A friend called me yesterday sobbing, letting me know that she was going to have to put her dog down in the evening. I had been out of town teaching for three weeks so I was unaware that Pokey’s health had taken a turn. I was touched that she called to let me know how she was doing and also so that I could say my final regards to Pokey.
I have known Deb and Pokey for ten years. We initially met at work but then wound up living in the same neighborhood as well so Deb, Pokey and I have been on many walks.
As I sat on the floor with Deb and Pokey yesterday, another neighbor came by with her dog to pay their respects. I recognized the neighbor and knew that she had lost a dog, Rocky awhile back. “I’ve spoken with a pet psychic and apparently Rocky is going to come down and guide Pokey to heaven,” she started saying to us. “Show him the ropes. Teach him where all the good dog parks and biscuits are.” Then she spoke directly to Pokey, “And the other dogs from our neighborhood who have moved on are all waiting for you, Pokey. They will be your welcoming committee.” A tear rolled down my eye as this woman rattled on. “Did he get ice cream and extra biscuits?” she asked Deb. Deb nodded in agreement. I hadn’t thought of that.
I stared down at Pokey. Despite searing arthritis that made it now impossible to walk she still tried to jump up and greet me when I entered the room. And despite dementia that apparently had been giving her panic attacks at night, she stared up at Deb and I with such love and happiness simply to be in our company. Oh, how loyal dogs can be. “She has taught me so much,” Deb said tearfully.
As Pokey was escorted by Rocky and the angels last night I couldn’t help but marvel at how interconnected we all are. And I again felt blessed to live in a neighborhood where people really are neighbors and care for one another. And yes, I do live in Southern California believe it or not.