A Christmas Visitor…

"Christmas is always an extraordinary time of year at the farm.  While we all say its special, it's especially unique during the witching hours between midnight, and 2 am and this Christmas Eve was special.  We all seem to be able to communicate with our dogs in one way or another, but this is the one time I can really talk to them."  From my Christmas post in December 2011

December 2011
“IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING, SANTA'S BEEN HERE,” the dogs all said in turn. “It’s barely past midnight,” I said,” let’s go and see, Let’s go and see.  I know he’s been here, let’s go, let’s go LET’S GO,” they all shouted. 

December 2011
Midnight, Christmas Eve 2017…

This year was no different during “this” witching hour…
“Did you see him?” Abbie asked.  “I saw him not once, but twice and he was watching all of us from over by the big tree” Dutchess revealed.  “I see him all the time, maybe because I was with him the longest, we grew up together,” Molly said.  “Who are you talking about?” I said in a confused tone.  “You don’t know?” they all asked.  “Who, are you talking about, tell me!”  “Clancy” they all shouted.  “Quit kidding me, I'm telling you, this is not funny and something I don’t want to talk about,”  I said. “But did you look? Not with your eyes but with your heart?” Meggie ask.  “I saw him when I had my cancer surgery, he was with me,” Gabby also said. And then Abbie spoke up, “I see him all the time. He told me that when it’s “my” time, because of my illness, it will be OK.  He’ll go with me so I won’t be afraid.”
Abbie and Clancy
“ENOUGH!” I said. I walked outside into the crisp night not knowing if I was hurt, sad or frightened. Maybe all three, why haven't I seen him?  I love to walk the trails at night when it’s cold.  It’s refreshing and peaceful. You see things in a different perspective because of the moon or the darkness of the night especially when you walk without a flashlight.  Many times I’ve said its spiritual at night and tonight would be no different.

Walking through the tall oak trees after midnight was clearing my head.  There is always something moving in the forest at night, rabbits, squirrels,  little critters scurrying about, but not tonight.  I didn’t hear anything except for the occasional sound of a breaking twig from behind.  I grew emotionally exhausted, and I stopped at my favorite place. Sitting by Clancy’s Grave in my Adirondack chair where I often find comfort and peace.

“I’m not there” broke the quietness of the night.  I snapped my head away from Clancy’s grave to the direction of the voice.  “What!” I said in a confused and bewildered tone to my voice.  “I’m not there.”  Again I heard it and was nearly speechless. It sounded so familiar.  “Clancy, is that you, but why, why are you here?”  I asked.  “You said yourself on the very day I died” “I want him to live forever…somehow,” pausing "and I did and we all will because it’s the master plan.” He said. 

Still seeing nothing in the darkness of the night I continued, “But… why are you here?”  “It’s Christmas,” he said, “we always speak on this special day, remember?”  “I do remember, maybe, but, but, but...”  “When I died, you wrote that I was the protector of the pack, but more importantly, I was a mentor for the rescued dogs that were lucky enough to enter the gates at Dogwood Ridge. Now I will lead and watch from far away, my spirit lives on,” he said.  “I do remember,"  I said,  "... but why did you leave when you were so young?”  I asked.  “That’s simple," he said, "there was a real need for us to help, look at all the dogs we've been able to save, where would they be now if I hadn't died and the foundation wasn't formed?”  “Your life was for them?” I asked.  “Yes, it was for them,”  he said.

He continued by saying, “I was with Elsa when she was hurt and left for dead until a man "just" happened to see her in the snow in the ditch.  How do you think she was found?” he said.  “She is safe now and has someone to love her.  Luna was re-homed seven times before I sent her to you.  She was your first for the foundation, she could have been put to sleep as many others have been, she needed you. Think of the many we have helped since I left and Oreo is never far from my thoughts.”  I didn’t know what to say, but he did;

Luna, the first dog to come through Clancy's Dream

"There are many things you will never understand on this earth.  Sometimes we never realize the plan that is laid out for us until we experience it.  Throughout my short life, you have groomed me by showing me the change that can be brought about by helping other dogs and I have seen the result of that help. We became a team and if you remember I have always watched over you from a distance.” 

 “That’s right you did, but I thought you didn’t want to join in on the fun,” I said.  “That’s not true, there was a higher calling for me, for us. I was learning about things which are more crucial than playing. The need to help other dogs." 

“Will you stay?”  I asked.  “NO, you don’t want me to.  Just look at the difference that was made in the short time I have been gone and the many dogs that were helped.  Think of the dogs that were saved and the over-population that didn’t happen because people are not always responsible.  Most importantly look at the happy families and the dogs that live a life where they are not chained up or living in a shelter for a short time before they are…”  I interrupted “I know, I know, I can’t stand to think about it.”  He ended by saying “I am your protector and the protector of “my clan” and there will always be more to do, always.”  “I will miss you, it’s been tough,” I said.  “It’s tough on all of us," he replied. "Especially on the ones we can’t save, but it's “our” calling and our purpose to try.”  “You are always in my thoughts, and I love you so, will I see you again?”  I asked.  "You see me every day in the dogs we save, look with your heart and you will see me too. I still watch you from a distance like always.  The day I left you when I crawled into your bed that early morning to sleep with you, I  knew I was saying goodbye to this physical life.  I dreamed and saw days like today.  Love my clan, this is our calling.”  Again I asked, “Will I see you again?” “Of course," he replied,  "We will walk together someday and you will be a spirit like me and then you will understand.” And he was gone, again...

As quick as our conversation had started, it ended.  I had only heard his words. I thought I was going crazy, maybe even dreaming.  As I turned and walked toward the farmhouse, I was mystified and confused, but in the distance, I saw a white tip on a black tail of the dog that I love, running through the darkness.  It soon vanished, but I heard that familiar bark that I hadn’t heard in over a year.  The wind-chimes over his grave started tinkling, and I knew it was Clancy.

Returning to the house, the dogs were fast asleep until I opened the sliding back door.  I had so much to tell them and couldn’t wait.  “I SAW HIM, just a glimpse but I saw him, do you hear me, I saw Clancy!”  Dutchess barked wanting a snack, Doc jumped up wanting some attention, and everyone wanted something, but no one understood me because the morning was well on its way.  Molly from her bed raised her head and stared directly into my eyes and bowed her head in reverence.  

Molly and Clancy were inseparable.
Christmas is an extraordinary time of year at the farm. 

No greater love is there than to lay down your life for your friends... which is the highest expression of love.  Merry Christmas,   Ken.