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I had a dog partner named Copper and he was an amazing dog. So amazing, in fact, that he and I had planned a whole series of books together with titles such as "Power to the Plants" and "Lost in the Forest." Copper wrote his first and only book soon after I adopted him from the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Cancer caught him before he could write another. But Copper knew that he had a mission. Many times before his death Copper reminded me of his mission, his duty and his purpose. One of the last things he said to me before he passed was, "My books!"
Copper was taken from me at the young age of nine years. He did not want to go, but the cancer in his chest was choking him. He fought hard and wanted to live. Just before he breathed his final breath he said with a determination that I will not forget, "I ll be back! I am coming right back!"
About two months after his passing, I felt a strong intuitive nudge to telephone the Humane Society. Ah ha, I thought, a golden retriever may be available. Princess, a golden retriever rescued by Save A Mexican Mutt (SAMM), a rescue organization based in Mexico, had arrived a few months before Copper's passing, and it did seem that she was enough for now. Yet...I telephoned the Humane Society here at Mt. Shasta. "No, it would be a rarity to have a golden retriever here," I was told. "I am sorry...but wait. We have just rescued a golden retriever-husky litter. The pups are just a few weeks old." My heart just about stopped. Copper had been a golden retriever-husky mix!
I visited the kennel several times a week. After the first few visits, I knelt down with the pups and asked my question, "Are any of you Copper? If so, let me know." Instantly, the smallest of the litter spoke up. "I write books," he said. Oh, my gosh, I thought. "Okay, tell me one more thing if you are Copper." The little fellow pushed forward, looked at me with Copper's eyes and said, "Listen to the Land." That was the title of his first and only book!
Copper is back. He is four months old now and has rejoined our family. His new name -- the name he has chosen -- is King. And he will be called Kingsley for a little while. King is such a big name for such a little fellow.
I will be writing his story soon and when
it is finished, you will hear about it. The working title is
Copper: The True Story of a Medicine Dog.
At one time I shared my home with a sweet cat named Mitzie. Mitzie had short, gray hair with flecks of brown and beige, and was the companion to my housemate, Naomi. Sometimes my large tiger cat, Honey, would chase Mitzie around the house, so Naomi decided to keep Mitzie confined to her bedroom. Mitzie did not seem particularly happy about this, but Naomi felt it was best for her. After a couple of years, Mitzie passed away.
A year or so later on a misty night, a neighbor appeared on our doorstep, holding a tiny, rain-soaked kitten. I took her in, and it soon became clear that she would stay with us. Her soft, gray, medium-length hair was splashed with flecks of blonde and white. What would we call her?
The name "Misty" kept coming to me, but this seemed rather unoriginal, so I pushed it aside. After several days of no name, I tried an experiment. As the kitten played on Naomi's bed, I called out to her: "Cassie!" No response. "Kitara!" No response. "Misty!" She immediately stopped playing and came running over. An odd coincidence, as it was so similar to "Mitzie."
Soon other coincidences became apparent. Misty panicked whenever we closed the door to the room she was in, and she seemed to take particular delight in chasing and tormenting Honey. Her sweet, gentle nature and gray coloration were almost identical to Mitzie's. It wasn't long before Naomi and I both came to the conclusion that Misty was Mitzie returned.
As I write this narrative, Misty is lying next to me on the bed, purring loudly. I think she likes having her story told!
One winter's day my son Jeff appeared at the door cradling a puppy. "Someone dropped it off outside our place," he said. "Can you take it in?" In the middle of doing the farm accounts I took the tiny one, a female, and put her in my pocket as I sat. She settled in with us as the younger dog. We already had Chloe the staffordshire terrier who was about two years old. I can still, in my mind's eye and with a little chuckle, see the pained expression on Chloe's face as Dinah tried to suckle on her very dry teats. My husband Digby named her Dinah for he jokingly remarked that she was mighty fond of dining. But the name suited her I felt.
One afternoon as I was walking the path to our farm sheds, marvelling at the beauty of a stand of forest trees nearby, a voice reverberated, not only within, but without...a voice of great power. "Nancy! I want you to take responsibility for Dinah!" Ah!... an angeldog!... although she was rather unprepossessing in appearance, a german shepherd cross.
Digby passed and I sold the farm and bought a house in Maleny, taking Dinah, Chloe and Tuesday our cat to live in our new mountain home which looked out over an amazingly beautiful valley to the equally beautiful Conondale Range with its stands of white trunked gums, distant and shining in the sunlight. Often we strolled along the road to where the cows grazed in the green pastures. Special times!
When she was about twelve Dinah became quite ill. But she told me two most important things. The first was "I'll be back in two years." And, "When I come back I'll have a much stronger body." Chloe left first with a cancerous tumour. She told me when it was time...and I held her very close to my heart as she left. And then Dinah...
Almost two years later I had completely forgotten her words to me and was shopping in Maroochydore, by the beach. In the silence came the words "Go down to the pet shop." In the pet shop were the remains of a litter of bull mastiff cross pups, two little strong brown angels of mischief. I located the pup in question and asked her fee. $280.00!!! This would almost clean out my credit card! And I had no food for her...and what about my newly planted gardens? I was in shock! Again my inner voice sounded. "This one's yours, Nan" I heard.
I placed her in a cardboard box lined with swaddling by my bed, and hung my arm down into her box to comfort her as we both went to sleep. In the morning as I softly woke I spoke to her in my mind. "Is your name Suzie?" I inquired, for that was a name, not markedly impressive, that had occurred to me. In measured tones she spoke. "My name is Cleo." But she crossed her front feet in repose as Dinah was wont to do, and she had the look of fire in her eyes as Dinah had had, and I KNEW she was back, my darling girl.