There I was, sitting in God’s office, waiting to pick my parents out. You know the drill: you go into God’s office, you are shown several candidates and you choose your parents to be.
It’s a very exciting event and I don’t know how God does it to accommodate all the newborns. It helps that in Heaven, time goes much faster than on Earth. What could be weeks on Earth, is barely a minute in Heaven…so let’s say that things happen fast, and that sometimes…I get distracted.
I was shown in and became immediately in awe with the decorating, especially the wallpaper. It was beautiful angel wallpaper, radiant and subdued at the same time, and just gorgeous!
Suddenly, I realize He’s asking me what I think of the first candidates, and that all I can think of is how to get the name of His interior designer…
“No, no, I’m sure I don’t want to be a giraffe, God. Good view, but something closer to the ground might be better!”
Second choice: a really nice pair of mice…but I need a house to decorate. I feel decorating is in my blood! So I decline.
Third choice: a pair of humans. They appear to be nice. They already have a child, so I would be the little sister they’ve been wishing for… Oohh!! I could decorate my room… Should I go with green or with pink? I think white furniture would look good with either…should I paint it or should I wallpaper?
“I’ll take them, God!” I said happily.
“Great, Niqqi, he replied, I think you’ll make a great dog!”
“WHAT DOG?” What did He mean by A DOG?
He told me the fourth couple, a pair of Bichon Frise dogs, were the fourth candidates and that I had chosen them.
“Wait,” I said, “what happened to the humans?”
Since things happen so fast in Heaven, He told me, the humans had been updated! Updated? UPDATED?
I pleaded: “God, but wait, you don’t understand, I really wanted those humans! I had plans: a green room, white furniture…they can’t be updated, I can’t be a dog!” Tears were pouring down my face. But God calmly said, “Niqqi, don’t despair, there’s always a way.”
Then it all went dark.
The next thing I remember I was waking up and trying to open my eyes–which seemed to be closed shut. “Where am I?” I thought. “Not in God’s office, for sure!”
“Hey! What’s going on? Stop that! You’re getting my face all wet with that thing!”
I couldn’t see very well, but it felt like a sponge. And it was pink and as big as my face! I tried to make sense of it all, but couldn’t. As my vision cleared up, I realized it wasn’t a sponge! It was a tongue! It was surrounded by teeth and belonged to …A DOG?
And then I remembered what had happened. I had chosen to be a dog…
The ‘shlurping’ actually felt really nice and I got used to it pretty fast. It turns out the tongue belonged to my mom, who wanted me to look sparkling clean all the time.
I was enjoying my life! My days went like this: I ate, I slept, I made a mess, my mom cleaned me up. Not too bad. She made my life very easy. She was wonderful…
But one day, when I was able to finally fully open my eyes, I saw that I wasn’t alone in the room! THERE WERE OTHERS and they looked like me!
There were three of them, pinkie-looking and barely hairy. Reality check. I wasn’t looking in a mirror. They were for real. It turns out they were my brothers and my sister and my mom took just as good care of them as she did of me. Soon we realized that we could venture out from our mom’s side, and that we could actually play with each other. And fun we had! We’d climb on each other, pull on each other’s ears or tails, run like crazy, and when we were all done, we’d fall asleep on each other. Until that day…
It was supposed to be a day like any other– get up, eat, play… I already knew what trick I was going to play on my siblings. I was stretching, like I always do when I wake up, when this huge hand grabbed me and took me away from my family.
“Hey, where are you taking me? Put me down!”
“This one is going!” said the man that belonged to the hand.
What did he mean ‘going?’ The big hand carried me to a cage and threw me in there.
“You’re going for a long ride, pup,” he said.
Ride, where? Where is my mom? Where are my siblings?
“Don’t take me!” I screamed, but no one seemed to hear me.
I remembered God’s words, “Don’t despair,” but I had already lost my humans and now they were taking me away from my dogs… How could I not despair?? Where was he taking me?
“Where are you taking me?!” I screamed again. The hand was carrying me away from my dogs.
“Mom!” I barked out!
I was totally confused and getting dizzy as the cage swung back and forth.
Wham! “To the back of the car, pup,” the man said as he threw the cage inside of it.
A car, I realized, took you from here to there without much effort on your part. I heard a revving noise and then we started moving. The car went for a while, and then , “Slam!” I flew around in the cage. The car had stopped. What now? The man with the hand left the car. I waited.
When the car door opened again, the hand was bringing in another dog. The hand threw him inside the cage.
“Hey, who are you?” I said.
But he didn’t say anything. He stood in the corner looking kind of scared. He had dark hair and dreamy brown eyes. We didn’t look alike at all. I noticed his three long legs. I counted mine: I had four…but ants had six and humans had only two… I introduced myself and asked him his name. “Toby,” he said softly. It turned out his story was just like mine—fine one minute, in the cage the next.
