7: An Angel on Earth

7: An Angel on Earth

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

An Angel on Earth

Angels have no philosophy but love.

~Adeline Cullen Ray

It began as a normal weekend jaunt to the local flea market. I pulled my old, red VW into a parking space. My husband got out and started walking over to a pickup truck parked a few spaces down. As I approached the truck bed, I saw a litter of six Rottweiler/ black Lab puppies. My husband already had one in his arms, but I told him there was no way that we could get another dog.

I was rational: “We just lost our last dog two months ago. We live in a tiny apartment. We can’t afford a big dog.”

He reluctantly put the puppy back into the truck. We strolled around the flea market. Everywhere we turned, there was a little kid holding one of the puppies, trying to sell it to the other browsers. It really began to bother me. They were cute.

My husband pleaded his case as we got closer to our car to leave: “Please? I promise I’ll take care of it!”

He was pitiful. I was looking at a grown man who had suddenly morphed into a five-year-old. But, I did miss having a little fur-face around the house. I told him to ask the guy if he’d sell us a puppy for twenty-five dollars, thinking he would turn it down. I went back to the car to sit and wait. Five minutes later, my husband got into the car, along with a puppy.

He was jet black with a Rottie body and cropped tail. Although he was itty-bitty, he had huge paws. I looked down at those big brown, soulful eyes. What had we gotten ourselves into? We named him Jack.

I was teaching at the time, and on spring break, so it was convenient for me to house-train Jack. He was completely housebroken in two days. He was very intelligent. I had always thought my previous dogs were smart, but they were nothing compared to Jack.

I taught him some basic tricks. He learned so easily that many nights my husband would come home from work only to discover that I’d taught Jack yet another trick. He was the best of both breeds, and we marveled at him.

Jack loved squeaky toys and had a big wicker laundry basket filled with them. Every evening, he’d do what we called The Toy Parade—one by one, he’d grab a toy and squeak it non-stop while parading in front of us and wagging his little bunny tail. Although he had over fifty different toys, if we told him to get a particular one, he’d run to the basket and dig around until he found the right one.

Three years later, I was pregnant with our first child. In my fifth week, I began to bleed and was put on total bed rest, which meant I lay on the couch. I was beyond stressed out, but I followed doctor’s orders and would not leave the couch except to go to the bathroom. Not only was I worried about the baby, I had just lost my mother a few months before and it weighed heavily on my mind.

As soon as my husband left for work, Jack would take his place on the floor beside me. He’d entertain me once in a while by bringing me a toy to throw for him. Mostly, he kept vigil.

One day, I was overly melancholy. I lay on the couch praying to God to protect the baby, yet I felt so alone. I missed my mom terribly and wished she were there with me. I ended up in tears and fell asleep from exhaustion.

I had no idea how long I slept, but I heard a familiar harumphsigh. I turned my head to see Jack sitting just inches from my face, his whole body wiggling as he sat on his big Rottie butt, wagging his little tail. He rose to his feet, gave me a big slurpy lick across my face and then barked. I opened my eyes and could not believe what I saw. My whole body and the couch were covered with all of his toys. From my chest all the way down to my toes, this dog covered me tenderly with his most prized possessions. He swaddled me with a “toy blankie.” I grabbed him and held onto him, laughing and crying at the same time.

I ended up having a miscarriage, but Jack was there to see me through it all. He was with us for eight beautiful years. I believe God sent him to us for a reason.

~Jodi Sykes

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