“$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.