Sunday, September 3, 2023

Signs & Symbols - When Nature Speaks to You

This year has been a difficult one. We have three dogs - Shadow, Baxter and Cody - and two of them have had issues since last year. We actually thought that things should come to an end last December for Shadow and Cody. But both dogs still had that shine in their eyes, so we decided to see how things would progress in 2023. 

In late spring, both dogs seemed to be having issues. I took them to the vet several times, but nothing was telling us the end was near. Summer came and in the first few weeks of August, Jim and I saw the dogs declining. The shine in their eyes was gone and there were other signs that things were not ok with both Shadow and Cody. Jim and I began talking and we were coming to the decision that it was time to euthanize both dogs before things got too bad. 

It was at this time that I also started seeing a cardinal every time I was driving on this one road near our home. My mom died several years ago and I started seeing cardinals whenever I find myself questioning things. We all know the sayings and poems about cardinals after death, but I honestly don't see cardinals otherwise. It sounds weird, I know, but this is what is true for me. 

Then, mid-August, in the span of about five days, I found 16 four-leaf clovers in our yard. I even found a five-leaf clover! I have always associated four-leaf clovers with Gidget, a dog we adopted and only had 18 months before we had to put her to sleep in 2020. She got sick and, for six weeks, we tried everything to help her. The vet finally said that OUR quality of life was important and he would be ok if we decided to euthanize her. Jim and I talked and made the difficult decision to do so. I set up an appointment at the vet office and the day before we were to go there, I found a four-leaf clover while outside with Gidget. I wasn't look for one ... it was just THERE and I took it as a sign that our decision was the right one. So, to me, finding 16 four-leaf clovers was Gidget's spirit telling me that it was ok for us to let Shadow and Cody go. 

I made the arrangements for both dogs. Lap of Love was called to euthanize Shadow at our home. The day before Lap of Love was to come out, I saw butterflies everywhere. Then, the next morning, there was a butterfly on the screened porch. So, I will always think of Shadow when I see a butterfly! (When the Lap of Love vet looked Shadow over, she told us his gums were very pale (recent symptoms had pointed to cancer and she thought it a definite possibility) and he had a grade 5 heart murmur.) Shadow fell asleep in about a minute after given sedation. This was another sign, the vet said, that we chose the right time to let him go.

Because Cody didn't like strangers and would try to bit them, we made arrangements to take Cody to his vet. I have not seen ONE SINGLE dragonfly all summer. But two days before going to the vet, I saw a dragonfly two different times while out in the yard with Cody. Then, the next evening, Jim and I took Cody out to run in the backyard and chase toys. Jim saw a dragonfly! We took this as a sign and we'll always think of Cody whenever we see dragonflies. His last week with us was not a good one and his medical issues seemed to have worsened, so we felt ok with our decision to let Cody go. 

Now, I know that many people don't believe in signs, but I do and I'll always believe that the universe was helping us make a very difficult decision. It's hard to lose one dog, but to lose two dogs in three days is even harder. We will miss Shadow and Cody so much, but I'll be on the lookout for butterflies and dragonflies to visit us and let us know they are doing ok and feeling whole again.