I received this letter from my friend Sheena, who spent 14 years with a good friend, Mary Hood from Ohio.
Hi, Buddy! I’m Sheena, a 73-pound, tall, skinny, black and tan German Shepherd. Your Mommy took care of me once when I was in LaGrange for a family wedding. She hand-fed me when I was 13 years old even though she thought I was scary. When you love your animal friends, you do what’s necessary to take care of them.
Most of your readers have lost animals they loved and many still grieve for them. I just want to tell them that it’s OK because we’re all happy here in heaven and waiting excitedly to see our people again one day. There isn’t a separate heaven for animals and for people – it’s the same place. Just like St. Francis of Assisi, God loves all creatures, so we’ll get to be with you!
We remember all the wonderful times we had with our family. Mommy used to try hard to play with me every single day. I was a dog that would rather play than eat. Not only is playing good for you and me, but it’s great for our people, too! They get outside into the fresh air, get some exercise walking or running or biking, smile and laugh, and lower their blood pressure and stress level because they’re spending time with us having so much fun.
Mommy also loved to snuggle, sweet talk, and pet me. When our people spend time every day patting, stroking, and maybe even massaging us, they find little problems before they get big. Like the icky ticks you talked about, or little bumps that the vet should look at, or cuts and other owies we may have. It’s also just wonderful to be touched and loved.
Here we can play whenever we want, run like we used to when we were young, and eat the things that we used to go crazy about like chicken and beef and salmon. When we’re out exploring, no one tells us to stop sniffing all the fascinating smells because they’re in a hurry. We can even swim then roll in the sand or get muddy or dripping wet and nobody fusses! It’s safe and fun and we get to spend the whole day doing all the things we love to do.
We do miss our people and watch the entrance faithfully waiting for them to arrive. Then, what a reunion there is! We jump, wag, cry, race around in circles, give our person lots of kisses, then get to be together with them forever and ever.
While we’re waiting, though, we’re happy that you have other animals to love. Mommy now has a small, mostly black German Shepherd named Sasha. She grieved so hard for me when I came here at age 14 that she waited too long to get another dog. Mommy finally realized that no other dog will ever replace me, but she needs an animal in her life to love and care for. Sasha makes her smile and laugh every single day, which makes me happy, too.
So any of you readers who is really missing your friend, please know that they are truly happy here and that we who are waiting for you still want all of the sweet and lonely animals in places like Ark Animal Rescue to find forever homes with a person as wonderful as you are.
Thanks, Sheena, for this wonderful story. I am sure there are many people who are missing their special friends but have enjoyed the time spent with them.
Don't forget the Chicken BBQ at Schlemmer's Hardware Friday from 10-5 to help support the Lakeland gymnastics team and the Animal Sanctuary.
Your friend, Buddy