In nature, the “fittest” survive but even ordinary dogs can do it. Performing a miracle known to many dog owners, this puppy returns in the form of another dog.
DOGS THAT COME BACK
E. Katie Gammill © TheDogPlace.org / August 2009
Many of us have experienced this and get goose bumps when it happens. This phenomenon causes our hearts to soar. This is the story of Poco Bolo and his dedication to his owner, Mark.
POCO BOLO DE FUEGO (Indian Creek Little Ball of Fire” 11/9/1994-11/8/2005) enters the world on Nov. 9, 1994. Nature scrapes the bottom of the barrel to produce this tiny, tough courageous pup. This scrappy sheltie defies the odds and survives.
Although the “runt” of the litter, fate obviously knows there is a person who will need this puppy desperately.
Debbie and Mark Crean visit regularly. The tiny male catches their eye. At three weeks he grunts as they scratch his neck, turning his head into their hand. He owns the world and captures them from the “get go” as he swaggers across the floor. This whopping 2.4 pound sheltie wraps them around his little paw. He goes home with them in his own crocheted blanket. These people are “his” and he fills their hearts. He’ll never leave them and in turn, they never think about losing him.
Proving all our declarations wrong, the puppy walks the line. Extremely intelligent, he understands words, so they resort to spelling. He learns to spell too. Independent, lovable, and mischievous, strutting Poco is a “big” little dog.
Poco’s favorite place is on Mark’s lap but after chasing the vacuum, he will crash on his special blanket by Mark's chair. He peeks from beneath furniture when they call him at bath time. How does he know? Poco’s sense of humor taunts them. He barks at the phone, the door, sneezes, and chases shadows on the wall. He learns to fetch, tug rope, and kill his Frisbee.
Poco loves Mark, his “dad” best of all. If Mark fails to take him outside when he does yard work, Poco runs from window to window. When Mark dresses in his firefighter uniform, Poco knows it is work time. If Mark scolds, Poco is crushed. At maturity, Poco weighs 15 pounds, but in his mind, he is a 100 pound canine.
A few years later Mark is injured on the job. Poco, knowing “dad” is suffering, dedicates all his time and energy to Mark’s recovery. Freely giving kisses and snuggles, he is a constant companion. Crutches do not deter him. A short time later a second major surgery is required and Poco is there again to ease the pain of recuperation.
Once Mark recovers, Poco becomes sick. Rushed to the vet, treatment starts immediately. Poco gives up the struggle and leaves his ‘parents” in the wee hours of the morning one day before his 12th birthday. Mark and Debbie are devastated. They come to visit my puppies. Mark’s eyes fill with tears. He is not ready for a new puppy and may never be.
Time passes. Much later three shelties are born at Indian Creek. For an unknown reason, one tiny male catches pneumonia and struggles. He snorts and snuffles, fighting for life. Debbie and Mark worry about him. Unable to get over the loss of Poco, when we write on a Christmas Card “Good for one Indian Creek Puppy”, Mark declines our offer.
We are invited to Christmas dinner. After a discussion with Debbie, I fix a puppy pack with toys, food, and instructions and place the tiny male in a little box with a red bow. Handing the package to Mark, I say “Merry Christmas” and being the nice guy that he is, Mark cannot refuse my gesture. Deliberating on a name for the puppy, they decide on “Indian Creek Lucky Strike” (Flint). We weigh Flint as he is too tiny to measure.
The tiny puppy with a “can-do” attitude is determined to fill Mark’s day with sunshine. He chooses to accept the position of “stand in” for the time being. He lurks behind doors and peeks from beneath the furniture. Like Poco, Flint chases shadows on the wall and dedicates his life to Mark’s happiness. Each year Flint appears more like his predecessor. The wall of Mark and Flint’s relationship slowly crumbles and Debbie and Mark are amazed how much Flint’s mannerisms mimic Poco’s.
There are many stories about dogs returning in another form. Perhaps there’s something about the tilt of a head that is reminiscent of a dog from the past. Laying its chin on your knee, do the eyes seem to say “I’m back, don’t you see me?” Unique similarities cannot be denied. Sometimes playful genes came together and it seems certain dogs return for a second “go-around”.
Few of us are gifted with such a unique experience but it happens more often than we care to admit.
Mark becomes convinced Flint is Poco in disguise and allows him into his heart at last. Patient and loyal, they communicate and the circle is complete. Every day, Mark is reminded of Poco through Flint’s actions and his heart is no longer sad.
Truth be told, puppies keep us young. Their presence softens hard times and adds joy to our lives. They offer an endless supply of love, acceptance and devotion. Sadly, their lives are shorter than ours, but by accepting this, we experience life as a whole. Taking in puppy breath allows sadness to melt and builds new memories.
Poco is indeed back in Flint’s form. Does this explain the phenomenon some owners experience? Perhaps for Poco, heaven was postponed because his responsibilities on earth weren’t complete. Perhaps, returning as Flint, he will finish some uncompleted task. Some things we never know, others we simply must accept.
Will Rogers says it best. “If there are no dogs in heaven, I don’t want to go there.” I've come to believe some of our most beloved pets feel the same way.
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