The other night I had this dream. I was walking in a pasture. There were several dogs already there, but I was helping someone bring another in. The fields were beautiful. There were rolling hills, tall trees, perfect weather, a slight breeze and even a stream. While I was there, I saw Bear. He was having a great time playing in the creek, but when he saw me – he came running. And I got to give him a big hug. Bear passed away several years ago. But maybe I should back up.
Bear was a lab mix who belonged to a neighbor that lived probably a mile and two streets away. When I first saw him, he was just a puppy with a collar, but no name tag. He became great friends with the puppy we had at that time, White Toes. I was about 15 then. We called him Bear although we later found out his real name was Buckwheat. We liked the name Bear though, and it seemed to fit him better. So that was the beginning of his double life.
He would eat at his other house and sometimes sleep there, but the rest of the time he spent with me and my family. Even though we got attached to him, we did ask his family to at least build him a fence so he would be safer and not roaming around. But they felt that was too restrictive.
When they were looking for him – they would drive around our neighborhood calling for him, and one time I saw him actually hide behind a tree until they were gone. It made me smile – but also a little sad.
He had a great time though – he loved our cats and was super gentle with them. But would chase any that weren’t ours away. We would let him inside sometimes – especially during a thunderstorm. But if you happened to leave shoes out, you’d have to go searching for them. They weren’t usually chewed up – but they definitely weren’t where you left them.
He would bark and growl at anyone who came down our driveway and didn’t know his name. And we’d try to say – he’s not ours. But those people looked at us like – yeah, right. Ha ha – well, I guess he sort of was. His owners were sure that we fed him – but we never did. He just enjoyed the attention. I taught him several tricks – even without treats. His owners probably thought he was a genius.
After I went off to college he was the only dog left back home. My sister took White Toes with her and my sheltie and best pal Jess passed away the summer before I went off to school. In the summers when I would come home, he would follow me around everywhere. He would sit on the highest point of the pastures as I mowed the fields and watch me the entire time. As he got older his visits became fewer and fewer and finally he stopped coming at all. We found out he had passed away. Though he and White Toes were the same age, she lived quite a few years longer than he did.
I always thought he was an older soul anyway.
But it was great to see him again the other night – young, happy and fit. And while I don’t know for sure how I got to that pasture, I imagine it was across a rainbow bridge.