Angels Among Us

Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Each morning as I leave the house I am greeted by my dogs, Muffin and Rudy. I usually bend over and hug them both. I thought I had only recently began this little ritual but discovered differently last summer during Mom and Dad’s anniversary party. Old pictures had been posted on tagboard and one of them was me bent over and hugging my dog. It was apparent that a dog in my life has always been like an Angel on my shoulder.

Before Muffin and Rudy came along my best friend was a Shepherd/cross dog named Buddy. Buddy always accompanied me whether on walks or cutting wood. One day while we gathered wood along the railroad I saw a train approach. I called Buddy over and held him tightly as the train passed. Buddy wiggled away from me and was killed while I watched. I had never known real sadness until that moment. Susan Halverson was my boss at the time and called to offer condolences and extra time off if I needed it. My family called as if there had been a death in the family. There had been. My wife at the time finally helped me get passed my sadness. She told me that she had planned to leave me that month but Buddy’s death had convinced her to stay to help me. We eventually divorced but the time Buddy bought for us allowed us to work some things out and leave as friends. Buddy exists now in my mind as he did then-an Angel.

I have no sad stories about my current pair of dogs. I hope the only sad story I can ever tell is that they only lived until the age of nineteen instead of twenty. Muffin is very easy-going but Rudy is a middle-aged puppy who is quite possessive. Muffin recently arrived at my door early so was hugged first. This did not sit well with Rudy at all. As I hugged muffin I noticed the shadow of a three-legged dog on the snow in front of me. I turned my gaze in time to see a cascading stream of urine as proof that Rudy had decided to cock his leg and make claim of me in a most ancient canine way. Now I’ve observed Rudy fail at this same little trick with everything from a pile of old twine to a pail of feed so I know he’s a terrible aim. I let out a little yelp, however and our eyes both met. Rudy’s gaze belied the fact he knew he had chosen the wrong approach to gain my favor. I was too shocked to do anything but give thanks that his aim hadn’t improved. Considering our relationship and his doggy ways it almost seemed logical.(appealed to the Vulcan in me-I guess)

Do Angels exist? Yes. Do they have wings? I don’t think it really matters. I do believe that those who make us feel special, help us appreciate life and give love without strings have some angel in them. The next time a dog makes you cry, calms you in a tough time, loves you to death or makes you laugh until you’re sick-consider your definition of an Angel. I know I will.