Puppy Love 16


On any ordinary day, the fabric can be torn to let in the extraordinary and stark reality that lies in wait behind every daily moment.

The sun shines over the bay, and in the little houses, the kettle sings for the morning tea pot, and the sleepy eyes rub open, and the toast pops up, and the clouds whisper that rain is simply a memory, on this and every fair morning.


We think of what we might buy that day–maybe dinosaur candies! Whatever put that into our mind? And the hum of the airplane draws other eyes upwards. Dinosaur Yums! Of course!


It’s an ordinary day, and we can buy what we like, for we have all day, every day, to earn our coin and spend it howsoever we choose, and sweets to drink and sweets to suck are as good as anything we might work for.


But not really. For in any house, on any day, it might not be an ordinary day.


The crash of thunder. The black smoke. Through the veil, the ghastly hand of death.


On an ordinary day, the maid sweeps the dog hair from the kitchen floor. The dogs wait by the supper bowl.

But for the cat, it’s no ordinary day. It’s the last corporeal day, and the body falls beside the forgotten toy.


“I’m so very or-di-nary,” drawls Thunder Voice. But only so, if one is like me, on the other side already.

“We don’t have time for you,” I tell the ordinary shepherd.

He would give me a raspberry, if he had an ordinary tongue.


Once the fabric tears, the shock sets in. The tears, the heart leaping from throat to gut. The whimpers. The long droop of dog ears.


Lucas feigns shock. Surely he knew, after Bartholomew left, that the other old ones would have to follow. Otter today, perhaps Mochi tomorrow. Or if not then, soon enough. The young ones stay, to mend the tear.

“Let’s seeee,” drawls the ghastly one. “Quite a long list here for the coming fortnight! Guess I’ll be racking up the frequent flier miles!”

“Can it,” I tell him. “This isn’t the the time.”

He chuckles, anyway. It is his ordinary day, for his ordinary type of humor, though for Lucas, everything has taken on a strange and halting quality.


I wait. Otter will come with me. The shepherd hands over the brilliant shine.


“Thank you,” and she is in my pocket, for safekeeping through the gaping tear, to the other side, where she will find the extraordinary of the After.

The fool hangs around, watching ordinary television. Caleb stands beside, keeping him well in sight.


We wait, hoping he won’t make himself too at home. But he lingers for the second feature. When Frogman devours the princess, he chuckles, and turns off the set.


“Later, dudes and dudettes!” The thunder, the smoke, and his scythe is the last to fade.


It is no ordinary day when the tear reaches from the sky through your heart. Everything stops.


Could it be that in a house across the bay the kettle boils for another pot of tea? And does someone sit down with the evening paper, to work a crossword puzzle?

Hasn’t the foundation cracked and crumbled? Nothing will ever be ordinary again, for Otter, our cat of cats, is in the After, and Lucas and the pups are left behind.


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Puppy Love 8


We are always with you. Don’t think that we are dead and departed. Just because we’ve crossed over doesn’t mean we can’t cross back.

When your eyes sting from sudden beauty, your heart jumps, your breath catches, we are there, whispering to you, This is life! Soak it in!

We are there when hardship comes, too, and when you feel you have no support, we are there. But that’s another story!

For today, the sun shines, the waterfall chatters, the vireos sing, and you walk in freedom and joy.


Lucas, do you know how proud we are of you?


The puppies have grown. Caleb is a beautiful long-haired spaniel, with soft kind eyes.


Crackers has his sire’s coiled tail and strong form.


Caleb and Mochi have chosen each other as playmates.


While Crackers and Bartholomew have become close companions.


Lucas, you are everything we could have asked for in a caregiver, and more! When I see how healthy, strong, playful, and happy our pups and Otter are, I send you all the gratitude a ghost can muster!


On her first visit, Tanvi, so newly in spirit, had yet to realize that the joy of the living can still fill us.

Crossing back for the first time one feels the sudden shock of sadness–so much that we have left, and so many who miss us still!


I joined her, that first day, hoping that I might find a way smooth her re-entry.


But you beat me to it, Lucas. If you felt startled to see her, you didn’t show it. You welcomed her back as the old friend she always was.


We can feel warmth when you hug us–and we can feel your joy even more than you know.


Tanvi made friends with Caleb, too, while Bartholomew and Mochi looked on. Lucas, you’ve raised these pups well to know not to feel skittish around spirits!


Or at least you’ve tried! Mochi still gets spooked when she catches sight of me through the corner of her eye. Perhaps it’s because she never knew my living form.


When Crackers bounded up to you, asking for reassurance, you wrapped him in your arms. “It’s our friends, Crackers, back to meet you, now you’re all grown!” you said.


While you helped Crackers settle, Tanvi and I reacquainted ourselves with the joys of being in the same physical space at the same time.


It’s hard to describe what it’s like in the After. Space, when filled with all-of-space, and time, filled with all-of-time, lose any point of reference. So while Tanvi and I are together in the After, we share merged closeness, which differs from what we feel here as much as one differs from two.

But here, with our spirits mirroring our old forms, we have points of reference so that we can enjoy here and there, and finding ourselves in this place, together.


“Care for a cup of tea?” I asked Tanvi.

“Don’t mind if I do!” she replied.

Inside the tea-pot I went with a shake and a rattle! And I came out Laplsang Suochong.


Tanvi left a message for you in the garden: The bonsai in a heart-shape.


She is learning how memory works–that you remember and our love continues.


We are with you always, dear Lucas. Don’t think that just because we’ve crossed over, we won’t cross back.


We are with you to offer support, to provide strength, and to encourage. Sometimes, we even have suggestions.

Do you think that your inspiration to look for a female dog, one who might carry on Bobie’s line, came from nowhere?

It was me, whispering, Adopt a pup!


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