We've Only Just Begun

We've Only Just Begun
More Books Beyond Our Trilogy : We'll Be Filling All These Bookshelves!


She Had the Place, but the Timing Needed to be Right

While I was working at a plan to bring Kate together with Immy, Kate was completely caught up in her grief. She couldn't look forward, she kept looking back. If she looked beside her she would only see me. Everywhere she looked, she saw me. Every spare thought was me. Every free moment was spent looking for me; longing for me. She was inconsolable. This went on for days, weeks, months. You'll read about it in my book, "Jack McAfghan", how she finally was able to move beyond her grief.

I crossed over the Rainbow Bridge early on August 1st and six months later to the day, on February 1st, she was able to set my ashes free and to bring peace to both of us. April 1st, she finished writing our book.  It took her the next month to get it formatted and to learn Microsoft Word after having used it for 20 years and never knowing what it was capable of.

Somewhere during that time, her heart began to stir and she knew she was ready to love again. But not yet. She wasn't quite there. I had planted the desire for Afghan Hound in her heart, and all of a sudden she was looking at rescue sites.  Then one night she went to the Dogs For Sale sites.  She landed on PuppyFind and fell in love with a 9 month old Afghan Hound named "Dark Green Collar".  I know why she fell in love with her. I think for awhile she was looking for me in another dog and Dark Green Collar had the same color collar I always had but mostly the look in her eyes in the photo was the way I would look at Kate. The eyes are the windows and Dark Green Collar's eyes were the magnet. They were supposed to be. They were supposed to draw Kate to Montana.

Dark Green Collar  Photo Downloaded from PuppyFind.com
She wrote the breeder, Brian Wood of Shining Mountain Afghans, in Loma, Montana. She inquired about Dark Green Collar. Her siblings, Red Collar, Blue Collar and Light Green Collar were available too, but she only had eyes for the Dark Green girl. Brian was patient and helpful and they corresponded over several months. Brian's honesty, forthrightness, knowledge and inherent kindness made it easy for her to trust him but she just couldn't seem to move forward. At one point Brian laughed and said to her "Of course, if you wait long enough, someone else will get her."

Decision Point and Afghan Hounds


New Life Has Arrived

There is life after death, I can tell you this for certain and while she still cherishes the memory of me and continues to shed unexpected tears along the way, she has taken some steps to bring a new kind of love into her life. She will never know how much this particular dog needed her, but I do.

Miss Immy Montana
 One of the tasks I was given when I came across the Rainbow Bridge was to choose a dog so that I could be its Guardian Angel.  It was my mission to bring the two of them together. Somehow. Someway. Someday.  I didn't know how I would do it with Kate in Arizona and Immy in Montana, but I knew that with God's help, it would be done.

One Thing Always Leads to Another

As I made the choice, I looked at the Design of her life. One thing always leads to another and there is a selective process. She grew up with a pair of German Shepherds.

She loved her German Shepherds and she always loved collies. When she grew up and it was time to get her first dog, it was a German Shepherd-Collie mix.

The day came when I was born into a litter of pups that were said to be "Collie-Poos".  She thought it would be nice to have a low shed collie, but she didn't know that I had a significant amount of Afghan Hound in me that would make itself known in due time.

As I got older I really enjoyed playing with the smaller dogs at the dog park. One day she went online, saw a photo of Joey at VJ Ranch Rescue in Arizona and within a few days Joey joined our family. We always joked that he was an Afghan Terrier, he looked so much like me. 

Joey and Me (I'm on the Right ) 
After I crossed the Rainbow Bridge I knew that she would eventually want a bigger dog (but probably  not quite as big as me) and I just knew that she would eventually want an Afghan Hound. It's how everything was panning out. I learned that there are only about 500 Afghan Hounds born in the United States each year. I began searching for the right one. Meanwhile her friend Jane was sending her messages with Afghan Hounds who needed homes. "No," she would say, "I don't think I need a full blooded Afghan Hound." and she would cast them aside. Jane was planting seeds for me; for us. 


