Dogs and Angels
my last note, I retold some Blavatsky stories LINK about elephants and
donkeys. This time, I wish to pay a little tribute to my own best
My friend Bodhi died a fortnight ago. She was
just shy of 16 years which is pretty old for a large dog, part Akita.
Bodhi was a real trooper and lived two winters longer than reasonably
expected. By her last two months, she was unable to move her back legs
at all. Her owner helped her in and out of the house. She also
submitted to wagon rides to “get some air” in her last weeks.
most of her life, Bodhi was called Maggie. A few months ago, she was
renamed Bodhi, which means enlightenment. Her owner thought sometimes
she was moving in that direction.
Maggie came into my life eight
years ago and into my home 4 years ago. She had some good retirement
years in Harlowton, MT. On arrival here, Maggie had some adjustments to
make not least of which was adapting to a new master.
been a somewhat confused guard dog for a high stress family in a nearby
city. At first, Maggie was always On Duty, barking and menacing
passersby. She caught a rabbit once on a run-walk on the edge of town.
But then, she didn’t know what to do with the poor creature.
had been around few people and fewer dogs in the past. Here, she rubbed
noses with a few dogs and became accepting of people who were almost
uniformly taken by her. “Such a beautiful dog.”
Bodhi loved to
run and sniff and kept a close eye on the property and her master until
her vision failed and energy waned. She also loved chicken and turkey
bones, pork and beef bones, deer and elk bones. Last winter, Bodhi
consumed the ribs and vertebral bones of four deer and one elk. She
could have downed more, but her owner’s supply ran out.
was always thrilled to walk and run any time of day or night. But, my
favorite memory of this Akita Inu (Japanese for Akita dog) is of her
staring - practically meditating - for hours on end across the fence to
the next yard. When not thus involved, she often wandered over in that
direction in hopes that our neighbor, Loren, would have dropped some
bones or other edibles into Bodhi’s area of control. It never failed
that she made a move to that spot on our return from a walk in the
Bodhi had a hard time dying. She didn’t want to let go.
I think she was addicted to the neighbor’s bone gifts and her master’s
reasonably good cooking. Eventually, she stopped eating for three days.
Then, drinking water for one day. She died in the dining room.
find myself talking to her from time to time. She was a pretty good
listener. I do miss Bodhi. But since all dogs go to heaven, I am sure
she is in good hands and well tended.
ago, I read Mari Grana’s book called Pioneer Doctor. The book was about
her grandmother, Dr. Mollie Atwater. Mari told the story of Mollie
attending medical school in Chicago and walking home to her apartment
late one night after Haymarket Square bombings (1886). Mollie worried
for safety when some toughs approached her.
“Suddenly out of
the night two huge German shepherds appeared. Each positioned himself
on either side of me and guarded me as I walked down the block past the
toughs, who swerved to the side without a word. I could see that the
men were afraid. The dogs walked beside me for another block or so
until the gang was out of sight and I was almost home. Then they
disappeared back into the night from wherever they had come.”
in life, Mollie’s husband Charles remarked quite rightly, “I always
suspected that dogs are really angels in disguise. Or is it angels are
dogs in disguise?”
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