by Rosemary Babb
Once there was a woman who loved dogs. Over the years, many dogs were her friends and companions, and there were many more whose lives she touched in one way or another. Sometimes she helped a dog find a new home. Sometimes she fostered a dog for awhile, knowing its final home would be with someone else. Some dogs she helped by helping their people understand them better. At times she gave money. Other times she gave love, a prayer, a gentle touch, or a silent blessing.
A few of these dogs became part of her life. Most passed out of her life after her time to help them was finished. With some she had only an instant, with others weeks or months, and with some, merely a picture or a few words about them. Often it didn’t seem like enough. And often it didn’t seem like she had done enough.
One Christmas Eve, the woman became sad. She wondered if her efforts had really been much help. Maybe she hadn’t made much difference after all. There were a few dogs whose lives she had touched, whom she especially loved. She missed them badly, even though she knew they had other people to love them and take care of them now.
And there were dogs she had tried to help, but she couldn’t see that it had done any good at all. “What is the use,” she thought, “when they come and go and I can do so little. I don’t even know what has happened to most of them.”
There are dreams, and then there are true dreams. That night the woman had a true dream. She dreamed that all the dogs she had cared for – with a word, a touch, a thought, a prayer, or in any other way – came to her.
As many people know, on Christmas Eve, the animals can talk. So in her dream, the dogs talked to her. They said, “You helped us when we needed it. You could have looked the other way. Instead you looked right at us, even when it was hard to do. You never looked away. You saw what we needed, and you did your best to give it to us. You connected to each one of us, whether for a lifetime or an instant. An instant is all God needs to change a life.
“You changed our lives. You gave us hope for the future. You gave us faith in mankind. You gave us love. Some of us hadn’t had that before, in our time on Earth, but an instant of love lasts forever.
“Some of those you love come to be with you for a lifetime. Some come only for moments, but those moments are blessed ones. Now we know we are loved, and that love will stay with us for eternity.
“Whether or not we are together, our dreams are happy ones now. And you are in our dreams.”
And the woman smiled in her sleep and was comforted, and went on to dream many other true dreams.
For all the “angels” out there.
Christmas Eve 1998
Copyright Rosemary Babb.