There is an old saying that all dogs go to heaven. Quite frankly, I’m not sure if I want to go there if this is not true. We all have our lines in the sand about what would make our bliss eternal. Some are quite base; others quite noble.
There is another saying that “if you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.” Sixteen years ago, I made a very good friend. I don’t know whether she chose me or I chose her, but fate brought us together. I asked the litter of fluffy Pomeranians, “Which one of you is Trixie?” She knocked her siblings down and came running.
The day after I picked her up from the breeder, we journeyed to Atlanta as I began my theological studies. She was my road dog.
I have a history of clinical depression. The prospect of moving to a new city sight-unseen to pursue a profession fraught with existential peril was anxiety-inducing. My physician recommended that I buy a dog. She was just what I needed. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). I must say that I never sank into despair while I had Trixie as she made it her bounden duty to bring me joy.
She greeted me when I came home with the demeanor of an ecstatic encounter with the divine. She let me rub her head when I felt down. She made me think of someone other than myself consistently. She co-hosted parties with me. Family gatherings were not the same without her. She made everyone love her and loved them in return. When we were leaving Atlanta to move back to DC, my neighbors of three years bid her a fond farewell. Many of them didn’t even know my name.
Trixie departed this life June 28, 2013 after a long bout with heart disease. I thought I was the only one who recognized the void she left behind. The expressions of comfort and recollection of tender memories from others have been nothing short of amazing.
I felt silly at times about how much I indulged her, but make no apology for my grief. A neighbor inquired why a dog’s passing received more outpouring of love than most people. Yet, Proverbs 3:19 says: The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
Yet, the same neighbor remarked “Even in departing she shines!” There was something transcendent about Trixie. I began to notice it after she chewed by bible as a pup akin to how Ezekiel ate the scroll (Ezekiel 3:3). She was a good judge of character and quite the prognosticator.
I have every confidence that I am going to see her again.
I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21).