Uncategorized

Communicating With Shakespeare


Dearest Readers:

I suppose some of you will think I’ve lost my mind. As my closest friends know, I have visions and a strong belief in God. My grandmother had the gift of visions. After she passed away, that gift found me. I had visions of men dressed all in black, attacking planes – two days before 9-11. The early morning hours of July 6, 1999, [3:45 am] I dreamed my dad was dying at the nursing home. He passed away on that date at 5:45 pm. When my husband was in Vietnam, I dreamed visions of him in a fight with the VC. Two days before my grandfather passed away, I dreamed of his death. All of these visions were true.
Since losing Sir Shakespeare Hemingway two weeks ago, I’ve been praying for a sign. A sign or vision that he understood and that he knew his time with us was over since he was so terribly sick. A sign from him for love and acceptance.
When Shakespeare was healthy and he needed water in the bowl, if the bowl was empty, he would scratch at it, letting me know he needed water in the bowl. Another silly, picky thing he would do with his water bowl is — if the bowl was a bit soiled, or If there was a fly resting inside the bowl, he refused to drink the water. He would paw at the bowl, pushing it into view. This was his way of letting me know he wanted fresh water.
Occasionally, we have flies in the house. This morning (and it is the first morning EVER that this has happened), I have my coffee cup on my desk. When I went to drink it, I saw a fly in my coffee cup!
Strange? Perhaps. Shakespeare is communicating with me! Thank you, Shakespeare. I love you and miss you more than words can ever say.
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Family, Friendship, Uncategorized

Learning To Walk Through Grief


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Dearest Readers:

Exactly two weeks ago today, I had to say goodbye to sweet, precious almost 14-year-old Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. While writing this, tears gush from my eyes. How I miss that precious little mini-schnauzer, my best friend who loved for me to rub his ears.

If you’ve never had to make the decision to say goodbye to your precious four-legged friends, you might not understand the tsunami of tears I’ve shed, along with the aching break of my heart.

People say I’m too sensitive. Tender hearted. He’s just a dog. Get over it. To them, I say – you are not my friend. You do not understand. Shakespeare was truly a member of my family. We took walks together, until Prince Marmaduke Shamus passed away in 2012. I continued walking Shakespeare after losing Shamey-Pooh…just not on a regular basis.

That was my mistake. Selfish and painful. Each time I attempted to walk after his loss, I missed Shamus so much. Now that I’ve lost Shakespeare I still have four-legged friends. I will take them for walks, in memory of sweet Shakespeare Hemingway, my little “Shake n Bake,” and I will move on. I haven’t a clue when the tsunami of tears will leave. I still feel Shakespeare’s presence. The other night, I heard a sigh. His spirit was here.

Earlier today, I felt something touch my leg, just like Shakespeare would do. Another tsunami of tears, and I struggled to breathe. At home, I’m finding myself a bit short of breath, so today, I forced myself to go away for a bit. I went shopping, or maybe I should say window shopping. I dropped by Petco, bursting into tears again. I rushed back home. Lately, I’m a hermit, lounging all day in pajamas. Truly not the person I desire to be.

I know I must walk through the grief, just like I did with Shamey-Pooh. Now, the question is how to walk through the grief.

As a writer, I should know how to handle myself during grief. I’ve lost many loved ones, including my dad in 1999 after a terminal illness. Losing Shakespeare is different. He depended on me and he loved me unconditionally. We shared 13 beautiful years together. I am so thankful for that and for how he always greeted me when I came home from trips or work. Rushing to be first, he leaped towards me, barking with excitement and happiness. The last few months of his life, he didn’t respond unless I clapped my hands three times. There were many times he refused to eat for an entire day. In 2015, he weighed 27.5 pounds. On the day he left, his weight was 17.6, losing 10 pounds in less than two years.

Yes, I will ache. My heart will burst with this indescribable pain, and the tsunami of tears will gush from my eyes. Tomorrow, I must attempt to take steps to walk through this grief. I have a new leash to use for Shadow, my giant schnauzer. Perhaps tomorrow will be a good day to walk – In Memory of Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. How I love you and miss you!

