not she could be found within two feet of him. If the other kids were Paw’s, Seanie was Bella’s boy. Not a doubt in my mind she would have gladly given her life for any of us.
I find it ironic (but truly maybe not so much) that shortly after she was directly instrumental in preventing a home invasion by two criminals that had already pistol whipped an elderly Savannah man, her allergies became so horrendous that we had to euthanize her. Her quality of life, even after countless trips to the vets and literally thousands of dollars in treatments, had deteriorated to the point that I felt I needed to give her the last gift I could.
She was stunning- people commented on her beauty everywhere we went. A Nanny, and a good will ambassador, and a true friend…but that wasn’t her perfection.
No. The Universe looked at Bella and said "Perfect. You will be the perfect defender."
Bella fulfilled her destiny, and left. I am eternally grateful to her for the gift of our lives that night, and I never got to thank her…so now I’ll share her with you- and you can grieve too.
Thank you, Bella.
Ahh, Rae Rae.
When we lost Bella, Jesse was terrified of being in the house without a dog. Our friend Ruth, who is an amazing woman, founder of Storytime kennel and breeder of A-MAZING American Staffordshire terriers (it is thanks to her that we got Bella), let me know that she was in a position to help. She had a young female pup who "wasn’t too pretty, and she’s not the smartest thing in the world, but she’s yours if you want her."
And so it began, again.
I NEVER thought I would develop an attachment to Rae- but that was because I couldn’t see beyond my grief over losing Bella. It took me a long time to bond with Rae. For those of you who read my other blog, The Dinner Belle, you probably have read all about her over there. She has the BEST sense of humor; she’s an infallible Nanny dog- not just with children but her own kind as well. It doesn’t make any difference to Rae. If it’s newborn- protect it. If it’s young- nurture it. If it’s lonely- comfort it. If it’s crying- offer quiet encouragement. If it’s klutzy- trip it and laugh. Yeah, that’s how she rolls.
J.C. was right. The Universe did look at her and say:
"Perfect. You will be JUST perfect."
Rae’s story isn’t over yet- but she is the embodiment of all that makes the American Staffordshire terrier and the American Pit Bull terrier some of the greatest dogs of all time…I’m doing my best to insure that my family, and the rest of America, doesn’t lose the privilege of living with them. Even if you chose not to make these dogs a part of your life, that choice needs to remain yours to make.
I’m not going to write much here about Tate. You can read about him as well, over on The Dinner Belle…Tate was THE BEST teacher of the harshest lesson for an animal lover- You cannot save them all, nor are we meant to. The Universe gave Tate a hard one, which he executed efficiently and totally, and without the distraction of attachments…
"Perfect. You will teach the perfect lesson of letting go."
And so he did, although I did not see it immediately.
Sheesh, I could write an entire comedy based on Owen’s personality…one day I might. He’s funny, quirky, and he was exactly what I needed after Tate. Sometimes the soul just needs a little time, and love, and room to heal. Owen gives me that. He’s one of my biggest fans, and we are the best of friends. He brought laughter and play back into my daily routine, and into Sean’s. The little boy that couldn’t wait to get on the computer after school now can’t wait to play with the dogs.
Owen is like…sunshine after clouds... or extra butter popcorn after brussel sprouts. My "oddly cute" SuperHero.
"Perfect. You will be the perfect balm to bruised spirits."
And so life goes on.
Annie’s story (that we know; the rest we can figure out) began with a kind soul rescuing her off the streets of Savannah, starving and alone. She was taken in by Kelli Miller of Solace Pit Bull Rescue, where she learned the difference between existing in Hell, and flourishing in what must have been to her, Heaven.
Kelli did great things with Annie; she didn’t just take her in off of the streets. Kelli recognized a potential within her, and drew it out. Annie earned not only her Canine Good Citizenship certificate, but is also a Therapy Dog. This means we can go to nursing homes and area schools. She can shine her light on both young and old.
My first impression of Annie upon being introduced to her was of a sense of peace, and a calming energy. I can’t wait to get out in the world and share her with you. I promise when she smiles at you, you won’t be able to help but to smile back.
Annie smiles with her whole heart, holding nothing back.
New to our home; but not a stranger, at least not to me. Do you believe in reincarnation? I do.
The Universe looked at that plain and unassuming little brown package, saw all the scars she would carry, the ills, trauma, and confusion she would experience, gifted her with the immense inner landscape that is home to her spirit and said:
"Perfect. You will find the perfect place."
Once again, as I tell these stories of my friends, guardians, and teachers, I am humbled by the gifts bestowed on me by a benevolent and loving Creative Force.
This blog was written for my husband and best friend, J.C. Wilson. Out of all the gifts the Universe has given, my time with you remains the most cherished.