“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
~~ Will Rogers
I have loved animals since I was a wee child. I’ve had just about every pet imaginable. Dogs, cats, birds (budgies, canaries, finches), turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, snakes, fish, water dogs (a kind of salamander), turtles (box, painted, snapping), iguanas, chameleons, tadpoles and frogs, hermit crabs, rabbits and I am sure there is something I am forgetting. Has to be!
In that mixture there have been some beloved animals. But for some reason, that’s what my pets were. Animals. I loved them for sure, but I somehow…stood apart from them.
And then came Sarah Jane.
I don’t know what happened, but it was love at first sight.
I was at a Gay Pride event eight years ago. My husband was at home. He could do a few hours of crowds, but that was it. Me? I thrive in the rush and xxx. So I went early and set up our picnic blanket and umbrella and started exploring before he joined me. Soon I arrived at the four or five rescue services. I’d been trying to talk R into a dog for a couple years but had been meeting with resistance. Well! He wasn’t there, so I looked to see that they had. Sadly for me all they had was big dogs—and that’s just not what I am into.
A lady at the final place I looked started talking to me and soon decided I was just the kind of person they were looking for. She asked me what my dream dog might be. I told her either a dachshund or a Yorkie. She laughed and told me to come back in an hour.
So curious, I did. She ran to meet me and told me not to get my hopes up, but “she” didn’t like men very much. She?
She led me to the open-topped kennel and there “she” was. My future Sarah Jane. And to the astonishment of everyone in the tent, she went wild! Barking and jumping up and down and wagging her tail faster than a metronome.
The lady asked me if I wanted to hold her and I told her I couldn’t possibly. If I did I would never be able to put her down. That I had to wait until my husband looked at her.
A few hours later R arrived. We ate and then began to stroll. And after a few moments R asked my why I seemed to be leading him to the rescue shelters. “Oh, no reason,” I said innocently (I wasn’t fooling anyone), and took him to Sarah Jane’s kennel. She was barking like crazy once again. R took one look, his shoulders slumped, and he melted.
“Honey, have you seen if she’ll play with you? It would break your heart if we adopt her and she doesn’t want anything to do with you.”
“No, I knew she would be mine if I so much as touched her. I was waiting for you.”
The lady from the shelter approached. “Is this your husband?”
So we lay in the grass and the lady let Sarah Jane out of her kennel and she dashed up to me at the speed of light. Then to all our surprise, she stopped, looked at me, nodded once (I swear), and turned around and jumped in Raymond’s lap and flopped over onto her back showing her little tummy.
That was it. R was lost.
“She sure knew who to suck up to, didn’t she?” the lady asked.
And so Sarah Jane came into our lives. It’s because of her I know that there is a God. I see the Divine in her eyes. As the weeks and months passed, I found a whole new reverence for all animals and all living things. I would find myself locking eyes with other dogs, with horses, and all manner of animals. Once a bat somehow got into the huge building where I work and when my Evil Team Lead decided to try and whack it out of the air with a broom I screamed and got in the way of his swing.
It’s like of like Sarah Jane was the parrot who taught Dr. Doolittle how to speak to the animals. She taught me the holiness of all life.
And now she is my constant companion and the light of my life. She sits next to me all the time. She’s here as I write this. And I love her dearly (even if she got into the bag of Millano pumpkin cookies I was saving while I was at work).
She teaches me selflessness and patience and so much more.
Today I am grateful for my little bit of God, Sarah Jane.