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Family, Rescuing Schnauzers, Uncategorized

In Memory Of – Sir Shakespeare Hemingway


Dearest Readers:

This week has been such a dreadful, sad week for me. Why? Most of you who read my blog regularly will know what an advocate I am for animals. On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, our family had to say goodbye to precious, Sir Shakespeare Hemingway.

035Sir Shakespeare Hemingway, April 11, 2003 – March 7, 2017

Oh how I remember the day he was born, April 11, 2003. We received a phone call letting us know we could drop by at our convenience to select the puppy we wanted. Shakespeare was nicknamed at birth as Piglet, since he was the largest puppy. That evening, Phil and I drove to the home to look at the new puppies. I touched each pup, rubbing ears, and whispering gently to each. When I touched Shakespeare (Piglet) and rubbed his ear, he responded with a moan! I knew Piglet would be our puppy. I smiled, hugged him a bit and said, “This is our pup. Hello Shakespeare Hemingway.”

Everyone laughed. “His name is a big as he is,” their young daughter said. “In six weeks you can take him home.”

I was so excited. I counted down the weeks, recording them in my calendar. On May 23, 2003, Shakespeare came home with us. He curled his little body on my chest and went to sleep as I rubbed his ears.

Whenever he got upset, felt badly or just wanted a bit of affection, he would come to me wanting me to rub his ears. He became close friends with our oldest giant schnauzer, Prince Marmaduke Shamus. They romped and played outside, enjoyed boat rides and walks. Shakespeare LOVED walking. Whenever he passed by the area where the leashes hung, he would jump up and hit a leash, as if to say, “Hey Mom. It’s time for us to take a walk.”

Walking continued until we lost Shamus on May 2, 2012. Shakespeare loved being leader of the pack. He rushed ahead every time we walked. Over the years, Shakespeare loved to cuddle on my hip in bed. If I asked him to move so I could sleep, he groaned and when I fell back to sleep, he attached to me again.

Growing into a husky, mini-schnauzer size, Shakespeare loved to eat. At dinner time, he would stand under our kitchen table, knowing we would not allow him to beg for food, but he was nearby IF we gave him a bite. He grew to be 30 pounds. Once, while at his wellness check-up, our veterinarian suggested we cut back on his food a bit and give him green beans.

“Oh…He loves green beans!”

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Our giant – Prince Marmaduke Shamus, lived with us from June 11,. 2001 – May 2, 2012

and Shakespeare, enjoying a walk

Every day with Shakespeare was a new experience. He would jump up to play, run around to play chase, and at Christmas time, he sniffed all the gifts until he found the gift wrapped doggie cookies. When he found it, he tore the gift wrap and chewed down, eating all of the cookies. When it was empty, he carried the empty container to me, as if to say, “May I have some more!” Every crumb was gone!

A few years ago, maybe in 2008, I started singing again. One morning, I was so wrapped up with a song, I didn’t notice Shakespeare until he tapped me with his paw. He was sitting up, listening to me singing, as if I was only singing to him. So, I sat down next to him and sang. When my husband came into the room, he watched us and said, “See, Shakespeare loves to hear you sing.”

Every time I sang after that day, I made certain to sing to Shakespeare.

We were bonded as one. Wherever I would go, Shakespeare wanted to go. When I went outside to enjoy the sunshine and work on my tan, Shakespeare followed. He would lie next to me on the ground, or he would jump on my chest. Silly boy!

He was independent. Charming. Trusting. Affectionate, and so funny! Shakespeare loved to spend time at home; however, when we left him in the breakfast room with the other dogs, if we failed to leave a light on and we arrived home in the dark, we could hear Shakespeare chewing us out as soon as we got out of the car. He would yelp at his highest pitch, as if he was saying to us: “How dare you to leave me in the dark. You know I don’t like the dark, and even if I am resting with the other dogs, I do not feel safe in the dark. DON’T LEAVE ME IN THE DARK AGAIN!”

