July 28, 2004 we moved from our old home of 28 years into two smaller homes with a pool in between. On the moving day, our daughters took our family pets to stay at the new homes while we went to the settlement. When they got to the new homes our dog, Brownie, was so excited that she jumped out of the SUV. Brownie is around 12 years old and the jump hurt her. But being an animal they don't always show that they're hurt. She walked all around the property with the girls and afterwards settled down in the main house.
After the settlement, my wife Bobbie and I drove to the new homes. I noticed that Brownie wasn't coming to greet us. When I called her, she just lay there and looked at me. With a little prompting she got up and went out with me on a leash. I noticed that she didn't want to go down the hill leading to the creek. This worried me so I went back to the girls and asked if anything had happened. They explained that Brownie had jumped out of the truck. They said she fell down but got right up. I told them that she had probably hurt her back.
Forward three days... Brownie had stopped eating and drinking. She had to be helped up to go outside. I had been getting up every morning to help her. On the third day, Bobbie decided to let me sleep and take Brownie out - only she didn't use the leash. Next thing Bobbie comes running into the house saying that Brownie had wandered off. I got up, dressed and we spent the next two hours looking for her. We didn't find her. My wife said that she had gone off to die. Bobbie knew how much I loved Brownie and wasn't looking forward to me having to take her to the vet to be put to sleep.
I wouldn't give up. I prayed that God would intercede and Brownie would come back. I went around to the neighbors and told them that my dog had wandered off and if they saw her to please call me. I went back home and started looking again. We have some dense underbrush leading down to the creek in some areas. The vines with thorns were all over the place. I started cutting away some of them and trying to look down towards the creek. That's when I spotted her. Brownie was lying on her side. I didn't know if she was alive or dead. I couldn't see if she was breathing. I called to her and she didn't move or make a sound.
This area of the woods dropped off about 15 to 20 feet. Fallen trees and thorns covered everything. I called for my wife to come. By the time Bobbie got there, I had worked myself down about 15 feet. I was standing on a fallen tree and the drop off from there was about another 10 feet, right into the thorns. Bobbie was worried that I'd fall and then there would be two of us in trouble. We stayed there looking and calling to Brownie for what seemed hours with no response from her.
I felt helpless beyond anything I'd ever felt. Perched on the fallen tree, I really didn't know if I would be able to get back up or go down to Brownie. All I could do was pray, cry and keep calling her. Two hours had passed and it was getting hot. Bobbie had gotten a chair and was keeping an eye on me. She didn't want me there and she didn't want me to go down farther and not be able to get back out. I was torn between not going and wondering if I could get back up from where I was. My legs were beginning to hurt from standing all that time and I tried to sit down. I started sliding off the tree and decided to go down.
Bobbie yelled to me as I disappeared down the hill. I dropped down about ten feet into the thorns and used my shirt to start tearing them away. I yelled back up to Bobbie that I was OK and that I thought I could get to Brownie if I tried. Bobbie was scared that now I was stuck too.
It took me another hour to finally get to Brownie. She was cover with flies. I kept swinging my shirt over her to chase them away but they kept coming back. All the time they were biting me. Brownie had gotten too close to the drop-off on the hill and fallen down there. I knew she had really hurt herself this time. I tried to get her up and moving but she laid there and didn't move. Her breathing was very shallow. I knew she was either dying or hurt too bad to move.
When I relayed this to Bobbie, we were both crying. Bobbie pleaded with me to come back up. Because I didn't know if I could, I told her that I didn't want Brownie to die alone and I would stay with her until the end. Through my tears I told Bobbie that because of where Brownie was I wouldn't even be able to bury her. Bobbie just kept praying for both of us.
An hour later, I'm trying to sit, bleeding from being cut by the thorns and thirsty. Again I'm using my shirt to pull the vines away from Brownie and myself so that I can sit down next to her. I'm finally able to sit. I'm petting her, trying to comfort her. Her breathing is stopping every now and then. I can't stop crying, thinking about all the love she has given us through out the years. And now I can't even help her or give her a decent burial.
