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It’s been two weeks since we lost our beloved beagle, Zane, to canine lymphoma. I’ve really missed him a lot. It’s been hard getting used to not having him with me all the time, as I have for the last ten years.

I usually get “signs” when I lose a pet. Often, the signs come in the form of vivid dreams about the recently deceased animal. For years, I have had dreams about my long deceased pony, Rusty, who was my best friend in high school. I also get other “signs” that trigger memories. A lot of times, the visits seem to come in the form of unusual behaviors in surviving pets. For instance, Arran was never a particularly gentle dog when we had Zane– or especially compared to Zane, who was extremely gentle– but lately, he’s been a little more Zane-like. Unfortunately, Zane hasn’t influenced Arran to be as well behaved as Zane was, but Arran seems to be trying harder lately. I took him to the vet yesterday and, for once, he was a perfect gentleman who didn’t shriek the whole time.

This morning, the doorbell rang unexpectedly. It was the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We get them no matter where we are. The only place we’ve ever lived and missed out on JWs was when we lived on Fort Belvoir. And that was because it is a military installation, and JWs aren’t supposed to serve in the military. Religious proselytizing is also not allowed on military installations.

A very confident woman who spoke perfect UK accented English announced to Bill that she wanted to “talk about the Bible”. Bill interrupted her and launched into a diatribe about an angry conversation he’d had with God regarding Zane’s recent death. Without giving her a moment to collect herself, Bill told our unexpected and uninvited German religion peddling visitor a story that probably rattled her sensibilities. I don’t know this for sure, but I have a feeling that even religious Germans have a hard time swallowing “Rainbow Bridge” talk about animals and their souls. Most Germans strike me as being much too practical to believe in animals having that kind of a connection to God… but, of course, I could be wrong about that.

Bill told the JW that when it became clear Zane was going to die, he’d told God that he was pissed off that, once again, we were going to be forced to euthanize a much beloved family member. But then, Bill got an “answer” from God, reminding him that euthanasia is ultimately a gift. We would have some time to make sure Zane was comfortable. I could take many pictures of his last days. We’d be there to ensure that he didn’t suffer, and he would not be alone as he took his last breath.

As Bill was relating that story, I could hear his voice raw with emotion. I knew he also had tears in his eyes, because I’ve seen and heard him like that before. I could hear the JW lady trying and failing to steer the conversation back to her pitch for the JWs. But Bill resolutely continued on with his thoughts on God and our dog’s recent demise. The JW’s male partner was silent the whole time, probably thinking they’d run into a nut.

The JW finally broke in and asked if we had a Bible in the house. Bill said we did. But then she concluded, “But you’re probably in a hurry, aren’t you? You’re too busy to talk to us, right?”

“No, actually, I’m not.” Bill said.

So they spent a few more uncomfortable minutes talking, and I could tell the JW was non-plussed about how to deal with this man who was controlling the conversation, talking about his recently deceased dog. It was pretty funny, and I could just picture the ghost of Zane defending the family, just as he always has, in his noisy, but offbeat, way.

Finally, she said, “Thank you.” and took off. I have a feeling she won’t be back. Although Bill might have gotten the same results if he’d just told her he was a Mormon and offered her a Book of Mormon and a stimulating discussion about religion, I am tickled that Zane’s spirit showed up just in the nick of time. He always was a very faithful and loyal dog who would protect us and the home with his life… or, in this case, his death.

Thanks for “visiting”, Zaneykins… Mama misses you. ❤

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