I found a small vanity lamp, placing it in the breakfast room. Shakespeare would not be left in the dark again!

Approaching his senior years, he began losing weight, even though he was eating. The vets said he was OK. In 2015, his wellness check-up revealed he had lost a bit of weight. Even though he was husky, he was healthy. In September, 2016, after he was groomed, I noticed he was getting thin. In November, he would not eat occasionally. He didn’t want treats, nor did he want to play with Prince Midnight Shadow.

We cuddled a lot. His favorite spot was to be cuddled in a ball, next to my feet while I wrote. Often, I would touch him and rub him with my foot, and he moaned.

Two weeks ago, I noticed when he went outside to pee, he squatted. He could not lift his rear legs and when I picked him up, sometimes he would yelp. Shakespeare was quickly fading away.

I remembered when Shamus got so ill in May 2012. His wellness check-up was in February. He got a good report. All was fine. Everything changed in May. He would lie on the floor, his breathing was a bit too rapid and he flopped down on the ground after being outside. His stomach was puffy. I called the vet. That afternoon, I was totally unprepared for what we needed to do. I thought Shamus had another stomach blockage, only this time, it was much worse. He was bleeding internally. The vet suspected a tumor on his spleen but the x-rays could not reveal what was so wrong since there was so much blood. The vet looked at me. “I think it’s time to let him go,” she said. “If I do a blood transfusion and surgery, he will probably bleed out.”

How could I make that decision?  I phoned my husband. He rushed to my side, and we agreed that since he was terminal, letting him go would be the only humane thing to do. And so we said our goodbyes. Before the first injection, I sang to him. Choking and almost hysterical, my voice trembled. “I love you, Shamus. I love you so much my precious Shamey-Pooh.” I did not stay with him for the final injection. How I wish I did.

Since November, I’ve debated a thousand times to myself about making that same decision for Shakespeare, my little “Shake n Bake.” I watched him losing more weight. Not eating at times, and walking around only when he had to. Occasionally, he would play with Shadow, the giant we rescued six weeks after losing Shamey-Pooh. I told myself IF he goes without food for two days, it was time.

I knew Shakespeare needed to go to the vet, but I was horrified that I would hear again those horrifying words, “I think it’s time to let him go.”

I wasn’t ready! How could I make that decision again? If it was time to say goodbye to Shakespeare, I did not want to make that decision. In November, I made lists of the pros and cons for Shakespeare. Yes, he occasionally played with Shadow. Yes, he ate – just not every day. I realized he was getting thinner. And thinner.

On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, I could feel all of his ribs and his backbone. He would not eat. He didn’t eat on Monday either. It had been two days since he ate anything.

I made another list:

Is Shakespeare eating? Not on a regular basis.

Was he drinking water? Although I watched him, he didn’t appear to walk towards the water bowl.

Is he walking?  Did he get up to go outside? Only IF I coaxed him to go. He wasn’t interested in walking, even if I shook the leashes.

He was a bit hard of hearing and when he went outside, he would not come inside unless he heard me clapping my hands. When he did, he would slowly get up from his corner of the fence and come inside. Sometimes, he flopped down and I would get him. Although he did not like to be picked up, I realized I was carrying him more than he was walking.

Is he playing?  No. He would not play with me, or with Shadow. All he wanted to do was to flop down and sleep.

Was he enjoying anything? No. Not even a treat.

Did he stand at the gate by the kitchen watching me cook? No. Not now.

Tuesday morning, I came to the reality it was time — time to let Shakespeare go home.

“But he is at home,” I argued with myself.

The truth was he was shutting down. He was letting go. He was in pain and he was miserable.

I spoke with him, brushing his fur back so I could see his eyes. His eyes were glassy and lifeless.

I called the vet, telling them we thought it was time to let Shakespeare go, but I wanted to see the vet, have him check him over and let me know what he would do, if this was his family member.

