Lying here in a hospital bed, I have realized that both Whitley and I have had our lives saved by dogs. Or is it really God in our lives?
Here’s why I think it might be. One night about three years ago while Whitley was meditating, he saw in his mind’s eye a big old dog shambling up to him. He recognized the dog as being the pet of a childhood friend. The dog was called Quagmire, and despite the fact that he had a really hard life, Quag was always bursting with joy.
I said to him, ‘It’s the joy message all over again. Joy in adversity.’ Then I thought to myself, dog is an anagram of god. So I said, ‘maybe it was a meeting with god.’ He laughed and said, ‘if I’m going to believe that, I need a sign.’
A bit later, we walked out to go to the store. As we reached the street, he stopped dead in his tracks. He pointed at a car. ‘Look there,’ he said. The car had a vanity plate. It was QGMIRE. Without being able to be certain about anything, as always, we accepted the idea that a relationship with god as dog was on offer to us.
This has led us down an amazing path of miracles, saving both of our lives once, and mine now twice.
When Whitley decided to rent a stick-shift car England in order to drive out to Stonehenge (on the "wrong" side of he road) when we there several years ago, he had a vivid dream about his little dog Candy, who had been his beloved childhood pet. When he used to climb trees, Candy would wait below, then rush up and nip him when he came down. She thought it was dangerous and didn’t like him doing it. In this dream, she was warning him about the rental car.
We started out in the evening. It quickly became obvious that Whitley couldn’t drive safely on the left side of the road. We were going down a dark, narrow country road when he said, ‘Candy warned me. We’re turning back.’ At that moment, a huge truck came around the corner, its lights bearing down on us. Whitley panicked and almost swerved into the truck, but because he was so worried about Candy’s message, he was prepared and managed to save us.
I’m in the hospital (I had brain surgery a few days ago) because I had been having grand mal seizures. I am here, and alive, because of God as dog. Here’s how it happened. On February 12, I had my first seizure. After a visit to the emergency room and a CAT scan, I was declared fine, and it was decided that the seizure had been brought on by some cough medicine I had been taking.
Six weeks passed, and then something incredible happened, that has given me back the life I was about to lose.
Early Sunday morning two weeks ago, Whitley was awakened by a horrible screeching sound in the sky. As he came to consciousness, he noticed that all the dogs in the neighborhood were barking, and also that something was wrong with me. I was on my stomach asleep, but the bed was shaking. He turned me over and found that I was in the middle of a full blown seizure. He helped me through it, and Sunday morning, our doctor prescribed anti-seizure medication. On Monday, I got another CAT scan. Wednesday the doctor called and said to go to the emergency room immediately because I had something in my brain.
I remember hearing the dogs, too. Five minutes after the seizure (it was a short one) I had regained consciousness and my first thought was, ‘why are all the dogs barking?’
In the hospital, the doctors soon found that not only did I have a benign tumor growing in my brain, the aneurysm that bled out in 2004 was about to bleed out again. I was right at the edge of death, and if that sound hadn’t come over our house and those dogs hadn’t barked, I would, at some point soon, have lost my life.
I like the image of God as a helpful dog so much more than God expressed through Papal trappings and in other ways as a distant, unapproachable figure.
If God has the guts to come to us as a humble dog, I can only be grateful. I owe Dog my life.
Thank you, God!