Emissaries from Heaven

I was blessed. A friend recommended me to an organization that was specialized in golden retriever rescue when I searched for a dog to accompany my six-year old daughter. A golden was the right choice for me because I had helped my grandmother rescue one when I was young and I have been around them enough to understand their temperaments.

Buddy (ca. 1980) (Credit: Susie Moore)

I checked the rescue organization’s website and happened upon a likely candidate — he looked a bit scruffy and, per the description, had been surrendered by a breeder due to being “too small and too ugly to breed.” I’m not sure I buy that he was really ever characterized as such — true, he was on the smaller side for a golden (65-70 pounds), but “ugly” and Pringle never resided in the same zip code.

The Goodest Boy (Credit: Susie Moore)

I can only say that he was a perfect dog for me and my daughter. For over 11 years, Pringle played the role of Best Dog Ever. Here is his story. Although he has been away for close to 3 years, he is always there with me. Pringle was my favorite pet. I have had many pets throughout my life, and enjoyed them all. His presence was special.

One of the great things about social media, is the ability to stay in touch with friends and family. It’s an excellent way to stay on top of milestones and achievements, despite the politics. Unfortunately, we are also kept informed about the losses. Facebook is a great way to keep track of the losses. I have been on Facebook for so long that an entire breed of animals has graced my pages and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

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Each time this happens, the friend posts photos and stories about how their four-legged friend has enriched their lives. My heart breaks for them every day because I understand the pain of saying goodbye to a faithful and beloved friend.

Pets aren’t complicated. While they may need our help and attention, their true needs are our love. They aren’t bound to unreasonable expectations. They aren’t interested in mind games. They generally don’t have any baggage that we can carry. They just require some noms, and scritches. They give back tail wags and cuddles in exchange.

They’re even good for you. They aid in healing, both mentally and physically. Not only do they reduce stress

Research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol , while the social interaction between people and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies).

In fact, an astonishing 84 percent of post-traumatic stress disorder patients paired with a service dog reported a significant reduction in symptoms, and 40 percent were able to decrease their medications, reported a recent survey.

…they can also lower blood pressure.

The cortisol-lowering and oxytocin-boosting benefits of petting also help keep your blood pressure at bay. Barron says that petting an animal and holding it allows one to see the wonders of nature. “It’s relaxing and transcendental.”

What could be more relaxing than stroking a sleeping pup’s soft fur and listening to their happy sigh?

Pringle snoozing (Credit: Susie Moore)

Like guardian angel Clarence wrote to George Bailey in his beloved copy of “Tom Sawyer,” no man is a failure who has friends. A friend is a blessing that makes you feel like you’re never alone. They are angels in furred and four-legged form. I believe that they have been sent by Heaven to remind us that we are not alone — and we are loved.

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