My vet has a wonderful demeanor with animals. He greeted Shakespeare and checked him over. A few minutes later he said he suspected Shakespeare was in kidney failure. He wasn’t eating properly and was almost anorexic. He was basically lifeless. Probably lingering on because of us.

Then the vet shocked me, telling me that he had to make the same decision in February and allow his mutt to die with dignity.

Although I realized we were making the same decision, my heart is so broken I cannot stop the tears. A tsunami of tears rushes at me and I cannot fight back. I feel such emptiness. I’ve only slept a few hours every night since we lost Shakespeare. I feel guilt, and I have doubts that we made the right decision. While I rested yesterday morning, I felt something touch my hip. I placed my hand there to rub Shakespeare, only to realize he wasn’t there. Maybe his spirit was connecting with me.

Sudden thoughts entered my mind. Shakespeare was communicating with me. He told me he appreciated the loving home we gave him, and he appreciated that we were letting him go with dignity. He reminded me that he will always be with us in spirit, just like Shamus. He said he could move easier now, but he did miss us. He wanted to know if we could welcome him as a spirit. I patted my hip, talking to him, letting him know we still loved him and we missed him, but we were happy he wanted to return in spirit form. Yesterday afternoon, I heard Shakespeare barking. This morning, I imagined him snoring, and I moved my leg to touch him, only he wasn’t there.

Yes, I miss him, and while writing this another tsunami of tears attack me once again. Deep inside, I know I must go on. Now we have four dogs as family members. I am certain one day, I will probably adopt a rescue, but for now, I will focus on the needs of Shadow, Hank, Sandy Bear and Toby. Believe me, they expect a lot of attention.

Rest in peace my dear, precious Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. Run and play with Prince Marmaduke Shamus and please remain the spirit I so desperately need. You are resting on our mantle, next to Shamus. I love you and will always love you, my silly, Adorable Shake n Bake!

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Shakespeare, as a puppy, playing with his favorite toy.

Charleston, Hurricanes, On My Soapbox!, rain, Uncategorized

When and If Hurricane Matthew Comes to the Lowcountry…


Dearest Readers:
Within 24-36 hours, we, in the low country, will know what our chance of meeting Hurricane Matthew is. Here’s what I predict. As most of you know, Charleston, SC is the ‘number one city in the world.’ No doubt, a Chamber of Commerce statement. Yes, it is a beautiful city. Antiquated!!! And I’m not certain IF the city has decided to get with the program and join the 21-first century!
If the hurricane is predicted to hit our coast, I imagine a ‘mandatory evacuation’ will finally be whispered. Remember — we have ’42 families moving into the low country daily.’ Well…we’ve had growth. Amazing, nightmarish growth…New construction is built almost everywhere – however, only roads leading into the subdivisions are made. Our dignitaries cannot make decisions about building additional roads. Their comments are “No money. And If we built new roads, where would we put them? Good question. Excellent observation…but why can’t they make a decision about I-526, or additional roads? Demolishing trees certainly isn’t hard since they completely destroy most of the trees in every new subdivision now. When I moved to Charleston, I was impressed how trees were saved. Not anymore!
If we use Highway 41 to evacuate — we will be parked right on the road when Matthew arrives. I’ve had that happen before in 1999. During that ‘mandatory evacuation’ we moved 57 miles in nine hours! Can you imagine holding your bladder for nine hours? I saw men walking into the woods of Highway 41. I wasn’t about to do that! And, I doubt if men could walk into the woods now – due to the area now filled with new subdivisions, shopping, and other suburban developments. Incidentally, I should mention when my husband was released from work to evacuate – so was every employee in Charleston. I suppose you’ve never read about these nightmares in infamous Charleston, SC — have you? Yes, a beautiful city – unable to handle the traffic hurricanes create when we are finally told ‘this is a mandatory evacuation.’ Yeah. Right. Charleston, what orbit are you on? Face reality! Mandatory evacuation is not possible!
If we have a ‘mandatory evacuation,’ we will not join that parking lot! We will gather our things. Our friends – the best four-legged kind – and we will stay in the hallway of our home. Reportedly, if it hits the coast of the low country, it will be only a category 2 storm. We’ve been here at home for those before. Remember last October?  We had the ‘hundred-year-storm,’ as the dignitaries called it.
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View of the Charleston Harbor and Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge
In reality, it was a tropical storm/mini-hurricane.’ Not my definition of it, but one of the appraisers when I filed a claim and was told “You are not covered!”
Yes, I cancelled that policy and all the policies I had with that insurance company. Never again…Lesson Learned – the expensive way!
So, I am here to let you know – IF Hurricane Matthew comes to town in the low country, we will remain here in our home. Yes. The power will probably be cut off, just like Hurricane Hugo. I will go to the grocery store to get a few non-perishable items we can eat, along with our precious family friends, and we will be fine.
I’m praying my home will be fine. It took us four months to get our beautiful roof replaced in February, 2016. Interior construction from the damage we had during that storm wasn’t completed until May 28, 2016. On May 31, Phil had reverse shoulder replacement – which created another storm I never want to experience again. A physical, emotional roller coaster ride for both of us.
I am staying tuned in to the Weather Channel, and local weather reports, praying this storm will die down for our world. I’m beginning to hate hurricanes. The lightning. Winds. Rain…RAIN…AND MORE RAIN…create only one thing – a time to appreciate life and be thankful for the little things in life.
Hurricane Matthew we do not want you to be another traveling companion or tourist in the low country. Why don’t you move out to sea and disappear! You are not welcome here!
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Cypress Gardens Still Closed Due to The ‘Hundred Year Storm.’
Press Releases

