21: Dropped from Heaven

21: Dropped from Heaven

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Dropped from Heaven

Dogs are miracles with paws.

~Attributed to Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy

I had just come home from the hospital. As I stepped out of the car, I was assaulted by a pair of huge paws and a wet, lapping tongue. In less than a minute, I was sitting on the driveway, receiving the biggest tongue licking of my life! My heart immediately belonged to that dog. In spite of our search for his owner, no one claimed him. It was like he had been dropped from heaven, and maybe he was.

Sam did more than change my life; he became my guardian angel. My convalescence from a serious illness was supposed to take place at home, under the care of my husband, a first class petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Louie had been given thirty days emergency leave from his ship for the sole purpose of caring for me. I was so thankful as Louie cooked, cleaned, and took care of our two young daughters.

My doctor had spoken to Louie’s commanding officer, personally explaining my illness and need for constant care. The commander assured my doctor that Louie would get the leave. All that my husband had to do was check out from the ship Monday morning. So when Louie left for the ship, we were both certain that he would be home by noon. I could take care of myself for a few hours, and I could use that time to get to know my new puppy.

Mid-day came and went, and Louie did not come home. Then it was two o’clock. Perhaps he had to finish up things. Four o’clock arrived. Then five, and six, and seven. Finally, the phone rang. It was Louie. He was on the ship, and it was leaving. His emergency leave had been canceled, and he had only a moment to call and say goodbye. My husband was sick about it, but he had no choice in the matter.

What many civilians do not understand is that emergency leave for a service member is at the commanding officer’s discretion. So, sick wife or no sick wife, Petty Officer Lewis was ordered back to duty. The ship went out to sea, and I was alone.

I don’t remember much about that week. I was sick, helpless, and afraid. My young children did the best they could for me. Neighbors came and went, but the only thing I remember is Sam. He never left my side. I stayed on the couch, except to go to the bathroom. I don’t know if I ate or drank. But I can still feel the pressure of Sam’s body leaning against me, and I can still feel the scrape of his tongue on my face. He hovered near me every moment. At one point, when I began to lose consciousness, Sam barked wildly and licked my face, bringing me to. He made me laugh, and I clung to the reality of Sam.

God took care of everything. I needed someone, and God sent me Sam. In time I recovered, and our family was reunited. Sam remained a member of our family for years. Though it’s been nearly twenty years since I last hugged that blessed dog, Sam will always be a part of my heart. I’m certain that Sam is frolicking in some snowy part of heaven, looking forward to seeing me again.

~Jaye Lewis

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