|In my heart I have always believed that somehow every person who has loved a special pet will
be reunited with that pet after they are finished with their job on Earth. In 2003, to my
amazement, I witnessed that this can also work in reverse. When my mother knew she was
dying, she made a promise to her beloved dog, Gypsy, that she would call for her after she got
to Heaven. Sure enough, Gypsy joined Mom in Heaven less than 3 weeks after Mama died. No
reason could be found why Gypsy passed away so suddenly. So I believe that Mom really did
keep her promise and called her to Heaven so they could be together for all eternity.
Recently my thoughts have turned to pet reincarnation. I have asked myself again and again if
there is any way this could be possible. Each time I have just brushed it off as a coincidence
or just wishful thinking. Cathy, a dog lover and a very wonderful friend of mine, convinced me
that just maybe the bond between a person and their pet could be strong enough to never be
broken, even by death. This could happen in one of many different ways. The first and most
believable theory is that the pet waits at Rainbow Bridge for their “person” and when that
person dies, they cross the Bridge together, never to be separated again. I have always
believed in this theory. The second theory is that the pet’s spirit somehow remains in the
home. Old toys suddenly reappear and the owner can almost feel their pet moving around in
the home. This always reminded me of a ghost story of sorts. The third theory is brought out
in my mother’s relationship with her dog, Gypsy. If a person dies and leaves their pet behind
on Earth, is it really possible for a link to be established between the two of them? Gypsy’s
death three weeks after Mom’s death leads me to believe there is. Gypsy answered Mom’s call
from Heaven and immediately went to be with her once again.
Now we can move on to the fourth theory and the reason I am writing this. I never really
thought a lot about reincarnation, but things have happened to me personally that I feel I must
share. It is true that all these things could very well be happening only by coincidence, but I
do have to wonder. Is the possibility of pet reincarnation fact or fiction? This is what has
happened to me.
Let’s go back in time to a snowy night in January 1990 as we were anxiously awaiting the birth
of Ginger’s first litter of pups. Ginger was our very special little Dachshund. At the time we
were hoping for as many female pups as possible because two of our close friends were
promised a female if we had them, and we also planned to keep a female. I guess little boy
Doxies just weren’t the “in thing” that year. The first two puppies were born – both females.
We were almost there. Then the third pup was born. We were helping Ginger with the births
because she had grown very tired. We cut the cord on the third pup and I started drying it
off with a towel. It was a little boy. As I held him cradled in my hands, I still remember my
words. “Oh, darn, a boy”. Just as I said this, little Bart presented me with his first poop in
the outside world – right in the palm of my hand. Again, I said, “Oh, Darn”, and gave him to
Ginger to finish cleaning. There was a long wait for the fourth pup, and unfortunately she was
stillborn. But, there was one more pup to come – another little girl. So we had the three
females we were hoping for, and one little “pooper”, Mr. Bart.
At eight weeks of age Schatze and Gretchen went to their new homes. Tiffany stayed with us.
I tried to find a home for Bart, but again, no one was interested in a male puppy at that time.
We started to grow very attached to him and decided he would also stay with us.
Bart grew into such a loving, beautiful, devoted Doxie. A bond formed between the two of us
that I would have never thought was possible. Tragedy struck when he was about 6 years
old. The same genetic defect that had paralyzed his mother was also going to affect him.
Having dealt with the symptoms with Ginger’s case, I knew we had to get him immediate medical
attention and back surgery. At first it was thought that he would also be paralyzed, but he
bounced right back and had only a slight limp as a souvenir of his back problems. A while later
it happened again in a different section of his spine. And, again he survived without a
permanent disability. The third time we were in Michigan on vacation when again he exhibited
intense pain in his back. This time was much worse. We rushed him to an emergency clinic and
were told the best thing would be to just let him go because even if he survived the surgery, he
would be permanently paralyzed. Ginger was already paralyzed and living a good life, so we
accepted the fact that we could live with two paralyzed wiener dogs. We told them to do the
surgery and we would accept whatever Bart could give us. Six weeks later, Bart gave us a
miracle. Our vet could not believe that Bart was walking again and completely normal in every
way. He told us that medically this was impossible, but Bart was determined and blessed. It
was at this time that Bart was known by all as the “miracle dog”.