Labor Day Celebration to be Held at Coon Dog Cemetery


F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E

CONTACT: Janice M. Williams, President
Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery, Inc.
PHONE: 256.412.5970
EMAIL: coondogcemetery@comcast.net

Labor Day Celebration to be Held at Coon Dog Cemetery

Tuscumbia, Ala. (August 18, 2015) – On a ridge in the Freedom Hills of Northwest Alabama, in a clearing among century-old oaks and “piney” woods, one may visit the graves of more than 300 coon hounds, all tried and true. For most of the year one hears only the peaceful sounds of nature. On Labor Day, however, the quiet is broken when folks gather for the annual Coon Dog Cemetery Labor Day Celebration. They come to have a good time and to pay tribute to the dogs and to those who loved them, especially the cemetery’s founder, Mr. Key Underwood, and the first dog buried here.

It was Labor Day, 1937, when Underwood lost his beloved canine hunting companion, Troop. Remembering the special times and the special place where Underwood had gathered with friends and other dogs to enjoy the night-time sport and its accompanying camaraderie, he decided that it was the perfect place to lay Troop to rest. The grave was dug by Key, Raymond Wheeler and Wilburn Prater. The dog, wrapped in an old cotton pick sack, was buried. Underwood chiseled his name and the date on a sandstone chimney rock. Today, this grave and its marker remain as a tribute to one man’s love of his dog. Surrounded now by others (many with colorful epitaphs) and with not one, but two, memorial monuments depicting treeing coonhounds, the site rivals human cemeteries in history and in love. The Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery is the only one of its kind in the world.

The 2015 Labor Day Celebration, set for Monday, September 7, 2015, will begin at 10 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m. No admission is charged.

According to Janice Williams, president of the Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery, Inc., “This year’s celebration should prove to be bigger and better than ever. We welcome back the Southern Strangers to play their old-time Bluegrass music and as an added attraction this year, we will have Muscle Shoals Music Legend, Travis Wammack, and the Snake Man Band.”

L.O. Bishop will be on hand to dish up his famous barbeque. Newly designed Coon Dog Cemetery caps, tee shirts, coffee mugs and cap/lapel pins will be for sale and selected arts and crafts vendors have been invited to this year’s celebration.

