10 days after the vet confirmed that she was pregnant, Katy gave birth to seven puppies. She did her best to have them on my bed, but I kept her in a whelping box, and was there to catch each pup as it made its way into this world.
As time to rehome them grew closer, the panic inside me grew. I’d never had puppies before. No one ever told me how to not fall madly in love with them. They were beautiful, boundless bundles of absolute joy, and I needed that so much at that time.
I couldn’t do it. I bought a house in an “unsavory” part of town because I was a single high school teacher and couldn’t afford much, and it had a quarter acre for my babies to live and play on. I kept them all: Katy-Mama, and Despereaux; “The Other Puppy” became O.P., pronounced “Opie;” and “The Chunky Puppy” became “Chunk.”
A few years after I moved into my house, my health took a dramatic downturn. I lost my job, and slumped into quite a depression. My dogs gave me a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. No matter how low I felt, they were always there to kiss me and love me even when I barely had energy to feed them.
I was finally diagnosed with an immune deficiency disorder in 2016, and my health improved dramatically with proper treatment. I had also met the man of my dreams and we moved to North Carolina for a job offer that he couldn’t refuse. With an immune disorder, teaching in a classroom was no longer an option for me, so I took a job as a book keeper at a small auto repair shop in Raleigh
It took some time to earn health benefits from my employer. I could not afford the IV infusions that I require to maintain a normal immune system. In December of 2017, I came down with encephalitis and had a series of mini-strokes. I am now disabled.
My fiance’s job has changed to a work-from-home position, so we had been planning the move from NC to NV for several months before Covid barged onto the scene. NV is closer to family, so it seemed wise to move there for my health.
My dogs are old, now. Opie and Despereaux will be 12 years old on December 21. Chunk, sadly, did not make the journey from NC. I am responsible for his death, because since the encephalitis, stressful situations cause memory and decision-making issues. I left my babies in the van for a moment, and the moment slipped away from my damaged brain. I cannot describe the scene when I returned to the van. My three beautiful mutts were in serious distress and it was my fault. Fortunately, other people who could think were there and could take control of the situation and get them cooled down. We thought they would all be ok, but though Chunk seemed to be doing all right, he was gone within a few hours.
And that’s when the magic began to show itself.
On the left side of the road on a bluff, sat a huge sculpture of the silhouette of a wolf. I felt Chunk nudging me with his gigantic nose the way he often did when he wanted attention. “Ok, Buddy. I’m listening,” I thought.
But it’s even more magical than that. I didn’t realize it until I was speaking with my counselor, recently, and telling her about my vision and the dream catcher, but that eagle that you see, there? That’s Papa.
When Papa passed, his wife asked me to create a graphic for his memorial brochure. She told me he had a real passion for eagles, so this image to the right is the image she asked me to create. Now look at that dreamcatcher I just had to have. There’s my Papa watching over my loves, and all of them watching over me.
I bought that dream catcher. It connects me to real magic. It is real magic. It is Love. God is Love. Love is the only True Magic in the universe.