We found Chyna as a fist sized puppy awkwardly romping along a highway, inexplicably alone. A common white hound puppy with black spots at random, until she looked up at me and proved to have the clearest, china blue eyes I have ever seen, hence her name. I never had a dog who loved her name as much as she did. Call her and she was coming at a dead run in high joy. High energy, boundless love for her people pack. One of the dogs I have loved most in life, and I have cared for many.
It was hard to lose my Dad this past Winter. I was out of town dealing with that for the family and a short duty turned into a several month long protracted task and while I was gone, my dog, Chyna got let out and never came back. From what my hysterical wife told me, she could hear it out back, Chyna had caught some coyotes on the property and typical blond that she was, attacked alone. My blue eyed girl was gone and buried by the time I got home. I don't talk about it much, as it hurts my wife and daughter, who both feel they killed her for me. I don't let the dogs out at night, unless I let them all out. As a group, they can overcome, especially with me there along with my rifle. But, I was gone for months and it had been ok to break the night rule the other times, until it wasn't.
But, the truth is, I miss her and sense her around at odd times. I finally have stopped saving her the last bite of my sandwiches as I eat at the computer. I grieve for her and my Dad both these days. In silence, because they already know they made a mistake, and we have other dogs, we care for a lot of abandoned ones up here where it is too rural to have a parish pound. Not as if I lack for eager volunteers to lick my hands and beg for cookies.
But, it was funny this weekend. My daughter was out with Beau, our golden retriever plus dog (mutt which looks 90% like a golden) who had been a special pal with Chyna, they'd play this game down in the orchard as if peeking around the trees at each other, like peek a boo. None of the others did that and found it odd it seemed. She said Beau had run down to the orchard and was playing peek a boo with Chyna, just that Chyna wasn't there, right? Could dogs have ghosts?
I weighed what to say for a minute. I finally decided to say that if Beau was playing with Chyna in his mind, either he could see her and she did play with him still, or was remembering and grieving in his own way for her. This sort of platitude worked for her usually, but this time she flopped in the other chair in my office and thought about it, her face sad and talked about her guilt over letting my dog out that night. I assured her I knew what it was like to make a bad choice and really hurt about the results. Often enough I have done it, and there was nothing I could say. She knew it was wrong, and there were consequences, and we would get through it.
"But, what happens when dogs die, Dad? Do they come back as new puppies somewhere?"
I will tell you what I told her. The rationalist answer would be no, you let her out and my two year old darling puppy got killed and that is it, the end. But, you know, I do not believe that myself, and though I try to leave religious ideas open for my kid, I guess it is time to be more specific. I told her what some would say - that no, dogs are just gone when they die and so are people and everything else, but, I did not believe that myself. I believe people live on and as for dogs, I have always thought sure I would see the special ones who really loved me again. I guess I harbor a little of the Rainbow Bridge notion under it all for my past dogs and cats. I do not think about it much, to be honest, and with her eyes on me, blinking tears, I realized how lame that sounds. I needed to do better.
I enjoy listening to Kryon channelings, usually play one a night as I get ready to end the day. If you do not know who he is, he is allegedly an entity who is a part of God who is channeled by Lee Carrol. I am not sure of all he has to say but listening to his words cheers me up tremendously and often gives me things to think about. It certainly is no worse than watching TV these days or reading a some of the forum posts online. One of the roughly 30 minute long channels I listened to recently he actually does answer a question about dogs and pets. According to Kryon, if the dog especially wants to come back to you, it will try to incarnate into a litter born within 90 days of its own passing as close to you as possible. If you find your dog, you can look into the puppy's eyes and know you found the same little dog energy. If you recognize it, then you know.
I told her what he said, and that if you do not find it, it is alright as it will go on and love another person the same. If it does not try to come back to you it still is out there, loving someone who needs a buddy like that, as that is what good dogs do.
Some hope is what I expected for her, not the sudden smile across on her face to hear this.
"We have nine puppies now, Dad, all born within 90 days of when she died in January! She is here, then, Dad! We have to sort which one she is!"
She ran out to play with the puppy crew and I sat there, well able to predict that in a few weeks there would be one or two of these puppies we cannot give away. There always is at least one. Kryon is not to blame for that. He has just become her latest excuse.
I wonder who she will claim is which dog, as we lost Dixie in January also, but my daughter didn't think of that yet. There is one, the runt, who struggles to get to my office from the dog bed the litter is in, doesn't stay with his mates or his Mom except to eat and sleep if I am out of the office. It is strange behavior for such a young puppy whose eyes are barely open. I have to stop what I am doing to silence the cries and carry it back and stash it with the rest, time after time. Once they get mobile it is going to be a real pain in my backside if he persists in the "got to have an adventure/got to be with you, Dad, 24/7" behavior.
That is so exactly Chyna.