“Attendance is free, but sales that day will benefit the Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery’s fund for the preservation of the site, which is part of the Freedom Hills Wildlife Management area, protected by the State of Alabama,” stated David Isom, treasurer of Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery, Inc. FCDC Board Member Mitchell Marks stated that the group hosts the annual Coon Dog Labor Day Celebration and serves as caretaker of the cemetery, providing grounds keeping and decorating it once a year for the celebration and burials, which require meeting certain guidelines.

The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery is located at 4945 Coon Dog Cemetery Road in Cherokee, Ala. Driving Directions from Muscle Shoals / Tuscumbia follow Hwy. 72 West and turn left (south) onto AL Hwy. 247. Drive 12.8 miles and turn right (west) on Coon Dog Cemetery Road. Drive another 5 miles and the cemetery will be on the left. Parking areas will be marked and shuttle service by golf carts will be available for those needing assistance.

For additional information, call256-412-5970, email coondogcemetery@comcast.net or visit http://www.coondogcemetery.com or http://www.facebook.com/friendsofthecoondogcemetery.

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Photos available upon request by sending an email to janicem.williams@comcast.net.

Fostering, Rescuing Schnauzers

What Is An Animal Communicator


Six weeks ago a new foster baby was brought into our home…a frightened, sandy blonde and cream-colored mini-Schnauzer, Maltese mix named Cletus. Riding home in the car with my friend, Lyn, another foster parent, I held little Cleet…Cleet in my lap. Each time I touched him, he cringed. He would not look at me. His eyes shared such a dreadful fear that I wanted to hold him closer, and when I tried, his horrified little body trembled. It was easy to see, Little Cleet…Cleet had been mistreated, abused and never cared for like animals deserve.

Arriving home that Saturday afternoon, he sniffed at our animals, Shakespeare, Sandy Bear, Shadow and Shasta. He rushed outside, watching us to see if we were coming after him. When I moved my arms out to pick him so he could come inside, he darted away. My husband watched him. “This little guy has been beaten,” he said. Cletus had such sadness in his eyes. Looking at him I wanted to scream at the person who had been so abusive to him, but I could not. Cletus had been removed from a puppy mill, emaciated, sick, covered with fleas and an eye infection. The infection was so bad the veterinarian caring for him was afraid he would lose his sight. Thanks to the loving care of the veterinarian’s office his eye sight was saved, but nothing could treat or remove the sadness those beautiful brown eyes expressed. Every day was a challenge with Cletus. I was told by the vets office that he might not eat around people, but in the dark of night, he would eat every bite, wanting more.

Week one of caring for Cletus was a challenge. That Saturday morning, I let the dogs outside early knowing my husband and I were scheduled to pick up another foster that afternoon. I poured a cup of coffee and went outside to get the dogs. All of our family of schnauzers and a Maltese rushed inside. I looked for Cletus. He was nowhere to be found. It was 7:30 in the morning. I had to get dressed and leave to drive to Charlotte. My heart ached for Cletus. I looked in every corner of the back yard. The shed door was open, so I rushed inside. No sign of him. I noticed a hole, freshly dug. My heart stopped. Cletus had escaped. I rushed outside, “Here Cletus…come here baby…” but I knew he would not respond. Cletus had made the decision to make his own life, away from humans. After all, in his little world, humans were mean…abusive, and they hurt him. He was taking a stand to his independence. He wanted freedom!

That afternoon we had another foster to add to our little family. We had fostered him before, so when he walked inside the house, he rushed to the water bowl and the toy box. Noting how familiar he was with us, I phoned Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas, to report that our new foster, Hank, was home…and I had some bad news to report. Tears filled my eyes as I told the director that little Cletus ran away. We called Mt. Pleasant Animal Control, but they were closed. A report was filed, but nothing could be done until Monday. 24 Pet Watch was called since Cletus was micro-chipped. The animal shelter was called. I made flyers, posting them within a five-mile radius of Mt. Pleasant. I felt so guilty. I have never lost an animal before.  The independence of Cletus was teaching me a lot about what to do when an animal is lost.

