The Fourth of July brought tragedy and sorrow to our home. Our grief was and still is indescribable. Most of you know by now that our girl, Kristin, died in an automobile accident on exit 67 in Flatwoods on her way back to graduate school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Something I had not mentioned was that our family dog, Sky, ran away from home that same weekend. He came back for a few minutes on July 5, and then left again following a cute lil' female. Our hearts were broken and our lives turned upside down upon losing our angel daughter and sister, Kristin, and though we missed Sky and had already put word out trying to find him on Facebook etc., he was simply not priority as far as pounding the pavement and putting up signs or the normal things you do to find a beloved pet.
However, we did not forget him. Jim, our youngest son, could not stop thinking about nor praying for Sky to return home. He mentioned him often and, throughout the past three months, we prayed Sky would come home. The despondency that often comes with grief settled over our home. Anyone who has lost a child, grown or small, knows what I am talking about. Others cringe at the thought, as I did throughout the years leading to Kristin's homegoing. However, I must say, when we have needed encouragement, it has come in one form or another.
You all have been like a balm to our hearts with words of encouragement, prayers, calls, emails and messages, gifts, cards and so much more. We cannot thank you enough.
Last week was one of intensified grief as we approached the three-month mark to Kristin's death. My husband, Jamie, is a dear and any of you who meet him will see that. Although Kristin named him A.D. standing for "Almost Daddy" ( he and I almost married very young in 1980), you will see that "Angel Daddy" also applies. Well, A.D. (the boys affectionately call him A.D. as do many of their friends) brought three cats into our home when we married and he moved up from Florida. Our own cat also had kittens on the Fourth of July, totaling 10 cats to our home. We were able to give away all the kittens except one kitty, I named it Boo-Boo kitty due to an injury and vet visit early on. Last week, little Boo-Boo came up missing as he had slipped out of the house and is presumed dead as two foxes were caught on our game camera the next night. If that were not enough, Jamie's cat "Sweetpea" came home and someone had shot her with a .22. She had to be put down. You can imagine, if you are a pet lover, the mood in our home.
Jimmy became obsessed with finding Sky. In our minds, though we didn't voice it, Jamie and I talked in hush tones ... "if someone shot a cat, what are they going to do with a big dog?" However, Jimmy was relentless. He and Jamie made posters and we went door to door, put an ad in the newspaper and an announcement on the radio. We once again put it on our Facebook pages. We prayed and agreed if God wanted us to have Sky back, then God was more than able to deliver him to us.
As Jim and I traveled around, we found that a good samaritan had thought Sky belonged to their friends who own huskies. So, on the Fourth of July, they locked him in their friend's yard with their other huskies while they were on vacation. Evidently, Sky had a nice vacation being with dogs of like nature, but when the owners came home and found him, they let him out hoping he'd return home. I'm not sure of where Sky went after that.
However, Friday evening we were dining out with our friends, the Scotts, and Jimmy received a phone call. His face brightened as a girl called to say that there was a dog that matched Sky's description living at the shelter. They did not have the heart to put him down as he was such a sweet dog, though he'd been there for a couple of months. I was hesitantly excited with him, but warned: "it might not be Sky, Jimmy. He's been gone almost three months."
"I know", he would reply, but his smile never faded.
My hesitation was that I called the shelter as soon as Sky went missing and checked their website. I certainly did not want to see my son disappointed after all he'd been through.
The next morning he arose early and was ready long before us to go to the shelter. As we entered the shelter, a family of fluffy puppies playfully greeted us. Another frightened golden retriever was being brought in ... my heart went out to all the animals there. I felt sad and worried that this dog was not going to be Sky, and was trying to resist the temptation of adopting another pet to replace the one we'd lost. I mean we have other dogs, and we love them, but, they aren't Sky.
The man working there shook his head, "I really don't think this is your dog," he stated kindly.
My heart dropped.
"I'll let you take a look anyway," he continued.
As the worker turned the corner, big blue dog eyes looked down the long corridor and Jimmy yelled, "Sky."
Sky ran down the hallway, jumped and nuzzled, and licked Jimmy over and over. Then, Sky jumped up and put both paws on my shoulders as if to hug me ... yeah, he's big. I began crying. Jim was smiling ear to ear, and honestly, I think Sky was, too. He jumped and rolled on his back and threw a doggie fit at the sight of Jimmy.
Jimmy and Sky started doing the tricks he'd taught him: Jim commanded sit, and Sky sat for one second wiggling in excitement. He asked him to shake, and he held out his paw. He even remembered to dance like a circus dog. He loved on us so much that he made Jamie, Jimmy and I look like human lint rollers covered with his fur. We each had white dog fur covered hoodies as we walked out of the shelter.
I felt like we had just watched a feel-good Disney movie. I could not believe that Sky had been gone three months and we were now bringing him home. The kind folks at the shelter had fed and walked him daily. He looked fantastic. We appreciated them keeping him alive and taking such good care of him, and cannot say enough good about the shelter and the people who work and volunteer there.
Sky has an appointment with our neighbor, the vet, today. Yes, it's "snip, snip" and "chip" time. The snip, snip to, well, you know. And a chip of identification will be put under his skin, just in case, he decides on another extended vacation. Thanks to everyone who helped make this miracle possible and for those who believed in miracles even when we had lost hope for one.
We also are taking every other precaution as you will remember I nicknamed Sky "Houdini dog" in my other articles due to his ability to escape any collar or kennel. Hopefully, the wander lust Sky once possessed will be put to rest now and he will continue growing old as our boys grow up. I believe in miracles because when it comes to praying, the Sky is the limit.
(Kimberly Morgan is a wife and homeschool mom in Elkins. Her husband, Jamie, and she recently formed a nonprofit organization called Kristin's Hope in order to help victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and also children in the Appalachian Mountains. She is a counselor at Cornerstone Christian Counseling Center. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)