When I was 10 years, old my parents decided that I could have my own dog. I had grown up around German shepherds, as they bred and showed them. When one of our top bitches had puppies, I got the chance to pick the one I wanted as soon as they were born.
She was one of the prettiest girls in the litter and I named her ‘Twiggy’ after my favourite model at the time. She went everywhere with me and used to sleep on my bed at night. As she got bigger, she would protect me by standing in front of me and barking if strangers came near me when we were outside or if someone she didn’t know very well visited the house. We had a happy few years together before things changed and my heart broke.
My parents came back from a hospital visit one day and told me that my mum was having very bad asthma attacks and that the specialist had told them they needed to get rid of all the dogs, as they were making her worse. I cried for hours at the thought of losing Twiggy and even thought of running away with her, I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing her.
After a few days of rowing and crying, the day came when they were taking her away. All the other dogs had already gone to good homes with other people in the breed. Twiggy was to go to a family on the other side of town and be a family pet. As she had grown up with me, my parents thought she would settle in well and be happy in her new home. I was heartbroken and went off to school knowing I would never see her again.
The next few days were horrible, she wasn’t there to greet me when I came home from school and my bedroom seemed empty without her. I went out with my friends a lot and barely spent any time at home. Then on the Monday after school, I had a wonderful surprise. I turned the corner to the house and Twiggy was sat on the doorstep waiting for me. I was overjoyed! She jumped up, ran to me and licked my face as I got close to her. Her paws were sore and looked as if they had been bleeding, but apart from that she was fine. I took her in the house with me, shouting out to my mum about how wonderful it was to have her back.
When my dad came home from work, he told me that he had had a phone call from where she had been and that she had escaped a couple of days earlier, she had crossed Manchester to get back to me, that was why her feet were so sore. They said that I could keep her with me that night but that she would be going back the day after. I didn’t like it and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let her stay. Then I remembered that as she had made it back once, she would probably do it again and I hoped that this would prove that she belonged with me and they couldn’t leave her with someone else.
The next day I went to school and couldn’t wait to get home and see if she had come back again. She hadn’t but that night I was woken by her in the night. She had obviously come back after I had gone to bed and my parents must have put her in my bedroom as a surprise. She had jumped on my bed as usual and was licking my face until I woke up. I stayed awake cuddling her for a while then fell asleep hugging her. She kept moving around on the bed even when I was trying to sleep, she lay on my legs and I couldn’t move. Then I told her to stop, she just licked my face even more and really woke me up. Eventually I got annoyed with her and pushed her off the bed and told her to get down, I was tired.
When I woke up that morning, I went rushing into the kitchen to see where she was. When I walked in and my parents heard me shouting her, they asked what I was doing? As I knew she wasn’t here anymore. When I told them that, yes, she was, she had come back again they shared a worried look and told me, “No she hadn’t. I must have been dreaming.” I knew I wasn’t dreaming and I told them to go to my room. They could see her hair on my bed and I was shouting at them for not believing me and asked them where she was?
My dad sat me down and told me that they had taken her to the vets that morning and had her put to sleep. The family that had her didn’t want her back and she couldn’t come home so they had no choice. They told me that they had tried to home her elsewhere but just couldn’t find anyone and after her breaking out and coming back once they didn’t want it to happen again. So they had done the only thing they could to make sure she wouldn’t. I hated my parents right then and told them I would never forgive them.
She had been in my room, she had woken me up and she felt the same as she always did, so how could she be dead? The sleeve on my cardigan was still wet from where she had been licking it, something she did to all my clothes and I often shouted at her for it.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but she had obviously come back to say goodbye to me. It took me a long time to forgive my parents and I am not sure I ever really did. I really wished I hadn’t gone back to sleep that night shouting at her to get off the bed. I have no doubt in my mind that she was there, I just wished I had realised how important her visit was at the time.
Many years later, as an adult, I became a medium and worked with many different people, I often saw their pets with them after they had passed over and they were delighted that I could describe them and tell them that their spirit was still with them. I never saw Twiggy again and I still feel guilty for shooing her off my bed when she woke me up. I can’t help wondering if she will visit me again one day. I hope she does. I have seen many animal spirits during my lifetime and they are just as clear as any human ones. Their personalities don’t change and the love they feel for their owners remains with them.
Black Sheep Druid lives with her husband and many animals in Co. Limerick, Ireland, working as a full-time artist and assistant horse trainer.