For years, I have been an advocate for animals, especially abused, neglected, mistreated animals. In 2001, I was introduced to a giant schnauzer at a rescue center. He was scheduled to be euthanized because every time someone was interested in adopting him, they stopped the process because he growled. Meeting this giant beauty in June 2001, I moved closer to him. He growled at me. I moved closer, huddling on the floor to get to his level. Surprisingly, he moved closer and stuck out his paw, as if to say “Pet me.” My heart melted. Thus began my interest in rescuing schnauzers.

For 11 years, Prince Marmaduke Shamus touched my life. The day I adopted him I took off his leash in the foyer. Although he was not familiar with the surroundings of his new home, he marched into the hall, rushed towards the master bedroom, plopping his body down in the shower stall. When I found him, he wagged his tail, as if he was saying, “I’m home. This is my new bedroom.” We lost Shamey-Pooh on May 2, 2012, after a terminal diagnosis and illness. Words cannot express how empty I have felt since his passing.

My giant Shamey-Pooh taught me so much about rescuing animals and how to treat them. Now I am a volunteer foster for Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas. My life is blessed with richness when I see these scared little animals grow with love and trust with us. When they leave, I share a tear, knowing we have done our job well and a new home will be blessed with their new baby.

On Sunday, I received phone calls from neighbors saying they saw the little lost dog. He was on King Street. Next report was McCants Drive by Mt. Pleasant First Baptist Church. I searched. I walked. Deciding it might be easier to find him if I walked with my dogs while searching, I added Shadow and Shakespeare to the search, finding nothing. At night, I placed food and water on the front porch, hoping Cletus would find the scent of food and Shakespeare and Shadow and come back.

A few days later, Schnauzer Rescue suggested an animal communicator. I was totally unfamiliar with an animal communicator, but I wanted to find Cletus.  An animal communicator was located and would assist SRC pro bono. Phoning Karen, the animal communicator, she spoke with kindness and compassion, telling me not to blame myself. Funny, she was picking up on my vibes, just speaking with me. She encouraged me to send a bit of history about Cletus in an e-mail. She would review it and phone me at 5pm today.  I shared the history and photograph: Cletus is  14 lbs, a Schnauzer/Maltese Mix, and is missing. He is VERY timid, has been abused, and will run if frightened. He has never bitten but will growl if frightened. Speaking to him in a comforting voice and approaching from his level is the best approach with him.

I did a bit of research. According to the website, http://rainhummingbird.com/blog/animal-medicine-part-4-how-you-can-communicate-with-animals/

1. “Be Present, Calm and Emotionally Peaceful

The first step to communicating with any animal is to quiet your mind, relax and be fully present in the moment. Many people find it helpful to get themselves grounded by closing their eyes and gently focusing on their breath. Take a few deep breaths, relax, breathe normally and when you feel calm and present, begin.

2. Be Open and Receptive

Having an open heart and mind, free of judgments or attachments, is essential to receiving messages clearly and accurately from animals. It is important to recognize that all animals are sentient beings with intelligence, emotions and awareness, and when we are open to receiving their wisdom, there is much we can learn from them. Animal communication is not something to ‘try’ to do. It is something we allow to happen. Being open and receptive to whatever comes, in whatever way the information comes to you, will foster greater opening of your intuitive abilities and your ability to receive and transmit messages will expand and grow with practice.”

On the phone Karen shared how animal communicators use universal language, sometimes clairvoyant. The information comes in the form of pictures, stories, feelings, emotions, information. The communicator may get quiet for a few minutes to get the information soul to soul, an element of translation, If something is confusing or untrue, give her feedback. When quiet, be patient.

For hours I anticipated the phone call. Is Cletus still alive? What if this doesn’t work…what if he refuses to communicate with her?

The phone rang at exactly 5pm. She explained in detail what she would do. Then, she became quiet. I listened.