Bobbie has gone back to the house and I feel all alone. Brownie is no longer looking at me and for the first time I realize that I might not be able to get her out. As I'm crying, I start working my way back up the hill. When I get to the fallen tree, I look back at Brownie and see that I can't get her back up with me. Before I start trying to climb up the tree Bobbie comes back. She has a blanket with her and asks if I can cover Brownie up so that the flies can't get to her. I'm at a spot where Bobbie can see the top of my head and I tell her to throw it and then get some bottled water and throw it down too.
After getting the blanket and water I return to Brownie. Only she doesn't want the water and because it was so hot I only used the blanket to place under her head. I tried to comfort her and get her up one more time. When I fail, I said goodbye to her and headed back up.
When I get to the house Bobbie hugs me and we cry together. I still felt all alone and went into my bedroom and prayed that somehow God would get her back for me. Meanwhile Bobbie comforts me telling me how good a life Brownie has had. She says that Brownie knew she was dying and went down there to die and she did this to save me from having to take her and have her put to sleep. Bobbies' words don't help.
I feel just as bad for not being able to help her. I have to sit down and drink something before I pass out from the heat and hunger. After eating something, I feel better and tell Bobbie I'm going back to see if Brownie is dead. She was not where I left her.
On my way back, one of our neighbors comes into the back yard and says that a dog is in their back yard and it might be Brownie. I say it can't be because of where she is. My neighbor tells me that the creek cycles every 9 hours and is almost dry. If Brownie was thirsty, she could have walked down to the creek and then wandered up into their yard.
My heart jumps and I'm off with the neighbor to get Brownie. When we get to their yard I see it's not Brownie. It's someone else's dog. I explain to them that where she is there are thousands of vines with thorns and that even if she tried I don't think she could get to the creek. The man tells me that if he walks down to where she is he'll bring a machete to cut the vines and bring her out. I asked if that was possible. He said they walk down the creek all the time at low tide. I told him I'd run back to the house and go down where Brownie was and call to him.
By the time I got back to the house he was already in the area in the creek. I yelled to him that Brownie had indeed moved. I don't see her. He said he knew where I was and would start cutting his way in. I quickly climbed back up and went down in an area where I could climb down into the creek. Bobbie brought out some boots for me and I quickly changed. I climbed into the creek and started walking down to where I thought he was. I couldn't see him but I could hear him cutting away.
Then he yelled that he had found her. He asked what her name was and if she would bite him. I told him that I didn't think she was in any shape to do anything. Next thing I know I see him carrying Brownie out of the thorns. I made my way over to him and took her. Trying to walk in creek mud isn't easy.
As I made my way to our back yard, I fell. I was covered from head to toe in mud. The man helped me back up and as I started up the bank I fell but managed to lift Brownie up to Bobbie. My daughters were there by then and helped carry her up to the house. Because of the creek mud we had to wash her off outside with the hose along with me.
We got Brownie into the house and tried to get her to drink and eat. She didn't want anything and it was too late to take her to the vet. I walked back down to the neighbors and thanked them.
The next day, along with my daughter, we used a blanket to carry Brownie out to my car. She was no longer walking. Once, at the vet, she acted like she was perking up. The vet checked her out and said she had indeed hurt her back. He said he'd give her a shot for the pain, pills and said if she didn't start coming around we should bring her back and maybe put her to sleep.
Over the next three days Brownie started improving. I'm happy to say that she is back to her old self and doing extremely well. I don't know what I'll do when she finally does die, but until then I'll love her with all my heart, just as she does, unconditionally.
Thinking back to my neighbor, I now realize that it was God that sent him. Angels don't all have wings; some walk this Earth and at some point in their lives are called into action. This was and is my neighbor. Thank you neighbor, you've earned your wings. And for those of you that pray, God DOES answer Prayer!
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