I’m always amazed by the ways that spirits choose to communicate with us. Read the story below and let me know what you think. Do you think it was a true spiritual communication or a happy coincidence?
Merlin was a spunky, mischievous, little dog. A mix of Westie and Maltese, he was my mother’s faithful companion for fourteen years. She and her wife, Sandra, found him running across Fordham Road, an extremely busy area of the Bronx. I was in high school when they brought him home. The first time I saw him, he was a filthy, shaking bundle wrapped in a towel in my mother’s arms.
Mom and Sandra gave him a long bath to wash all the muck off him. They had thought that he had dark-colored fur, but then Mom said, “I think he’s actually lighter than we thought.” They gave him another bath to discover that his fur was white with an apricot tinge to it. I knew from the start that we were going to keep him. Sandra and Mom were always rescuing animals.
“What should we name him?” asked Mom.
“How about Merlin?” I suggested. His curly, white fur reminded me of Merlin’s beard from Disney’s Sword in The Stone. Plus, being Pagan, we always chose magickal names for our pets.
They fed Merlin and then went to take him out with our other dog, Bambi. Being the friendly soul that Bambi was, he bonded with Merlin immediately. I think Bambi was thrilled to see another dog instead of a cat, although he was well-behaved with cats, too.
About ten minutes later, I heard a buzz at the door. Mom sent Bambi up to me. “Where’s Merlin?” I asked, but Mom was already gone. I fed Bambi and went back to my homework. Almost an hour later, Mom and Sandra came back looking bedraggled and carrying Merlin, who was once again covered in dirt.
“You chose the right name for him,” said Mom. “He did a disappearing act on us. Slipped right out of the leash!” As she carried Merlin back to the tub for his third bath that night, she said, “Tomorrow, we’re buying you a harness!”
Merlin and Mom bonded in the same way that Bambi and I did. He followed Mom about the house, was always giving her kisses, and was extremely protective of her. He was so possessive of her that sometimes I couldn’t help teasing him about it. I’d put my hand on her shoulder, look him right in the eye, and say, “My mommy.” He’d start growling at me. I thought it was because I had my hand on her, so I tried it without the gesture. He still told me off. Then I would start arguing with him, “But Merlin, she is my mother.” He would keep on barking at me until I relented, “Fine. She’s your mommy.” Then Mom would pick him up and say, “See? He’s a real little boy, Tara! A real little boy!” Then he’d cover her with kisses. Even though I joked about it, I loved how close they were and felt thankful that Merlin was there to watch over Mom.
Years passed and Merlin started to show signs of illness and aging. Mom constantly fretted over him. Then one day, shortly after Christmas, the inevitable happened and Merlin passed away. I was on my way to my old job in the city when I got the call. Mom was hysterical for days.
Two weeks later, she told me that she was going to go get another dog. This wasn’t a surprise to me. My mother always handled a pet’s death by going to get another. That night she came home with two dogs, Jimmy and Hachi. She didn’t want to separate them since they were related. Jimmy was raised as a breeder dog and Hachi is his grandson.
Of course, even with a new puppy and senior dog to bond with and take care of, Mom was still mourning the loss of Merlin. She knew that I sometimes see Bambi around my house. One morning, she called me and I could sense that she was more depressed than usual. “Why doesn’t Merlin come visit me?” she cried.
Holding my phone to my ear and stirring my coffee, I said, “Just because you can’t see him doesn’t mean that he’s not there.”
“Yes, but I wish he would find a way to let me know that he’s still around. Just give me a sign of some sort, so that I can be sure that he’s okay. I want him to know that I still love him.”
“I’m sure he knows that.”
“I don’t want him to feel replaced just because I got Hachi and Jimmy, now.”
“Knowing him, he probably sent them to you to make you feel better.”
Mom laughed. “Yeah. He probably told God that he couldn’t take my crying. Make her stop, already! Here! Give her two dogs!”
We talked for a bit longer before getting off the phone. Thinking about Mom, I said aloud, “Merlin, if you can hear me, I wish you’d find a way to let Mom know that you’re still there. She misses you so much.” I didn’t think much about it after that.
A little while later, Mom called me back. “The strangest thing just happened!” she said. “I was sitting on the couch with Jimmy and Hachi when one of Merlin’s sticks landed by my feet.”
“You mean, you had it on the couch and it rolled off?”
“No. It fell on the floor directly in front of me out of thin air.”
By this time, Merlin had already been gone for months and Mom had cleaned up all his old chew toys.
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