If you aren’t an insane pet lover, or animal lover in general, like me, just stop right here. Because you won’t love and appreciate what I’m writing about today. And you just won’t get it. For the rest of you, whether your love is a cat, a dog, a lizard, a snake, a frog, a chinchilla, a ferret, or even a (gulp) tarantula, read on. This is for you.
Many years ago, I used to be a traveling businesswoman. I didn’t travel all the time but enough that I could pack and go in a moment’s notice. I knew that Pittsburgh was the best airport for clothing shopping because there wasn’t any sales tax. I knew that the Dayton airport was not fun in to winter because you had to make a long walk to get to your rental car. I knew that the Charlotte airport had nice rocking chairs in their atrium. Perfect for a quick snooze in between flights.
What I can’t remember is the airport I was in when I was killing time between flights and found a book that stuck with me forever.
It was called “For Every Dog An Angel” by Christine Davis. It was a sweet little book with comforting words to those who have lost their dog. I stood there with tears in my eyes at the store and gently placed the book back on the shelf. But it stayed with me.
A few years later, my husband and I had to help my mother-in-law say goodbye to her Lhasa Apso, Madison. Madison had been diagnosed with melanoma and passed away very quickly. It was unexpected and devastating for my husband, who had gotten Madison as a puppy. He showed me pictures of Madison the day he brought him home to his mother’s. The day that she said that dog had to go back. That she wasn’t keeping it. Then she held him and a 15 year love affair began.
Saying goodbye was hard for all of us and wanting to reach out to my husband to let him know I understood, I found and bought the book “For Every Dog An Angel.” The words were peaceful and comforting and happy.
The truth is that I didn’t really understand. I’ve grown up with pets all my life. Our house was always overrun with dogs and cats and it seemed we were always saying goodbye to one of them. Some were more difficult than others. But it wasn’t until I was an adult owner of a pet that I really felt the pain.
You see, the book “For Every Dog An Angel” talks about your forever dog. The one you were meant to be with. The one that was chosen especially for you. I didn’t know I had a forever dog until I lost my dear sweet Holden last December.
It’s been almost a year since we said goodbye. He had a rather quick decline in the year or two before he passed away. He lost his hearing. He lost his sight. He had thyroid problems. The medications he was on made him have “accidents” more often than not. We couldn’t travel anywhere. I had to carry him all the time. It was frankly pretty miserable. But that’s what you do when you accept a pet as part of the family.
When Holden’s time came, as awful as it sounds, I completely expected to feel sadness but also a sense of relief that my burden had been relieved. While day to day life became easier, I never expected the hole in my heart that I’ve carried around since that day. I now know that Holden was and is my forever dog. He’s the one dog who completes me. While I have plenty of room in my heart for other pets (and yes, I have many more), the void he left will never be filled.
Christine Davis who writes and illustrates all of her books captured those exact thoughts so well and so completely in her books “For Every Dog An Angel” and “For Every Cat An Angel.” I re-read them and found so much more meaning. New meaning. And I love them so much that anytime I know someone who loses a pet that was special to them, I send them a copy of the books.
She has also written two new books that I’m thrilled to share with you.
“The Shelter Dog” has a special place in my heart as every one of my pets has been secondhand. Whether it’s a rescue group, or a shelter, or the side of the road, I know that the pets I bring into my home and heart have chosen me as much as I’ve chosen them. And you’ll never find a more grateful pet. Christine celebrates how one dog with an imperfection finds a perfect home with a human who can truly appreciate them. It completely melted my heart.
And in time for the holidays, there another book called “Old Dog and the Christmas Wish” about an old dog spending his life on a chain and wanting to have a purpose. Living in North Carolina, I have all too often seen dogs spend their entire life on a chain never knowing what it means to be part of a family. This book shares the story of an old forgotten dog, a Christmas wish, and the miraculous power of a true and loving heart. I plan to make reading it part of my Christmas family tradition.
I love Christine’s books so much that I contacted her directly and asked if she would allow me to share her wonderful books with my readers. And in a true and loving spirit, she agreed!