“Look at this picture,” my husband said sliding his laptop under my nose.

“Ummm, a guy in a boat. What am I looking at and why?”

“That’s Tony from work, look at the dog behind Tony.”

“It’s a German Shephard.”

“Mhmmm,” he confirmed. “His name is Dawson, He’s 4 years old, trained and Tony needs to find him a new home.”

“And why does he need a new home?”

“They have a 2-year-old and his wife feels it’s too much work.”

We had lost our Nikki Jordan a month or so before this and of course my family was on a mission to get another dog as soon as possible thinking our remaining dog Roxy was lonely. Shelter picture after rescue picture was sent to me for days by both my boys and husband. After a week or so I finally told them to stop it. When a dog needs us, it will find us. We are not going out looking. End of story. Until now.

I have always wanted a German Shepard, but realistically was thinking my next dog would be more of a couch potato. You see I ran with Roxy, for miles. She loves running as much as I do. I couldn’t imagine bringing a younger, stronger dog in the house who we’d leave behind when we went out to run. Besides, how would I run long distances with two dogs?

We ended up going out to meet Dawson and spent a couple of hours with him. I went as far as leashing him up and running down the street with him. He got it right away. After being Roxy approved, he came to live with us.

DawsonDawson was an absolute goofball. No idea how big he was, smart as a whip and as sweet as the day was long. He would race around the house, skid to a stop in front of me, bestow a big sloppy kiss on my face and take off again. He loved the water and would go to great lengths to play in it, whether it be a hose, a wading pool or a lake, didn’t matter.

When Dawson was seven, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Part of my routine in getting ready for my stem cell transplant included steroids. I found I didn’t sleep much for a few months. I would fall asleep then be up the rest of the night, dozing on the couch. Every time I woke up there was Dawson, watching over me, either on the love seat or sometimes he was able to curl up on the couch behind my legs. Always there, always watching over me.

A month before my transplant he was suddenly sick. Boom, just like that. Long story short, cancer took hold of him and he was gone in less than a month. I was devastated. I had been counting on him to be there for me during my recovery. Looking forward to puppy piles with both him and Roxy.

Dexter & Roxy

Getting through my transplant, spending a couple of weeks in the hospital I returned home and began my recovery. My girl Roxy was there every step of the way.

I was getting ready to go back to work, and my younger son was off to an out of state college. I started worrying about Roxy being lonely as she was now used to having someone home during the day. Matt, my younger son was volunteering at Helping Paws, the local no kill shelter, suddenly I had an urge or calling.

“May I look at your dogs please?” I asked the volunteer at the front desk.

Matt looked at me incredulously, “Are you sure mom?”

“Yah, for some reason I need to see the dogs.”

There he was. Standing in a kennel, looking lost and confused, a 40ish pound mix. No barking or jumping like the rest of the dogs, simply looking around as if he was super tired and wanted nothing more than a good sleep. His background was a mystery. The only certain piece of information was he came from a kill shelter in Kentucky.

DexterAfter the whole family met and spent time with him, background checks completed, we brought Dexter home. He was a mix, possibly German Shephard and Jack Russell. Helping Paws guessed his age as 5 years old, our vet guessed 8 or 9 years old. We personally thought he was closer to 3 years old, he was so springy and lively.

He learned to run with Roxy and me, fit into our family as if he had always been a part of it. My husband and I agreed he was the sweetest dog we had ever had, which is saying a lot after Dawson. Roxy on the other hand loves us, tolerates other people and isn’t fond of snuggling, but she is still my number one girl.

Suddenly, almost three and a half years later he was gone. A tumor. 24 hours prior to that he was fine, still running, racing around, riling Roxy up… Then gone.

My heart was breaking again. First Dawson, then Dexter. Both spreading so much joy and happiness. Looking back, I now realize they both were sent to us when we needed them. They got us through whatever it was we needed to get through. Made us laugh and find happiness when we could have been crying. Now that their jobs were fulfilled, they were called to crossed the Rainbow Bridge where I am certain they earned their wings.

Dawson and Dexter, with all their crazy antics were “short term angels”. My girl Roxy, who my eldest son rescued when she was a mere three months old, will be thirteen in February. She is our “long term angel”. Steady, always there, ready to protect and give comfort when needed.

Yes, I do believe in angels.

And I believe anyone with pets, be it dogs or cats, will agree.