Guidance comes in many ways, often ways that don’t make sense, even so, I feel it is important to listen and follow. This intuitional “tail/tale” is a sharing on how one of my pets who had passed-on ,guided me to our next dog. Both were amazing dogs that helped our family through many challenging years.
Here is the extraordinary story of Spirit and Zapherys.
Twenty-one years ago my first husband and I decided to get a second dog for our family, which consisted of five adopted children, a few cats, and our golden retriever named Shanti. The kids, their dad, and I piled in the van and headed to the animal shelter. We prayed together before going in and asked that the dog meant to be in our family would be revealed to us without any doubt. The open cages of the dogs were exposed to us from the outside. We walked around the shelter observing the many shapes, sizes, and colors of dogs all yelling, “pick me” through their unique style of “communication”-barking. Soon we turned a corner of the shelter to find a beautiful, black shepherd-marked dog with blue eyes quietly looking at us with a look and presence that shouted louder than all the other dogs . We knew immediately this was our boy! On our way home we talked about a name for him, and the kids decided on Spirit.
Spirit quickly became a family member and we shared a wonderful 11 years together until ,due to kidney failure ,we had to have him put to sleep. He was an amazing blessing in my life; a shining light through some very tumultuous times, including the ending of my marriage, a move East, and dealing with troubled teens.
Raising struggling teens as a single mother was really difficult, and I felt that adopting another dog would not be helpful to our challenging situation. I told my daughters that we were not going to adopt any more dogs for awhile.
Three months after Spirit had died ,he came to me in a very clear dream and told me there was a dog waiting for us at the animal shelter. I was so deeply moved that I acted on it the next day. When we got to the shelter the woman inquired as to what kind of dog we were looking for. As that was a hard question to answer, we asked if we could just look. We saw a dog that was sweet so we took her for a walk outside, and there we saw this beautiful malamute sitting with a woman. I asked the woman if she was going to adopt the malamute and she condescendingly replied that she hadn’t made up her mind. So we continued our search bringing out three dogs, while the woman and malamute just sat there. I couldn’t figure out why they were just sitting there for so long. Finally ,after what seemed an eternity, she started to go back in with the dog. I called out asking her whether she was going to adopt the dog. She was so annoyed with me she didn’t reply, though her friend snapped back “no.” I ran in and told them that he was our dog! I KNEW this was the dog that Spirit guided us to.
On our way home we named our new 115 pound malamute Zapherys, who turned out to be a very challenging new dog. We took him to the doggy park every day because he would get bored easily and run off or chew things. Through the extra care and attention that Zapherys needed on a day to day basis, my daughters and I were able to establish a unity and connection that otherwise would not have existed through that very challenging time .Through many years of focus and structure, he became this amazing being whose presence in our life was a true blessing in so many ways.
When I travelled he would appear in my dreams looking for me. We had a bond that previously I had never experienced with a dog. Zapherys had been with me twelve years and his aging was becoming quite noticeable. Recently my husband, Roger, and I were scheduled to be gone ten days on a bike ride. However, my intuition told me that I needed to stay home with Zapherys. I joined Roger for the weekend, but canceled the eight days of bike riding. On my flight home ,I got news that Zapherys was sick. I really was glad to have followed my intuition even when it didn’t make sense, as it turned out to be his last days of life. At first the vet’s diagnosis was that he’d been bitten by a spider and we hoped for the best. However, over the next couple of days his health worsened as he howled in pain. I stayed awake and held him his last few days, knowing in my heart that he needed to be free of his suffering. Finally, I made the heart-breaking decision to have him put to sleep. The loss of Zapherys was one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever been through and he will forever have a place in my heart.
Because Roger was away , I wanted to preserve the body so he could say his goodbyes and help with the burial. I contacted an end of life group that I’d just learned of in hopes that they would provide some guidance. It turned out they work with pets as well as people. They came right over and preserved his body in our home with dry ice. I was able to let go and be with death in a whole new and conscious way. The first two days, Zapherys lay there surrounded by beautiful flowers, it was as if he were asleep; then there was the “knowing” in my spirit that he was no longer there. It was as if his body was now an empty shell and his soul had moved on. Days later, I had a dream that I entered a place where dogs were laying all around asleep. Zapherys was there, and I asked a woman if she could wake him up. She said that she could awaken him, but not the other dogs. Zapherys stood up and we ran and played together. He was free, and I as able to say “goodbye”.