Category Archives: Pets

Where Angels Are

red fern

I recently asked my daughter, who devours as many books as possible on any given day, if any of the books she’s read recently are about blessings in disguise. She said she didn’t know and I went back to the drawing board. She bounded into the dining room a minute later, however, to let me know that she thought of something.

“Where the Red Fern Grows,” she told me.

“Is it about good things that happen even through bad times?” I asked her. I had read that book so long ago all I could remember was that it was about a dog, and it was sad because a dog died.

“Yes.”

“Did a dog die?”

“Both of them died,” my daughter told me, “but then a red fern grew where they died.”

“Why was that special?” I asked.

“Because of the legend,” Jessica answered. I asked her to get me the book, and while she was searching for it, I Googled it. It went like this:

“I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies. The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern, and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.”

I found that quote courtesy of Goodreads. That particular quote got 27 “likes.” The following quote got more likes than any other for the book – 61 likes:

“After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches. 

I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: “You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.” 

I’m surprised my daughter thought of that book. It’s not the more obvious kind of “blessing in disguise” — to lose a pet, two of them actually. But then I thought that, regardless of the pain and sorrow of loss, love is always worth it, a thousand times over. And then some. Love is its own blessing. Its own reward.

And in that place where love is, angels are. And it is always sacred.

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Sacred Love

red fernI asked my daughter, who devours as many books as possible on any given day, if any of the books she’s read recently are about blessings in disguise. She said she didn’t know and I went back to the drawing board. She bounded into the dining room a minute later, however, to let me know that she thought of “Where the Red Fern Grows.”

“Is it about good things that happen even through bad times?” I asked her. I read that book so long ago all I could remember was that it was about a dog, and it was sad because a dog died.

“Yes.”

“Did a dog die?”

“Both of them died,” my daughter told me, “but then a red fern grew where they died.”

“Why was that special?” I asked.

“Because of the legend,” Jessica answered. I asked her to get me the book, and while she was searching for it, I Googled it. It went like this:

“I had heard the old Indian legend about the red fern. How a little Indian boy and girl were lost in a blizzard and had frozen to death. In the spring, when they were found, a beautiful red fern had grown up between their two bodies. The story went on to say that only an angel could plant the seeds of a red fern, and that they never died; where one grew, that spot was sacred.”

I found that quote courtesy of Goodreads. That particular quote got 27 “likes.” The following quote got more likes than any other for the book – 61 likes:

“After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches. 

I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: “You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.” 

I’m surprised my daughter thought of that book. It’s not the more obvious kind of “blessing in disguise” — to lose a pet, two of them actually. But then I thought that, regardless of the pain and sorrow of loss, love is always worth it, a thousand times over. And then some. Love is its own blessing. Its own reward.

And in that place where love is, angels are. And it is always sacred.

[Read the full story at “A Purposed Life” via Sacred Love.]

A Hamster in Heaven

HamsterMy daughter’s eighth birthday was approaching and I had the perfect idea for a gift. A hamster. I suggested it to my husband and he wasn’t so sure. “The kids are so young,” he pointed out. “What will they do when it dies?”

“That’s part of life,” I answered. “They have to learn about it sometime.” That might sound calloused, but I didn’t mean it that way. I just remembered that some of the deepest things I learned about life and love were intertwined with loss or death. Maybe because it’s times like those that we realize how deep love really is … and how enduring.

We got the hamster. Jessica named him Buttercup because at first she thought it was a girl. (Well, at first it was a girl but that’s another story.) Her birthday gift was a winner and it took a few days for her brain to wrap around the fact that she had a little pet to care for and love.

Buttercup became a part of our family. His bright, inquisitive nature fit in just perfectly. He was very friendly for a hamster and the kids had a lot of fun with him.

You probably noticed I’m writing in past tense referring to the little critter. Buttercup died last night. You know how it is when you know something is bound to happen eventually yet you assume it never will? Yeah, me too.

Jessica was doing homework in my room while I was in their room at the computer. While I was editing, I heard a strange recurring noise somewhere behind me. Finally I tuned into it and realized it was coming from the hamster’s cage. I peeked inside his little sleeping spot and he was breathing hard, labored. His body was unresponsive when I picked him up.

I called Jessica and she cried as she asked me if we could take him to a vet. I knew there was no hope for such a little thing so obviously taking his last breaths, but I wrapped him in a warm cloth and tried giving him water and then ground-up pellet-porridge with an eye dropper. I held him until he stopped breathing less than half an hour later.

Then I held Jessica as she said goodbye to her little pet. I told her about a hamster I had when I was 12, and that I cried when it died. She asked what we should do with the body and I told her we could bury him in the backyard. Then she asked if she could sleep with me, and I said sure.

We prayed for the night and Jessica fell asleep quickly, waking up from her half-asleep state to say something about Buttercup with angels and happy in Heaven. I told her I’m sure he is.

Life on earth. Followed by death. That part of existence we feel will never come and often live as if it won’t, yet still it does. Death. Another beginning, yet so often seen as the final act. The end.

But nothing truly loved is forever lost. And though we cannot see it, the end is the beginning.