godThis morning I glimpsed Heaven….

Maybe not the Heaven I’m supposed to imagine, the one of Pastor Rick Warren’s description, where I am not welcome… It was my vision of Heaven.

diva11Last night my fellow pet sitter, Kelli, called me in tears. One of her favorite dogs had finally passed away. Godiva, or “Diva” as we called her, was an old shepherd mix that had wandered onto the owner’s property 12 or 13 years ago and never left.

diva32Diva spent her last days torturing her already tortured hips, walking around the property, looking after the two black outdoor cats, Arrow and Shadow, and soaking up any human attention that came her way. She’d spent her life contentedly exploring and protecting her little acre on a Florida lakefront property, and when it got either too hot or too cold, Kelli made an extra effort to make sure that Diva had the shelter she needed.

But last night, Diva finally gave up. Her organs began to shut down and her owner took her to the emergency vet. It wasn’t long before the struggle was over. Kelli made the trip to try to see her before she died but didn’t make it in time. She told me she was actually somewhat relieved that the owner had been home after worrying for the past year that she’d arrive at Diva’s house to find that she had died alone.

diva22The vet let her spend a few moments with Diva’s weary, smelly, matted old body as a little cat who hangs out at the hospital wound it’s way around Kelli’s legs, tickling her and making her giggle inappropriately. Maybe that was Diva’s way of reminding Kelli to feel joy around animals at all times, whether they could live forever or not.

This morning I awoke and took my own dogs out into the yard. As we walked toward the pond out in back, I gasped. The early morning light had not yet illuminated the world in a way that I could distinguish contour, but the bright sky with its scattered pinkish clouds was reflected on the water flawlessly, creating an illusion of infinite height and eternal depth.

Though I knew it was the silhouette of my lab, Murphy, standing at the side of the pond, in my mind I saw Diva, standing strong and healthy, surveying her world and feeling proud of her place in it.

If that wasn’t Heaven, I don’t want to know what is…

  1. cyndi ingle
    January 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    this is an amazing and beautiful account ellen. i love your writing style!

  2. January 4, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    It’s so hard when beloved animals die whether they are ours or just one we felt close to. They touch our hearts and accept us unconditionally. It was a coincidence that I read this tonight, and I had a ache in my heart earlier while thinking about our dog that die almost 2 years ago. He was such a love and went way before his time.

    BTW, I’ve missed your posts. Glad you’re back writing again after your “holiday break.”

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