“Cletus took a talkative route from the front yard, took a turn to the right, walking along sidewalks. He said he was a bit curious; wanting to know what was out there. Cletus stated he isn’t doing so good. He’s confused. Lost. Curious as to what was out there, he walked on sidewalks. After two blocks, he ran from a boy. (I believe this was the boy who phoned me on Sunday at 4pm, telling me he saw Cletus at 3pm.) Now, Cletus says he is so lost. He is sleeping and hiding in shrubs, against a building.

Cletus showed her a big yard, or maybe a park with a bunch of grass. There are lots of trees, grass, kids. He hears machinery, maybe a lawnmower around. Maybe a groundskeeper doing yard work.” This could be Mt. Pleasant First Baptist Church!

Karen continued: “He hears voices. He says he’d like to go back. He said his curious nose got him in trouble because he smelled things and was so curious and ran away. He was a bit surprised that people are looking for him.” I encouraged her to share with him that we’ve posted flyers with his picture all over the area. He said he will look for them and he appeared a bit surprised/touched that we are looking for him. He liked the house, the people, and the other dogs, but he was so afraid. He said, “the people cared about me. The other dogs were teaching me, and I was watching all their actions.” He also said he really liked Sandy Bear.

Karen became quiet again. A few moments later, she said: “The big yard is mowed and immaculate. Kids were around earlier but they aren’t now. There is a little building around and a stream or a creek. He hears noises. Kids laughing, but he’s hiding in the bushes. He stated he has eaten. He found a sack with food in it. He ate a little. He found water from something dripping.” I asked her to tell him his foster mom is placing food out by the front porch of the house and other places so if he is hungry, come back.

We were encouraged to be flexible, when looking for him. If he runs, we might consider using a trap. The problem is I don’t know where to place the trap. I’ve placed a bag of food in the shrubs by the church. This morning, I did not see Cletus and no one I approached has seen him.

Karen stated that animals are visual. They see things as a movie camera in their heads. She encouraged me to get a leash (I have one in my bag when walking, searching for him). Let the dogs take me by leading the way. Each time I walk I use the command, “Let’s go find Cletus.” This morning, my dogs were searching in the shrubs with me. Obviously, my dogs understand what I expressed. Karen encouraged me to be open with my dreams. I mentioned that I have visions and fully believe in what she does. It was an amazing experience speaking with an animal communicator. If you lose an animal you might consider contacting one.

A week passed. Something was eating the food at night-time. Perhaps Cletus was coming back, just to eat.  Another week passed. I stopped receiving phone calls from neighbors, although they were still looking. One neighbor asked for some of my flyers. She delivered them to grocery stores, hardware stores and community bulletin boards.

Every morning the food bowl was empty, but no sight of Cletus. I was losing faith. During this time I was sick with bronchial asthma. I was so weak, I could not walk the dogs or search in the community. Much to my surprise, we received a phone message while away. I didn’t have my cell phone with me, so I didn’t get the message on my phone until returning home. Phil’s cell rang, Mt. Pleasant Animal Control had found Cletus — three blocks away from our home. He found shelter in a woman’s yard. She left the gate open and Cletus rushed into the back yard. For three days he refused to leave her yard. She fed him and called Mt. Pleasant Animal Control. When animal control came to the house, we weren’t home, but our neighbor saw them, rushing outside. Cletus was inside a trap, emaciated and hungry. She agreed to keep him until we got home.

The joy and relief I discovered when we got home was priceless. Cletus looked up at us, allowing us to pick him up. Cletus was home. Emaciated, dirty, but home! All to the credit of an animal communicator named Karen, Mt. Pleasant Animal Control, my wonderful neighbor, and the precious little lady who allowed him to stay for three days in her back yard.

With each day, we see a bit of improvement with Cletus. He doesn’t come to us willingly — yet, but we are hopeful that with our love and kindness, Cletus will grow into a trusting little guy deserving of love from humans, not abuse. He doesn’t want to go outside now, in the dark of night. Perhaps he is discovering that home is a special place, filled with love and kindness. Welcome home, little Cleet…Cleet!