Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mary Steenburgen's dead dog guides her from beyond the grave

Ok, I admit, it's more subtle than that!

I had some dental work done recently, and in the dentist's office was this issue of Guideposts magazine.

There was an article by Mary Steenburgen, about a much beloved dog she had had, and how she eventually came to get another to replace it.

The title I used for this blog post sounds like something from the National Inquirer, but the title Guideposts used was much more tasteful, and it's actually a pretty good story:

The Dog of My Dreams
Actress Mary Steenburgen knows that a dog can change your life. She's had two inspiring canine earth angels do just that!
My 12-year-old dog Lucy was lying under the kitchen table, one of her favorite spots.

She looked up at me with those intelligent eyes of hers—one blue, one brown—but I knew when she didn’t get up to greet me that the day I’d been dreading had come. I called the veterinarian, who’d taken good care of Lucy ever since I’d adopted her, and asked her to come over one last time.

I sat down on the floor next to her to wait for the vet, stroking her fur and thinking back on everything we’d been through together. Lucy was part Australian shepherd, part Queensland heeler. A rescue, so you could say I saved her life. Really, though, she saved mine. That’s why I thought of her as my angel here on earth.

When I met Lucy at the Humane Society, I was living with my two children in an old farmhouse in Ojai, a laid-back California town with paths made for strolling, gorgeous sunsets and mountains all around. Although I worked in Hollywood, I didn’t want my kids to grow up there. I wanted my daughter and son to have an upbringing more like my own back in Arkansas.

The farmhouse had a curvy staircase and on Christmas morning, I insisted the kids come down it with their hands over their eyes. “Okay, everybody, open your eyes!” I’d say. I loved to see them take in the presents, the tree, the lights…the wonder of Christmas.

It didn’t take Lucy long to fit into our family. She decided her job was to watch over us, like any good herding dog. She claimed certain spots—a particular section of the sofa, under the kitchen table, outside by the lavender, places where she could keep an eye on things. She snapped at bees and occasionally got stung. She even took part in our rituals, like coming down the stairs with the kids on Christmas morning (though she didn’t put her paw over her eyes).

One day I got home from grocery shopping and Lucy trotted out to the driveway to greet me. I walked slowly on the gravel because I couldn’t quite see around the bags I was carrying. All of a sudden Lucy blocked my way. I moved to the right to go around her. She blocked me again. [...]

Read the whole thing, it's a wonderful story. It made me a bit teary, not just because I love dogs, but because her dog Lucy, reminded me of my dog,
Saffron, who was also an Aussie Shepard Mix with one blue eye, that we rescued from the Dog Pound. I'm glad to see Mary did the same, and that her next one was a rescue, too. Bless her!

Also see:

Mary Steenburgen Loves Dogs

Mary Steenburgen's Tips for Positive Thinking

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