Running with a Spirit Dog

So fellow travelers, a bit of serpentine luck derailed my plans for an important Friday evening meeting with some new friends.

serpentine art

A little photo art fun with the serpentine villain of the evening.


About forty new dogs were due to arrive at the rescue where I volunteer and I had signed up to help out the transport team greet them. It had been a demanding week at work, assisting students through mid-term Regents exams, end of semester projects and covering a constantly shifting schedule of assignments.  I was looking forward to welcoming the rescue’s new furry visitors, getting them fed, walked and settled in before their big adoption meet ups this weekend.

Unfortunately something called a serpentine belt gave out just as I was coming around a high angle curve onto a major highway. All I knew at that moment was I heard a loud thump, felt a sudden jolt and suddenly found myself fighting to keep the car from veering off the road. I had no idea what had happened. I honestly thought I’d hit a big chunk of snow or ice or worse, maybe an animal. Ninja driving mode kicked in. I managed to hold the vehicle on the road through the curve and guide it safely through merging traffic to the far lane of the highway. By then I knew I had lost the power steering. The battery and check engine lights both flashed to life on the dash board. It did not take long for the engine to start overheating.


Time to give my buddies at AAA a call. Trust me between my aging camper and my run of luck with various vehicles (this same car tried to ditch its exhaust system last year while I was on a road trip) I get full value for every dollar I spend on my Auto Club Membership.

Fighting back tears, I messaged the rescue to let the transport team know I would not make it in. When I got back home, I made a batch of hearty ham and bean soup, changed way too early into my pj’s and curled up with my own little rescue girl, Delilah

beansoup.jpg        bedtime15a.jpg

Homemade soup, a refreshing drink in my favorite Mickey glass and the company of a good and faithful friend.  Comfort at it’s best.

I slept restlessly, inspite of being exhausted. I woke much later than usual this morning so Delilah was pretty eager to get out to the yard for her morning patrol of last night’s critter tracks.

Steaming mug of coffee in hand, I stood by my ice covered fish pond listening to the bubbling song of the life sustaining aerators frozen into the surface. Hang in there my graceful friends, I thought and then realized I was probably talking as much to myself as to the assorted fish below the ice.

Suddenly, Delilah burst into a figure 8 run around the dog yard. It’s something she learned from Sox, the Shepard-Collie mix who left us for the Great Fields Beyond several years ago. When she first came to our home as a foster, she would sit in the center of the yard and bark with great agitation at Sox when he burst into the outlay running pattern. One day, instead of barking, she just took off with him. How funny it was to watch this spirited little black Chi-mix tearing around with her big brother as they herded imaginary sheep. Resident squirrels would chatter at them from the tall fir trees, birds scattered, dirt flew high until they would come to a sudden stop by the gate, panting and looking pleased with themselves.

Sox died suddenly one morning a little over five years ago. He was not quite eight years old and had shown no signs of any illness at his vet check a few months before. He simply collapsed on the living room floor one September morning struggling to breathe.  Our vets office told us come over right away and not wait for them to open. He died in in the car, his head resting in my lap on the way to the vet.


Sox,  in his signature “stair pose” photo by Emma Rahalski 2011

I will never forget the day some weeks after Sox died that Delilah first burst into the outlay run around the yard. The heartache and grief from his sudden departure was still raw yet there was Delilah racing around the yard as if he was right there beside her.

And in the very depths of my soul, where truth resides untouched by the doubts of this world I sensed his spirit was running with her. It was a sweet moment and, although not often repeated, it is a moment which brings joy to me often when I am most in need of it.

Thanks my friend for the visit this morning.  Bless you Delilah for running with his spirit and refilling my heart with joy.

delilah speaks



Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.


Deborah H Rahalski

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