Honey, can you come here? I rolled over and took a look at the clock on my nightstand. “Yeah,” I replied, not knowing if the house was on fire or what. Lorraine almost never calls me after I have gone to bed.
We discovered many years ago that I was the “early to bed” kind of guy and she enjoyed watching certain shows on TV that do not interest me. I knew there had to be a reason she called. I rolled out of bed and asked her. “What’s up?” I murmured, still half asleep.
“There is something wrong with Dirt. He is having a difficult time breathing!” she said, looking down the hallway where Dirt, the most wonderful dog that has ever chased a tennis ball, lay on his bed. I was already a little scared. Lorraine is not one to fool around about our dogs. She is the keeper of all things K9.
I jumped out of bed and almost beat her back to where Dirt was lying on his pad looking at us with these beautiful dark eyes that had clinched it when we went to pick up his litter mate, Kodak, at the breeders house down in Paso Robles. We had found this lady that raises Border Collie/Australian pups. We went to only pick one puppy, but Dirt had crawled up my leg while we were talking about dogs with the breeder. He was so curious about everything about me, so when the lady told us what Kodak would cost, it seemed as though Lorraine couldn’t stop herself.
“How much would it cost if we took both pups?” Lorraine asked without looking at me. This was not what I was thinking, but then I don’t always say what she is looking for me to agree with her question. I won’t bore you with anymore information about the pups or the cost. We had lost our Beaujee a few months before and we needed a dog to keep us company. Suffice to say, we left Paso Robles with two dogs in our carry cage.
As it turns out, God must have shined his light upon us, for these two dogs came home with us, and although the boys were jealous, we knew they were finishing college and had to study every day.
Kodak took a shine to Lorraine, and Dirt snuggled in my lap all the way home. So he had found his new friend. I’m pretty sure I have written about why Dirt was named Dirt, so I won’t repeat myself. He was the best puppy and then later a great friend. Kodak was a female and her name came from a box of film I had placed in the car some time in the past.
To be truthful, they both were pleased with each other. The boys found out that they didn’t have much to do with them because Lorraine and I were both in love with both of them. The boys caught on quick and decided to wait until we got another dog before they started demanding equal time. Those dogs were loved like nothing I had ever known.
Dirt became the dominate one, but he didn’t show off about it. He would lead Kodak to the park and then blow her off when I threw the tennis ball. Dirt would lay with his head in my lap at night and Kodak would get into the easy chair with Lorraine. We were a family of love. That’s why I was getting nervous as I reached his pad two nights ago. Dirt was the popular one, and since we had to let Kodak go due to cancer last year, he filled in for both of them.
Believe it or not, those thoughts were swirling around my head as I kneeled down to let him know I was there for him. It was about this time that the tears started. Both Lorraine and I didn’t know what to do, except pray and wipe the tears from our eyes as he lay there struggling for each breath. Of course there were no veterinarians open anywhere, and to be honest, we didn’t want to leave him or take him from his home while he was having such a difficult time breathing.
You should know that we love all our kids more than a pet, but it may have been close. We truly doted on those pups. The night became a little like a scary movie. We were watching Dirt looking at us as he struggled for each breath. That was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Lorraine and I would look at each other and tears would flow. It was like watching a train go over a cliff.
Dirt would look up at us and you could feel the love he was sharing with us. “It’s not your fault!” He seemed to be saying. OK, it may have been something else he was saying, but I know as long as I will live that he was forgiving us for any slight we might have shown during his stay with us. Lorraine was lying on one side and I was on the other side. We would look at each other and mouth a prayer.
“Please dear God, let him breathe.” Yet our prayers got to be stronger. “Just let him into your Kingdom where he can guard you and your Angels from any harm. I promise he will be the best dog in all Your kingdom.” I don’t have to tell you that God answers all prayers. We may not like his answer, but it is always considered. Each time we prayed it seemed like Dirt raised his head a little higher.
I don’t know when it hit me that he wouldn’t be with us much longer, but at that moment I looked to Lorraine and said, “It’s time, Honey. He is ready.” Of course, it wasn’t like I knew God was doing anything. I’m pretty sure that if HE does look down upon us, it is because of the woman I married. She has had a relationship with God all her life.
But I felt that she has suffered enough. Her eyes were red with her tears. It was hard to tell if Dirt was still breathing as his breath was so shallow, but his eyes were clear and looking straight at Lorraine and I with an intensity that was truly scary. God should give me another word for how I feel about the miracles. He performs them every day and today was one.
Dirt is gone from this earthly presence, but he was such a gift that he had to come from God and has only gone back home.