An Angel Gets Her Wings
by The Thomas Family
It was raining the day I first saw that little ball of black velvet, even then showing her disdain of getting wet. Being a wise one, she did the choosing, which was appropriate as I was a rookie in this important decision. And among the dozen or so squirming souls vying for attention, she guided my hand and my soul.
Wrapping her in a warm blanket on that cold, damp day, we made our way home, a new journey for both of us. She told me her name – Angel. Angel? For a Rottweiler? Trust me, she whispered. I did. And both of us never looked back...
Right away there were comparisons to her predecessor, Raven. How could there not be? Doesn't Angel have the same face, doesn't Angel's tail wiggle the same, wow Angel sounds just like... doesn't Angel do that the same! What an impossible burden we placed on her.
Did we look so hard to bring back Raven that we never could see the beautiful individual in front of us? Was I looking for a replacement? Maybe, but it was a replacement of love. And I came to savor the differences, the distinct quirks of personalities that make all of us individually special.
I never would have guessed Angel's time on this earth would be so short. It wasn't fair that her destruction was destiny, doomed by overzealous breeders more worried about profit and fads than conformation.
After months of fighting the constant joint pain, after taking the meds, having the surgeries, visiting the vets, putting up with all the prodding and poking without a sound, it was time. Although she was only four, the joints were eight.
But it was also four years full of tug-of-war and kisses, grandkids and puppy play, cuddles and belly scratches. Dealing with joint pain myself, I truly know the agony she was enduring.
Elbows popping out of socket, coming to find me, trusting that I would help. Standing there while I would put it back in the socket, never complaining, and then giving me a little lick on my nose as a sweet thanks before off to enjoy a few hours of blissful play.
Onne day she looked at me with those deep dark beautiful eyes filled with love. Those eyes told me she was tired, trusting in me to help her rest. And in the end only I was left with the pain.
So how could she be my guardian Angel and be gone so soon? She was supposed to protect me, comfort me, watch over me! I know now that her task was exactly that. Sometimes protecting means letting go. Sometimes comforting requires care and devotion.
Angel knew it was time to let go. She had finished her task. It was time to move on. Between Angel and Raven, they gave us a wonderful life span of a healthy dog.
Between the two of them we were given the gift of companionship, friendship, protection, and the most important, unconditional love. And all she really needed was a hand to pat her head or scratch her belly.
I've been asked if I would get a dog to replace Angel. Most cannot understand how anyone can spend huge amounts of money on puppy food, vet bills, house sitters, just to go through all the emotional roll-a-coaster...
Those individuals have never experienced the joy of having your face covered with kisses just because, or a wet nose pushed under your hand, lifting it up for a pat on the head. Watching a beautiful soul do things just for pure joy.
They will never know the security of being in a big house alone, and you feel safe because you are surrounded by four-legged friends and defenders, ready to sound the alarm as if it's the end of the world, even if it is just the neighbor's cat.
But what about the pain? I believe the amount of pain is measured by the amount of love given. Pain is ours, the emptiness we feel of the loss, the selfishness we have of not wanting them to go. If there weren't any pain, there couldn't be love.
So could I ever replace Angel? No, I could never replace Angel just as she could not replace Raven. But would I get another dog? Without hesitation I can answer yes.
In fact, he came to us a week before Angel left. He's chewing on my foot right now. I will be cleaning up puppy pee and poop for the next several weeks. That's a small price to pay for a package of endless joy.
Max has sweet puppy breath, brown velvet fur and big front feet that get in his way. He makes you laugh so hard you want to cry. Or maybe laugh instead of crying.
You see, Angel was able to impart her wisdom on Max before she left. She was the happiest we had seen her in some time with Max. Puppies can do that to you, make you smile through the pain, in spite of yourself.
It was raining the day I last saw that beautiful coat of black velvet. The rain stopped long enough for her not to get wet.
We chose her favorite sunning spot and sat beside her, giving her all our attention. We wrapped her in a warm Kentucky blanket on that cold, damp day so she could make that safe journey across the rainbow bridge.
She has always known exactly what she was doing; she has helped guide my hand and my soul. She trusted me, and I didn't let her down. I whispered her name, Angel. And both of us never looked back...