An Angel with four legs


All God’s angels come to us disguised.  ~James Russell Lowell

Today was a milestone. It was two months to the day that I last worked full-time. It was also the day in which I prayed to God in pure despair and frustration, telling him that I just can’t do this anymore without help. I needed a sign…any sign…that things would be all right.

I received that sign, in the most unlikely of places.

The scene as I went in to my weekly counseling appointment was one of chaos. Instead of the normal serene atmosphere with one receptionist and possibly a visitor or two, it was bedlam. In the midst of all this were two large, bouncing, furry bundles, clearly out of breath and lost.

“Someone’s dogs wandered in here,” the receptionist explained, as if this were a normal occurence. The office is near a greenway trail, where lots of walkers and joggers go, so maybe that was true. In any case, these were not strays. They belonged to someone. Their happy natures and collars with tags spoke to that.

Animals do something for us. It is a magical thing, one of the great mysteries of the world. They make us gentler and help us get in touch with the very best that dwells within us.

These dogs were Humane Society special, Heinz 57 mixes. One was black with some brown and white highlights. The other was a black and white creature with a bushy tale and strange, ice-blue eyes, as if one of her ancestors had been a Malamute or Siberian husky. They were happy to see me. Even if I’d come in full of anxiety and tears and vexation.

“Somebody likes you,” the receptionist said as the black-and-white mutt put her head in my lap and looked up at me with those strange blue eyes.

I’ve always had a special connection with animals. Many on the spectrum do, moreso than with people.

This dog belonged to someone else. But she accepted me within five seconds of knowing me. If only people could do the same.

So I let my worries go and just scratched and scratched behind her ears. Dogs usually love that, and she was no exception. I scratched her until my counselor came and found me. I knew my heart rate had dropped by at least five or ten beats per minute during that short scratching session.

The session afterwards, well, I could go into details, but I wouldn’t want to bore my readers with that. Let me only say that I felt frustrated still, but expectant, almost like the first rays of sunlight emerging from behind an afternoon thunderhead. I couldn’t tell you why, or how. It was there, though.

Afterwards, I found myself hurrying to my last job interview this week. I wasn’t expecting much; in fact, I had had to hustle out of the house that morning without the benefit of an extra layer of makeup or putting on my most professional attire. It was just another job interview.

Turns out it wasn’t. It looks as if I’ll be able to start with the company sometime next week, and leave my unemployment and my current part-time position behind me. If all goes well…and I think it will. God had answered my prayers, on a day when I never expected anything out of the ordinary to happen.

And what became of the dogs in the lobby? As I left, I casually asked the receptionist, since I’m always curious to know these things.

“Oh, their owner came to get them. Ginger and Angel. Nice dogs, weren’t they?

I stopped. Angel.

“Was that her name?”

“One of them. It was on her collar, along with the owner’s name, thank goodness.”

She had been. In those eyes of hers, I found courage and inspiration to move forward, and the hope I’ve been missing for so many weeks. I’ll never see this furry Angel again, but she was able to give me the message she needed to before flying (or running and panting) off to help the next person in need.

Things did work out. The future lies ahead of me, and it is uncertain, and I’m still scared. But I do know that angels are always looking after us…even if we can’t see through their disguises.

We are always there for you...now, pet me?

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on August 20, 2010.

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