Photo by Serene Calkins

When my sister’s husband died several years ago, she was left alone. It was perhaps the first time in her life. She was like many women who went from her parent’s house to her own home as a married woman.

She rattled around her big, empty house, going through the motions, but not really being fully present in her life. She was deep into her grief.

She had a wonderful little West Highland Terrier named Rambo, who was getting on in years herself. She was blind and arthritic and honestly, just putting in time. She spent her days sleeping, tucked away in the closet of the master bedroom. At nineteen, she’d earned all the rest she could manage.

I truly believe that Rambo continued living, perhaps long past her time, until she knew that Jane was going to be all right. Rambo stuck around to help Jane grieve the terrible loss of her husband. Sometimes, animals seem to be more tuned in to what we need than we humans are. Finally, on one sunny September afternoon, Rambo slipped away.

Then Jane’s house was totally empty.

Until about six months later, when two little Yorkie Poo puppies came into her life. And let me tell you, life has never been quite the same – for any of us!

When you live with aging animals you forget the amount of life force that comes with a puppy. Magnify that by two and you have unbounded energy, exuberance and unabashed joy. Every moment.

Every single moment.

Even in sleep, puppies exude glee.


I was with Jane when she met Izzy and Phoebe. At first she planned to adopt only one, but when she saw these two little girls, she couldn’t resist. They were a litter of two and quite inseparable. They are best friends.


As for my sister, her life has bloomed. Her heart has once again opened with these two little curly- haired angels. Her house is decorated with toys, her pantry filled with dog treats. And her life – well, it’s no longer empty.


I’ve seen numerous quotations about dogs being angels with fur. When I think about the three little characters in Jane’s most recent life, I believe totally, one hundred percent that they are angels. Here’s to Rambo, Izzy and Phoebe – angels every one.

Have you had an animal come into your life at just the right time, perhaps to help you deal with a difficult experience? I’d love to hear about it.