A dog named Free

A dog who loved the river, resting after a swim.

Free, In her element by the mountain creek.

I was a young mother and at times, when I look back, I think I grew up with my son.  Sometimes I’d get strange ideas.  Like with getting a dog.  I told him if we were supposed to have a dog (as if everything is predetermined, which I don’t believe is so), that one would probably just come to us.  I told him if the opportunity arose before school started, which was only about ten days later, then I’d think about it.

“$25.00″ read the sign on the side of the large cardboard  box. 

 I don’t know how my son spotted it since we were across the street eating , but he did.  We were at the Apple Chill festival downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

“Mom!  Look!”  And he ran.  He ran fast to the other side of the road and then I heard, “Mom, come here and hurry!”  

Approaching the box I had no clue what was inside.  My son had already spoken with the nice woman standing beside of it.  She was smiling.  He leaned down and came out with a small but fat black furry puppy.  It was the ninth day since I’d said what I had and unknowingly to me,  he had counted the days. 

“It’s the ninth day Mom!”  He placed the puppy in my hands and looked into my eyes.  Very quickly he said here let me take that one and he put it back in the box.  “There she is,” he said.  He picked up another puppy, gently placing  her in my hands.  A smile came across his face instantly and right then tears flowed from my eyes.

I didn’t know why.   I felt something deep inside me.  I knew she had come to us.  I knew too that we needed an extra family member.  Two was not enough.  We needed three and there was our third member, curled up in the cup of my hands just like she had fallen from heaven.

“Can we take her home now?” my son asked.  He hadn’t tried to hold her but instead he wanted me to keep holding her.  “You like her don’t you Mom,” he said with great confidence, and I most certainly did.

“I have some cash in my car,” I told the nice woman selling her puppies at the festival.  “I’ll go and get it.” 

My son’s face glowed. The woman’s eyes teared up.  “You don’t have to pay,” she said.  I can tell you guys are going to give her a wonderful home and that means so much to me.  I can tell you both already love her!”

“Here is eight dollars,” I told her, which was all the cash I had on me.  I offered to pay more but she insisted that we not pay anymore.  She thanked me saying this would cover the puppy shots she had paid for.

Free lived with us as our third and necessary extra family member for 12 years, which is not much time in my time, but a bit in hers.

Most people think she was free, but we named her after a horse from Texas.  Free always reminded me of horses.  She grazed in fields of grass as a pastime and almost always never got sick. 

I’m thinking about Free a lot lately.  Free lived every moment to the fullest.  She engaged in life with every fiber of her being, even in the end she still wanted to experience life, mostly the fresh air outside.  

Free passed with as much glory as she had come to us with, leaving her love and teachings with me forever.

I found a note I wrote shortly after she passed on.  I know it is sad to think about our pets who had to leave Earth, but for me, I cannot forget.

I spent three amazing days with Free shortly before she left this earth.  I spent every day with Free during her life,  but those three days were special.  I stayed with her the entire time.  I lied down as close as I could get with her in the corner.   The Thunder beings came, which always scared Free and I held her close.  I stared into her eyes and I told her all that she meant to me.

People think you’re crazy when you say you can communicate with your dog.  I think people who can’t are kind of strange.

Free sure shared a lot with me.   She was my teacher.  Those three days –Free showed me the world from her view.   I could see life from a place of complete forgiveness, peace and a knowing that it is all okay.

I came across this note I’d written in my diary shortly after Free passed on.

She remains an angel.  

A gift from God

I am humbled 

  My face towards the ground, my head hanging low

I reach for the earth,  the roots run deep

I return to the sky,  the trees stand tall

And this is Free

She is everything beautiful.

Pretty flowers grew and beauty appeared in the woods where no other flowers grew. A healing garden in memory of my best friend, a furry four-legged girl.

A Healing Garden, In Memory of Free

I wish I had time to tell you.

I wish I had time to tell you about Free.  She was a beautiful lab mixed with some Border Collie so of course she was not only beautiful she was highly intelligent!  Smarter than most folks, four-legged or two-legged that I ever knew.

Free was the greatest teacher I’ve ever had.  She left her mark upon this earth and a good one it was!

My Greatest Teacher and most beloved 4legged, Free

Anyone who ever met Free instantly loved her.  “She sure looks like a happy dog,” many people would say.  I always thought it interesting that this is what most people saw when they looked at Free — happiness.

Free was happy when doctors said she ought not be.  “She’s wagging her tail and eating well,” they said with surprise when she had a cancerous tumor on her leg, which I will not talk about.

I can only talk about the happy memories.  The other part is too sad.

In Free’s last days on this earth, she showed me everything.  She showed me a place where things are okay.  A place where everything that happens can, in the end, be okay.  She showed me that the guilt I felt was not needed, even though my heart does still break.

My doctors said I needed antidepressants but I,  instead spent time with Free, lying close to her body, looking into her eyes and listening.  I cried the entire time.   Free showed me everything.  Everything that is beautiful.

I wish I had time to tell you all about it.  I wish I had time, and one day I will.  I’ll tell you about how her spirit came back to visit several times.  I do not believe what people say about dogs not having a spirit.  I just don’t!

Free’s spirit is awesome.  In the darkest moments after she passed she came.  She brought me messages.  The last time I saw her she reminded me of our agreement, which was that I would be okay and that one day I would get another dog.

It feels funny calling Free a dog.

Free’s spirit spoke and moved a woman in my life who is mostly responsible I think for me having the dog I have now.

I know they are dogs.  I know they are canines.  I do not think they are human.  Dogs are however living beings with feelings.  Dogs do actually rule!

I wish I had time to tell you how my good insect hunter I have now came and how Free had her earth angel helping her to help me.

Her earth angel’s name is Tiffany.  I wish I had time too to tell of her.

I don’t usually speak of spirits and angels.  I don’t pretend to understand how life works.  I just know what I’ve experienced.

So one day, when I have time, I will tell you.

I’ll tell you how my dogs save my life pretty much all the time and how it’s just fine for now.  I’ll tell you about how it is a dog that can make me feel needed and how important feeling needed is.

‘kisses