When I was a younger woman... new to the Air Force... I went looking for a puppy. Like most kids I was unconcerned with the quality of the breeder or the pedigree of the dog. I wanted a companion that looked good and would love to go to the beach with me, ( I was stationed in Panama City Fl. at the time... say no more right?) What I found in the paper was a litter of Dalmatian puppies. "Cool," I thought "they like to swim." So, I went to pick my pup from a backyard breeder and that's how I got Maggie.
Maggie was my constant companion and friend and I suppose I gave her the worst case of separation anxiety known to mankind. When she was a puppy, I carried her in a picnic basket, even sneaking her into work with me from time to time, (yes... these are your tax dollars... but we don't judge here.) Still, I had to leave her sometimes and when I did... oh boy! The litany; shoes, chickens, Skoal (don't ask),fiberglass insulation, two blocks of rat poison, one diamond earring and a porcupine. (Sounds a bit like "Marley and Me" right?... I know I was shocked too.) But, Maggie was more like my sister than my dog and we grew up together. We drove together all the way from Florida to Alaska... onto the maritime ferry... and up the Al-Can Highway. The first time she saw snow, was one of the most inexplicably beautiful sights I have ever seen. I loved her deeply. She was the most loving and loyal dog I have ever known.
When Maggie was 14, her body riddled with arthritis, we were forced to make the most impossible decision a dog parent has to make. Further, this was not something my husband could help with... she was my girl and it was my choice. I had always said that I would nurse her through the pain until God decided to call her home. Yet there came a day, which many who had gone before me said there would be, when I saw the fear and pain in her eyes and knew what I had to do. As odd as it sounds... it was the most painful separation of my life. In Edgar Sawtelle we see the separation of Edgar and Almondine explained like this...
" Others dreamed of finding a person in the world whose soul was made in their mirror image, but she and Edgar had been conceived nearly together, grown up together,and however strange it might be, she was his other."
The author then goes on to explain the way that Almondine loved her boy saying he was,
"her essence, her soul."
I believe in soul mates. I also believe that God gave us dogs as a way of understanding his perfect love. What better example of grace, faithfulness and loyalty do we have, here on Earth, than a dog? I loved her very much and hope to feel her presence again when I am in eternity. It was good to know that "Edgar Sawtelle's" author had also pondered the depths of love that can exist between dog and man. I felt a great comfort in that and I hope all of you readers out there do as well.