Not everyone is deeply religious; at least not devout enough for daily prayer and solemn teachings, but many have some sort of belief in angels. Whether adorned with robes and halos, or with just a smile and a good deed, angelic beings can be found. Most of us think of angels as guardians — protectors to keep us safe. A police dog that stops the criminal, or the family dog who alerts everyone to the house fire; that’s our view of a guardian angel dog. But angels also give us love and fill us with strength, offering guidance when we need it most. That was Lazarus.

I say Lazarus was my angel not because he saved me from an accident, but because he came to guide me before it became too late for me to learn. He taught me selfless over selfish, care over neglect. He wasn’t just smart, he was wise. He didn’t talk to me; many of these lessons came across because of his physical ailments.

“Every hero needs an origin that strains belief.” After I told someone part of Lazarus’ history, that was her reply. I hadn’t thought of him as a hero, but he did have a story that strained belief. Trained to hunt bear and released into the mountains, he was left as nothing more than a broken piece of equipment once the bear had won the fight. Bloodied and beaten with a blind eye, a damaged nose, and torn ears, he recovered from near death despite a failing body and numerous infections. I felt that others and I must be his guardian angels for saving him. Silly me. None of this happens without Lazarus’ strength. I guess that does make him a hero.

Lazarus and Rick, together.

Lazarus and Rick, together.

Lazarus was a special being, almost always referred to as an ‘old soul.’ He brought peace and comfort to each person, and into every room. His energy was that of a deep massage — making you calm, eliciting a smile, but rippling throughout. Even when he was asleep in another room, you could feel his presence. With his absence, my house has become quite still.

I believe we all have angels and old souls looking over us, but not all dogs fill that role. Most dogs are friends and sources of comfort, so when people suggest waiting the appropriate amount of time for mourning and then getting another dog, I’m unsure what to say. If your connection was about a gleeful greeting at the end of the workday, then that works.  But if a singular relationship is now gone, how do you replace that?

Lazarus was a hero. Lazarus was an old soul. Lazarus was my angel.

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1 Response

  1. Krietta Phillips says:

    Rick- I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You and I shared some interesting conversations over the phone about our two old souls and how to get them to eat!!! You can’t ever replace the time you and Lazarus shared . All you can do is learn to deal with the loss more gracefully and hope that your angel is just taking a vacation right now, and that he will pick another dog form and come find you again, in time… But for now I hope he and Chelsea are enjoying a good meal together and a nice long walk… Fondly, Krietta