Pet Stories: In Your Own Words
After losing our beloved 11 year old yellow labrador retriever, "Teddy," my husband and I and our four children were inconsolable. When my youngest daughter was a baby, she learned to walk by hanging onto him as she toddled along. When she learned to swim, he ran frantically around the pool trying to pull her out. He reminded us of the dog "Nana" in Peter Pan - always the family caretaker.
We all ached for months following his death, me most of all. I would break down crying even a year later when I saw something that reminded me of him. The grief was unbelieveable, to the extent that a year and a half later, it was still so strong that friends started gently suggesting that I either get another dog or go into therapy! My youngest daughter (then 12) begged for another dog also, but I was not ready. I still missed Teddy.
One night, I had a dream that was incredibly vivid and felt real. I dreamt that Teddy was with me, explaining to me that he would always be with me, and it was time to love another dog now. I shook it off, and went to work. I was working on our organization's website, which was hosted by the local newspaper. Somehow, instead of updating it, I must have hit on "Classified Ads" and up popped "Pets for sale" and under that "Labrador Retriever puppies." With my dream still fresh in my mind, and the fact that an ad for lab puppies had just popped up on my screen unexpectedly, I felt I had to call the ad. I explained to the woman that our dog had died and did she have any yellow male puppies? I concluded with "We are looking for another Teddy."
When I said that, she paused and said "How very strange. We breed mostly black labs - this litter of nine has only one yellow male - and his name is Teddy! We never name the puppies, and we've been breeding for 20 years. But my daughter was home from college this weekend and said "Mom, I know this is going to sound strange, but it's like this puppy is telling me his name is Teddy." And now you call, a day later, looking for "Teddy!"
When I shared this story with my family, we agreed we had to at least see this puppy. As we entered the room where the nine puppies were, the yelllow one came flying up to us yelping, wagging his tail and licking us. The other puppies were friendly, but this little guy was almost hysterical with happiness. The woman paused and said "If I didn't know better, I'd swear he knew you."
The puppy Teddy has grown into a very different (although equally loved) personality than the original Teddy, but I believe the original Teddy somehow led us to our new guy. As always, Teddy was taking care of his beloved family.