Puppy Love 19

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The twister flew across the meadow, past the row of tombstones, and I rode the tailwind.

He pulled up beside his grand-dam.

Watcha doin’ out here, grand-dog? he whimpered. Why out in the dark and lonely?

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I’m remembering, baby, she sighed.

‘Membering who?

Those who came before, little one.

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Before what?

Not what, baby. Who. Before you.

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They sat together a moment, and Dustin joined his ma and pup.

Got a smile for your sire? Dustin asked, licking the pup’s spotted nose.

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Emery sat and gazed up at the moon, with Dustin assuming guard behind his little one.

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I blew through the grasses, following the memories where they led.

What was before me? asked Emery.

Before you? Dustin whimpered. I had a cat friend. Her name was Otter. 

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Was she a good cat?

That she was.

And where is she now?

Don’t know, little. Not here. Maybe in the After.

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How can she be in the After if she was Before? wondered Emery.

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I followed the night breeze up to the moon and left the white sire and his white pup below to ponder the Big Questions. Up here, it doesn’t matter. We stop asking, because making sense ceases to matter. Let the little ones wonder! Our minds seek no more.

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Puppy Love 11

sky03

We played in the After, chasing light butterflies, frolicking under void clouds.

When I remembered to return, I faced a giant. Little Miss Molly had become a very big dog, indeed.

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Caleb was as smitten as ever.

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Go on, said Mochi. Make puppies already.

Oh, Ma! said Caleb, and I thought I saw the tip of his nose blush.

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Really, Mrs. Golde, said Little Miss Molly. I think we might, but maybe not if you were watching?

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I called Mochi to me. Let’s romp in the fields! I suggested. Show me what you’ve found!

We left Molly and Caleb to their doggy date, while we ran through the meadows. Have you ever seen a solitary dog, racing apparently alone, across a field, ears flapping, tail circling, and the broadest grin on her face? You thought the dog was simply expressing the joy of life. But maybe the dog wasn’t really alone–maybe the dog was racing the spirits, and this wasn’t merely joy-of-life, but that greatest joy, joy-of-all, combining the now, the After, the physical, the metaphysical. Who says dogs aren’t superstitious for a reason? It’s because, more than any, they are ever aware of our presence.

sky01

When next I returned, I found Lucas bathing Molly.

“Here you go, Little Miss,” he said, “or should I call you, Little Missus! This will help with those aches and pains you’ve got. Not easy being a mommy-to-be, is it?”

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So she was expecting! Tongue hanging out, tail drooping, feet shuffling, it looked like she was at the mercy of an uncomfortable pregnancy.

I’m OK, really I am, she said. And I had to admire her resolve.

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It is always the light that takes me away, and the light that carries me back again.

The next time I came,  Bosko and Majora accompanied me, and we weren’t sure what to expect.

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Through the fields streaked white lightning.

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I’m not looking, Bosko said, superstitious even in the After, but I can feeling something behind me.

I think it’s a pup! I said.

Can’t be. It’s white, said Bosko. Pups are brown or black or tan.

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Pups can be white, I said.

Not that I’ve seen, replied Bosko.

But sure enough, it was a bouncing, racing, pouncing white pup.

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Meet Dustin, said Caleb, kissing his son.

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And so they had just the one pup, a little white male, with a curly tail, and a wide, high brow, and playful, laughing eyes.

Majora streaked through. This pup is trouble! she said. Black cats? Nothing! Watch out for white pups!

I had to chuckle. Dustin sat and politely waited for Majora to race past. He didn’t look like trouble to me!

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Good going, Little Miss Molly, I said. That’s quite a pup you and Caleb have.

Sure is, said Molly, if I do say so myself. He may be little now, but one day, he will be a giant!

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He may be, at that!

I hovered beside him.

Hello, little pup, I said. You have a look about you of your great grandpa Bobie–same sweet eyes! And a little curly tail like your grandpa, Bartholomew. And look at those sweet floppy ears! Just like Papa Caleb! You are one fine pup, Dustin! Even if you are the first white lightning pup of the family!

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Puppy Love 8

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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.

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

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

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

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Caleb and Mochi have chosen each other as playmates.

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While Crackers and Bartholomew have become close companions.

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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“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.

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

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

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

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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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