(With apologies to Mr Milne):
You may know we have two dogs, Laddy and Phyllis. Our boy, Laddy, is dying. I am trying not hate it, but it’s hard- and it’s not going to change.
It breaks our hearts, because he is such a good boy. He was the dog of my friend Ed, whom I had the privilege of being with- as was Laddy, when he died in intensive care. We took Laddy in after. He’s an English Shepherd that sleeps outside the bedroom door to protect us. He barks fiercely when the doorbell rings. He follows whoever is on the move in the house- but mostly Ken. He always wants to be with one of us, usually me when I’m working, and Ken when he goes outside.
But he never stops watching Phyllis- much to her consternation.
I’ve noticed the way he looks out for us, protects us all. We all see it.
Well, except Phyllis. She can’t stand him.
It’s mostly because he came late into our home and disrupted everything- the Queen of the house, Miss Phyllis, was ticked.
“Here was someone who took the attention I was used to having. This guy HERDS me! He’s always behind- pushing me. I was so mad once I ripped apart his ear.”
‘I know, Phyllis, but you are and always will be my favorite,’I said.
“Prove it”, she said.
‘How?’ I asked.’
“Please never leave me”, she said, looking with those soulful eyes into mine.
I was stuck. I didn’t know what to say.
“You have to promise me”, she insisted.
‘How can I promise if I don’t know if it’s even possible?’
“Maybe if you promise, it will be possible”, she said.
‘Ok. Fine. I have nothing to lose, and I want to believe that it is true, so maybe if I make a promise it will work. Ok,
Laddy entered the room and came over and layed down in a place where he could watch both of us. “What were you talking about?” Laddy asked.
“Oh, we were just promising to never leave each other,” Phyllis sniffed.
“Interesting,” said Laddy. “You know I’m leaving soon…”
“Yes, I try not to think about that” said Phyllis. “But that doesn’t apply to Papa Greg and me- we’re soulmates.”
Laddy sighed. “I know you hate me Phyllis- but I love you. I always will.”
“I don’t hate you”, said Phyllis. “you just annoy me.”
“Well, you at the very least hate my ear- it will never be the same.”
“I apologized about that”, she said- and sniffed again.
“We’re all doing the best we can,” Laddy said. “But I’m still leaving- and things will never be the same.”
“I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THAT!” Phyllis yelled.
“But it’s true, nothing will ever be the same.”
“And that’s awful,” said Phyllis.
“Is it? Why can’t it be wonderful?”
“How could you dying ever be wonderful?”
“I guess by the same logic that it’s awful,” Laddy sighed. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. I believe that it’s wonderful.”
“But everyone says it’s terrible,” said Phyllis.
“Doesn’t make it true,” said Laddy. “I believe that we are connected, that we’ll see each other again.”
“That’s ridiculous, “said Phyllis.
“Maybe to you,” said Laddy, “but I believe in love.
All dogs believe in love- that’s why we’re so awesome.
I think you forgot.”
“No, I didn’t!” shrieked Phyllis. “I believe in love for Papa Greg more than anything! He’s my soulmate!”
“Take that love and spread it around. It’s infinite. You can share it with everyone, and it won’t diminish your love for Mr Greg.”
“It won’t?” asked Phyllis.
“It can’t. It never runs out. It always comes back to life- even though it may not have been really dead in the first place. How does love die?”
“It doesn’t. That’s my point,” said Phyllis. “Papa Greg and I will always be together.”
“I think so, too. But maybe you’re together in a different way?”
“That’s the point. We don’t know. We love. We trust. And we don’t mistake death for the end- because love never dies. I know you believe that. That’s what makes you love Mr Greg and Mr Ken so much…. That will never go away.”
“Oh”, said Phyllis. “I feel better now. I think I get it. My loves will always be with me. You will always be with me.
But, please, when I see you again, will you stop herding me like a sheep so much?
I am NOT a sheep!”