I know this. I have sensed their gentle presence on a myriad of occasions, walking quietly at my heels.
They don’t always come, and they never stay for any great length of time….a few seconds, sometimes minutes, and, if I’m VERY lucky, they will pace along for 1/2 mile or so. They are always welcome.
They’re like wisps of mountain mist, tattering amongst the sage and chaparral…..rare, and not quite seen, but gently felt if one reaches out a hand. Sometimes, their presence is so strong that I am compelled to look behind me, down the trail, to see which one of them is following in my footsteps. Often, a name will pop into my head, and I will speak it aloud, to let them know I am aware of their visit.
In life, they were beloved. In death, I love them still. I think this is why they honor me with their occasional visits, to let me know that our bond of love and affection remains strong. I smile when they’re “ghosting” me, but then I cry because I can no longer reach out and pat their heads, or caress those velvet soft ears. In life, they were happy, content dogs, and I know that, whatever realm they occupy now, they’re still happy and safe.
Lucy. Ashley. Wiley. Chickie. Moses. Shortcake. Pip. Otis. Neufi. Tanner. Penelope. Cooper. Ruby Ann. Their names are forever imprinted on my mind, and eternally inscribed on the pages of my heart and soul.
Did Michael Vick’s dogs have names, I wonder, the ones he terrorized to their deaths? I cry for them, too, as I cry for my own, but for a different reason. I cry for the pain and horror they suffered at the hands of “humans.” I can only hope and pray that, if their ghosts are wandering somewhere, it is in a much gentler and more compassionate place than Vick ever afforded them. I am certain, however, that they won’t be returning to haunt his footsteps…..at least, not with love.