We just know. I realize that my answer seems overly simplified, but I am more convinced than ever that, distracted by the hustle bustle of our modern, technology-driven lives, we often forget to stop and listen to what our intuition is telling us. Last week, it was telling me that it was time to let our beloved dog cross over to the other side.
Our beautiful blonde terrier mix, Vada, began having trouble moving her back legs last Thursday. At the age of 18 — yup, that’s like 120 in dog years — we knew this day would come. In fact, we’d already managed to dodge it a couple of times along the way.
Four years ago, she was on death’s doorstep and — to the shock and surprise of our vet — she recovered completely. Since then, she’s been known around that clinic as “The Miracle Dog.”
But even Miracle Dogs don’t live forever. Though our vet wasn’t sure that this was “the end,” and my mind refused to belive it, my heart — and a dream — told me otherwise.
Last Friday night, I dreamed about our beagle, T.C., who died in July 2007. I’ve never dreamed about him before. Not only did I see him in my sleep, but the images were unnervingly vivid.
In the dream, I opened the sliding glass door to our back yard, and there he was, big floppy ears and all, romping and playing in a huge pile of crunchy fall leaves. I remember feeling a pang of guilt and thinking to myself in the dream, “Oh my gosh! He’s been alive this whole time and I thought he was dead…and we should have been taking care of him.”
I studied him for a moment and realized that he was not old and tired, as he was the last time I saw him, but young, energetic — and buff. I could see the outline of his muscles.
I motioned for him to come inside. He looked at me for a moment, then dove into another pile of leaves, resurfacing with just his head and big floppy ears showing. His body language told me that he was quite content to stay where he was.
I looked down at that moment and saw that there was a barrier of cold air and ice — perhaps six inches wide. But beyond that barrier was a sunny, warm, and happy place. The place where T.C. was.
When I woke up, my gut told me that the dream was more than a dream. It was a sign. T.C. was coming for Vada; it was her time.
T.C. and Vada had grown up together from puppyhood. And, as my husband Don often points out, they were “partners in crime” — the kind of mischief that only a pair of energetic hounds can get into, like figuring out how to use the living room couch as a springboard to the kitchen counter so you can eat an entire platter of freshly-baked cookies while The People are at work…
And so, though letting her go this morning was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, there’s peace in knowing that she and T.C. are together in a place where they can once again romp and play.
Just minutes after we released Vada, our four-year-old son, Theo, came to me, teary-eyed, and said, “I hope Vada can see us from heaven, Mommy.”
I think she can, honey. I really think she can.