“I was different from my siblings in that none of them had rounded ears like me,” I was telling him, when the car stopped again. This time we both ended up in the corner.
“I’ll bet you there’s one more coming,” I said.
I was right. Her name was Sadie. Her ears were long and droopy. She was trembling and her eyes were closed. When she opened them, Toby and I noticed she had one blue eye and one brown eye.
“How cool!” we both said at the same time. Sadie smiled.
It was a smooth ride after that. There were no more stops. We talked our ears off until we fell asleep. We had become good friends in no time.
Sudden shaking woke us. The hand was taking the cage into a building.
“Hello, Elaine,” said the man. “Here are your freaks! I don’t know why you want them, but they are all yours!”
Freaks? What did that mean? We were relieved to see the man leave.
We all stared at Elaine, scared, and wondering what would happen next. The sunlight coming through the window was shining behind her… She looked at us and smiled. And as she took each one of us and placed us in a warm and cozy bed, she said, “You’re no freaks, little ones, just a little bit different and very special. I know someone out there is just waiting to bring you home and give you lots of love…”
”I think she’s an angel,” I whispered.
We cuddled up against each other. We knew we were safe. We promised each other that, no matter what, we would stay friends forever. We fell fast asleep.
“Hey, wake up, you two!” I said to Toby and Sadie, poking them a little.
“What? What?” said Toby, as his dreamy eyes slowly opened.
“What’s that noise?” grumbled Sadie.
I came to know later, that was ‘human giggling.’ It was squeaky and squawky at the same time, loud and contagious. Once one started, the other ones in the room did it, too! It really was a fun sound, especially when it came from those closer to the ground. So fun, it made me smile.
There were many humans around us, and we got a little scared.
“Oh, Mom!” said one of the shorter ones, “they are all sooooo cute! Can we take them home? Pleeease, Mom” she said while tugging at the mom’s sleeve. “C’mon! There are three of us, and we can each take care of one!”
But the mom explained that puppies require a lot of care and that since they had never had a puppy before, they would start with just one. I’d never heard that word before—puppy. It surely sounded much better than ‘freak.’ The mom’s soft hands gently picked Sadie up and left with her.
“Hey!” Toby and I whined, “Put her back!”
We looked at each other, dumbfounded and not knowing what else to say.
A little while later the mom’s hand brought Sadie back and put her back with us while saying, “I’ll be back, Sadie! Just a few papers to go over and then we’re going home.”
“What happened?” both Toby and I said at the same time. “Are you okay? ??“
“Oh, Niqqi, Toby, I have great news! “ said Sadie. “At first I was scared. I didn’t know if they were going to take me away again. But then Elaine and I…and my new mom… went into a room and I met my whole family! Did you hear me?? MY FAMILY! There’s a mom and a dad and three little humans, a brother and two sisters…” she said, almost crying. “They picked me up and then they threw a round thing on the floor and I went to get it back for them. They laughed when I brought it back, so they threw it again and this time I ran to get it. It was so much fun! My ears were flapping and it felt so good! And now I’m going home with them. Home…” she said tilting her head down and feeling a little bit sad. “But that means I am not going to see you anymore…”
“Sadie,” I said, “now, keep that forehead high! Whether together or not, we will always be the best of friends. I just know that we will see each other again! I just know it!” We cuddled together one last time, and then Sadie looked up. It was her dad.
“Let’s go home, Sadie!” he said.
“Until we see you again, Sadie! Be safe and happy!” said Toby.
Toby was the next one to leave. A couple came through the door, pushing a chair with wheels. They pushed the chair to where Toby and I laid. We both watched as the human in the chair stood up slowly and with difficulty, her legs trembling a bit. She wasn’t as short as Sadie’s little humans, but she wasn’t as tall as her parents who pushed her. “Mom, Dad,” she said, “look at them! They are so cute!” There was that word again. Cute! I was liking the sound of it, too. Toby picked himself up, and without warning, he walked over to her and gave her a kiss.
“Oh, my God!” she said, “Did you see that? He walked to me and kissed me— and he only has three legs!”
Both her parents seemed astonished by what had just happened.
“He was probably in some sort of an accident. I really don’t know,” said Elaine.”
“Our daughter was in an accident, too,” the mom said, “she just started to walk again. She has a lot of therapy ahead of her, but we are confident she will regain the ability to walk and run again!”
“Mom, if he can, I can, too!” said the girl.
Toby smiled in a way I had never seen him do before. We had the chance to talk a little before they came to get him. “I just know it, Toby, you will so happy with your new family!”
