In November of 2000 I was dropping someone off for an appointment at a therapy facility. As we walk into the appointment we seen a young lady walking a dog. A smile, hello and a gentle pat for the dog lead to a pleading request: “Please, Please, Please take him home with you! They are going to take him to the pound today. My Counselor found him and can’t find his owner.” She pleaded.
My dad came to mind. He was grieving the recent loss of his dog and he lived alone since the death of my mother several years before. I decided to follow-up on her request and ended up bringing the dog home to my dad.
The meeting with my dad and my newly acquired dog was perfect! Just as though it was meant to be. He walked in and sat right beside my dad’s chair as if he belonged there. I left them and later talked with a friend on the telephone explaining it as if it was a heartwarming story straight off the “Oprah” show. “He’s a blessing”, I said with amazement. “He walked in and laid down beside dad’s chair as if that space was always his home. It was surely meant to be!”
The next morning, I return to find a happy pooch, a very grouchy dad, with an angry command, ” Take that dog right back home with you! He is too much puppy for me! I’m to old to clean up after him!”
Completely stunned at the disappearance of my “perfect Oprah moment” I make an attempt at a last-ditch effort to keep it in tact with, “But daddy, he’s a blessing!” I pleaded. “Well, take the (*$&#) blessing right back home with you!” he repeated, even louder and meaner! And so I did!
Being the loyal animal lover I am, my blessing and I retreat home to re-plan our future. I made a phone call to a friend and we mused on the shocking turn of events the day brought. “What are you going to name your new blessing?” she asked. After throwing out some silly possibilities. “Maybe you should call him Thank You” she chuckles. And so I did.
The name Danka (German for Thank You) was my choice. Many silly, fun, stressful, frustrating, and loving memories with Danka filled the next 12 years. He traveled with me to work. Absolutely loved and appreciated the people who I took care of. He proved himself to be the most loyal and well-trained “un-official” service and therapy dog possible. He not only earned his status as a blessing in my life but also in the many lives of the people who I took care of.
12 years later when Danka and I move in to live with my aging father. The now much older Danka once again took his place beside my dad’s chair and in the following year began to travel less with me and willingly took up a new life of “retirement” beside my elderly dad. He quickly became the “apple of my dad’s eye” sharing meals with dad, and following him loyally from room to room. We often laughed at how my dad’s influence on Danka even turned him into a Bill O’ Reilly fan!
Seriously every night at eight o’ clock Danka would settle in on the couch, put his chin over the arm of the sofa so that he could watch the O’ Reilly Factor. Dad commented to me numerous times, with a chuckle, that my sister and her husband “had Danka a nervous wreck.” he would say. They visited with dad past eight o’clock and they were sitting in Danka’s chosen viewing spot! Danka would get up and pace nervously around the couch. When they finally rose to leave “They didn’t even get to the door before Danka got up and reclaimed his favorite spot and began watching The Factor!” My dad was convinced that he could tell that Danka was genuinely upset if they caused him to miss the “talking points memo”!
I am convinced that Danka’s story and life hold many important lessons however, the message that I hope Danka’s story leaves you with is this ” If you think that you witnessed a blessing like Danka…. believe it and be loyal to it (no matter what happens) in time it will most definitely be revealed.
My dad has since pasted away and about a year later his and my, most loyal friend Danka passed away also. I am wholeheartedly thankful for each and every moment I was able to share with both of them!
I continue to consider Danka one of my most favorite blessings, perhaps the day that I met Danka as well as the years that followed are best explained as Divine Guidance.
With respect, hope, joy and love,