New Life

After she lost me she was devastated (you know how it goes when a dog and their person are soulmates). It took the first six months for her to get a grip on herself in her life without me. At exactly the six month mark, she scattered my ashes to the wind. 
"Fly free Little Boy, Fly Free!" she said as they were carried away from her on the breeze. 

 It was sometime in the next week or so that she started looking at rescue sites. She was making a point of not looking for me, but she knew what worked before and she was really trying to re-create that. Of course she kept coming up short. She can't recreate anything. It's time for new lessons. 

One night she extended her search to Puppyfind.com which is a site for breeders to list puppies.  She was half-hearted. She never imagined buying a puppy. She always planned on rescuing one. After all, that's what she'd always done and we all tend to do what we've always done. 


'I Have Another Pet but All I Do is Think of You'

Someone asked, "When... When will the crying end? When will the grieving end?  When will I look at my new pet and not just miss the one I used to have?"

Believe me when I tell you this: It will just take a little time and you will one day find that all your loves have merged together. You will be surprised because you find yourself laughing or smiling over a memory and that's when you will know that your tears will soon subside. We who have passed want you to be free to love again... and to be happy happy happy when you are reminded of us! You'll get there, you'll see, and it will be sweet and beautiful with a few sentimental tears now and again for all the loves you have had.

Jack and Joey.  Joey was the "BackUp Plan"


Message from Kate in Response to Why. Why Keep "Jack" Going?

Out of our deepest loss comes our greatest growth.
My mixed breed Afghan Hound, Jack, crossed over the Rainbow August 1, 2014. He is the dog in the photo below. Despite my professional career in social work and hospice, it took me a very long time to grieve the loss of him and I still find myself in tears now and again. 

He had a Facebook page long before he passed and, despite my resistance, his fans wanted me to keep it going. I have since published his book ("Jack McAfghan") and have collected many original posts like the one below.  I sincerely want to share with those who may need Jack's messages. There is no joy in keeping it all to myself. I need your messages too. We are all at various stages of healing and, while we do eventually heal, we never truly get over the loss of someone we have loved like this.

Why Did Kate Write My Book? She'll Tell You Why.

Kate & Me
I rescued Jack at the age of 12 weeks and had the privilege of training him and shaping him into the dog he was destined to be. We started with Obedience, moved into Agility, pressed forward as an uncertified therapy dog. We worked for hospice and Jack spread joy everywhere he went. They say a therapy dog brings much healing and love, but we were one dog and one master and we were the ones who were loved; we had the love of thousands. Jack and I worked the world together side by side until one fateful day in 2014 when they found a mass that needed to be removed. Four days later, when Jack died on our kitchen floor, the real magic began. I was grieving so much that I couldn't hear him. I couldn't see him. He continually sent me messages from Heaven. A lightning bolt came out of a blue sky. Birds and butterflies would land on me or dive bomb me. He sent these messages when I was grieving; when I was crying. I could not listen. I could not be quiet. All I could do was grieve and grieve. 

One day a friend helped me to realize that I was still clinging to Jack. In all my work with hospice and teaching people to let go, I was still hanging on.  Exactly six months from the day he died, I scattered his ashes into the air on our favorite wilderness trail. I set him free and set myself free. I had identified so much as being "Jack's Mom" and then when I lost him I began to identify as "Death's Victim". Victim no more, it was time for me to recreate my life without Jack, without being a victim of anything. 

One night when I wrote in my journal, Jack's words came out of my pen. They were in the first "person" and they spoke truth and spoke it in a way that commanded me to listen. They commanded me to write. He was always the more outgoing of the two of us. He would always pulled me forward to meet new people and to interact in new ways with the community. He pulled me forward this particular night because he started something that would not stop. He helped me to write a book called "JACK McAFGHAN" and he comforted me through the process of writing it. He wanted me to write it, not only to work through my own grief, but to comfort, inspire and support others who go through their own grief. 

In honor of Jack I wanted to share his story with others who need to believe that love never ends and that life goes on long beyond one's earthly death.  Jack will tell you: "I am not dead. I am awake.... You want me to wake up but in my death I did wake up and I saw you were still sleeping." Love never dies.