When the father placed him on the girl’s lap, Toby curled up and looked straight ahead. He knew all the bad times were behind him now. His new life was starting right then and there.
I felt lonely. Both Sadie and Toby were gone. They were so happy when they discovered they were going to a forever home with a forever family, their tails couldn’t stop wagging! I was truly happy for them ! But now I didn’t have anyone to talk to or cuddle up with. Elaine would come and see me from time to time. She’d pet me and would say “Soon, little one! Soon you’ll be going to your forever home, too!”
I just had to trust.
So I laid down, put my chin over my front paws and waited, sighing once or twice. This reminded me of my time in Heaven, in God’s office. Was I someone’s third choice, too? I remembered my third choice, my family, and wondered what we would be doing now if we were together. I wondered who chose them next. I wondered if they were happy. I wondered if they missed me, even though they never knew I was supposed to be a part of them… I just wondered, and sighed again. A forever home…
The door to Elaine’s place opened again. I took a small glimpse up and went back to wondering. You know how it is when you are so deeply in thought that you can’t hear or see anything else. That’s how I was: I saw nothing, I heard nothing. But all of a sudden, one of my ears inexplicably perked up. That voice… it sounded familiar. I honed in on it.
“And yes,”a woman was saying to Elaine, “the strangest thing happened to me this morning. I woke up and I knew this was the day when we would welcome a dog into our family. Maybe I was dreaming, but I heard a voice say ‘This is the day. Be alert! Look to your right.’ I thought it was a pretty strange dream,” she said laughing, “but when I went out to run some errands, I was filled with excitement and joy and couldn’t help it but to look to my right! How silly, right? I don’t usually come this way, but when I saw your place on the right, I just had to stop!!”
And with that said, she looked up and saw me. And I saw her.
It was my mom! The one I picked in Heaven! My third choice! My only choice! I couldn’t believe it!
“Oh, my God!” she said, “There she is! And she ran and picked me up and she held me and I kissed her and she kissed me. I had been waiting for this for a long time!
She did not put me back while she was talking to Elaine and filling out some papers. She just held me close to her heart. I kept wondering if I was dreaming… but the more time that went by, the clearer it became, it was very real. She told Elaine laughing that she was not prepared for me!
“I have to get her a bed, a collar, accessories.” Yes, it was MY mom alright! “Ooh, that princess bed…. I love it! It’s pink and so pretty! I’ll take it, too!”
The ride home was different than the rides before. She placed me on the bed and tucked me in so that I wouldn’t bounce. But what about the other two in the family? The father and the boy? I wonder if I would get them, too? And then she said, “I can’t wait for you to meet Bruce and Martin!” That sounded promising.
When the car stopped, my mom gently picked me up and placed me on the ground. Everything was green and felt fluffy, almost ticklish.
Come, on!” she said, “Let’s go meet them!”
There was a house, but we didn’t go into it, but walked around it to the back yard. It was a glorious day, a sunny day in June. The two humans were doing yard work, I later found out. Like in slow motion, they turned around. It was them! The other two!
I ran to the older one, my dad. He kneeled to greet me and I just put my hands on his knee.
“Who do we have here?” said my dad.
“I guess she needs a name,” my mom said.
“How about Niqqi,” said the younger one, my brother. I was home! I ran to him, wagging my tail.
That was the best day of my life.
The next few weeks were full of discoveries and fun. We went for walks, we ran and played tug-a-war and hide and go seek. We went to new places in the car. I had never been so happy.
One day, my dad announced we were going to the dog park. So I hopped in the car and off we went. It turns out it was very close to my house so we got there very fast.
“We’re here!” said my dad.
So I looked out the window and saw many other dogs! Wow, I thought, that’s amazing! We got off and walked around. I knew I was going to like this place. There were lots of laughter and barking going on. Everyone was sooo friendly and welcoming!
“C’mon! Let’s go play ball!” a pug named Max said. “There’s a team getting together over there!”
I looked at my dad and he nodded his head in approval. Max and I ran off together.
“Meet the team, Niqqi!” “This is Scruffy, and this is Bella.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said. “
And here are Sunny and Trixie!”
“Oh, and where are Sadie and Toby?” Max said.
“What did you say?” I asked him.
“Sadie and Toby. They are members of our team, too, but they must’ve gone to get a drink of water.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. What was he saying?
“Sadie and Toby?” I repeated, “ I used to have some friends named Sadie and Toby…”
“Maybe they are the same ones,” replied the Max. “I see them coming now!”
And there they were, running towards us, My Toby and my Sadie! I started running towards them…
The reunion was incredible. We had so much to tell one another. We pinched ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming! We laughed, we cried, and eventually… we went to play ball.
There’s always a way.