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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Sparky

By: Dorothy Lerma

Sparky was a black Cocker Spaniel who shared his life with our family for 16 years. Every year that he got older we thought he didn't have much longer to go but he continued to amaze us. First he lost his eyesight, then his hearing and finally his sense of smell. He always adapted by using other senses when needed and he was never in pain. We laughed because it took him about fifteen minutes to sense when a stranger would come into the house. Someone could come and go and about fifteen minutes later Sparky would start barking. Better late than never!

During the years that Sparky was with us we had growing boys who took up so much of our time. All the sports events, school events, work and everything else that take up our daily lives made us feel guilty at times for not spending more time with Sparky. When he was in his final days my husband and I would hold him in our bed at night and apologize for not spending more time with him. We told him that if we ever had another chance we would never let anything get in the way of spending precious time with him.

Finally we knew the time had come to let him rest. It was a heartbreaking decision but after a bad Friday night we got up on Saturday, our 18 yr old son said goodbye and we took Sparky to be put to rest.

My husband and I were inconsolable. We decided to drive up to the top of Palomar Mountain to grieve. We drove from campsite to campsite and talked about memories of Sparky and cried, and cried, and cried. After we crossed over the mountain at one particular campsite in the high desert we sat on a picnic bench to eat lunch and cry. We were surprised when a black bird came and sat next us and started eating food out of my hand! We jokingly said "Maybe Sparky has come back as a bird and is saying goodbye!"

From there we went to another campsite where we sat on a big boulder next to a stream. We finished our crying there, for the time being at least, and decided we had to head back home as it was getting dark. We got on the highway and hadn't traveled more than a quarter mile when there in the middle of the road was a small black dog staring at us. As we drove past we turned our heads sharply to look back and the dog had also turned back to look at us. Our hearts lept, in the dusk, for a second we thought it was Sparky. We immediatley came back to reality and pulled over. We wanted to get the dog off the road so that it wouldn't be hit by a car. We thought it was obviously lost and decided to give it water. When we opened the back door of the car the dog jumped in and just sat there staring at us.

I think we were in shock. We drove around the mountain for about two hours stopping at a market, at campsites and the Ranger station to see if anyone knew who the dog belonged to. We left business cards so that the owner could contact us. No one ever called. We went to the vet to see if there was a micro chip to identify the owners. None.

The strangest thing after all this is that this dog never made a sound on the hour and a half drive home. When we got home we opened the car door and this dog got out and went to our back gate. We have two doors in the back of our house. We only use one of them and this dog knew which door to go to. Immediately inside the kitchen door there is a bowl of dog food and water for our sons Chihuahua Luna but this dog went right past it and went through the kitchen back into the laundry room where Sparky's food and water were kept. Got a quick drink of water, proceeded to our bedroom, hopped on our bed and went to sleep. Exactly what Sparky would have done.

Needless to say, we knew that Sparky was not ready to leave us and was back with us. We were given another chance to make up for lost time. This time however our beloved Sparky is a female and young enough to enjoy a life with much love and attention. Our special companions name is "Spirit", because we truly believe that she is Sparky's Spirit.

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