Ginger’s life came to an end on October 5, 2003 after fifteen beautiful years together. I
held on to Bart that night in an effort to get some comfort. As I stroked his long ears, I
begged him not to leave me the way his mother did. Sometimes I think he could understand
every word I said.
As the weeks went by it seemed that I noticed more and more that even though Bart was
always in good spirits, his body was getting old and tired. His beautiful red hair was turning
greyer and greyer, almost overnight. He still played a lot, but seemed to get tired more often.
We took him on a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee after Ginger died. Even though he
thoroughly enjoyed the trip, his eyes didn’t sparkle the way they used to. Then, very suddenly,
on December 4, 2003, Bart was gone. He was once again with his mother, Ginger, and his
I was totally devastated and couldn’t function for quite a while. Everything around me was a
reminder of Bart and how much I missed him. I believe that his death was so hard to accept
because I never had a chance to say goodbye and tell him how much I loved him.
Around the time of Ginger’s death, this website, “All the Dogs in My Life”, was born as a
tribute to all the dogs I had shared my life with. After Bart’s death, I spent every available
moment working on the website. I was working on an online links page and getting many
suggestions from friends on what I could include on the page. Someone suggested that I put a
link to a Country-wide Breeder List for anyone who might be looking for a dog. I was working
on this section on January 15, 2004, the day that Bart would have been 14 years old. To test
the link to the Breeder List, I put in my zip code and “Dachshund” as the breed I was
interested in. It gave me the name of a kennel right here in Winter Haven. I had never heard
of it before this day. I clicked on the link and looked at all the puppies. This kennel seemed
to specialize in chocolate, black, and dapple Doxies because I didn’t see any red ones. This
was good because Bart, Ginger, and Tiffany were red and I didn’t want to be flooded with
memories. I came across a message on this website that another litter of pups was due at any
time and to check back. I closed the website and didn’t really think about it anymore.
A few days later something drew me back to the kennel web page. I opened it and saw that the
new litter had been born – just days after Bart’s birthday. Bart’s litter had three girls and
one boy. This litter had three boys and one girl. The girl was a very tiny chocolate brown like
her mother and all the boys were chocolate and tan dapples. None of them looked at all like my
Doxies to stir old memories so I asked John what he thought about going over to meet them.
He agreed so we made an appointment to visit the kennel when the pups were three days old.
The first pup I picked up was the little girl. She was very small but very strong. She
reminded me a bit of Tiffany. I then picked up one of the boys. He was sweet but I didn't
care for the color blend in the dappling. Then I picked up the second little boy. Big mistake
here. As I held him in my hands, he pooped on me exactly like Bart had done 14 years before.
I put him down quickly before I had a chance to burst into tears and proceeded to pick up the
last pup. I liked the coloring and so did John, so we left a deposit for both the little girl that
we named Amber and the boy we named Max.
I went back to visit the pups when they were old enough to play. Amber was a pistol, still very
small but the most active. The little “pooper” just sat and looked at me, almost like he was
trying to communicate. He had one light blue eye and one dark brown eye, and looking at him
almost had a hypnotizing effect. The little boy we picked out just wasn’t acting right. I asked
the breeder about it, and she said she was a little worried because she found out that morning
that someone had visited the kennel the week before after being with a litter of pups with
suspected Parvo. On Monday morning I received a phone call relaying some really bad news.
My little Max had died and one of the other males was sick. I was heartbroken but I told her
that I would consider taking the male with the blue eye if Amber survived. A few days later I
received another phone call telling me that Amber was also very sick and not expected to
survive. I told her that if Amber didn’t make it, I would wait for another litter because I
wanted two pups out of the same litter.
I had almost decided that maybe this wasn’t the right time to get two new Doxie pups when I
got another phone call. By some miracle Amber pulled through and was now in perfect health.
The pooper with the blue eye never got sick at all. They were both ready to come home with
The transition of bringing home two new pups was very smooth. The one with the single blue
eye was named Max-A-Million (Max for short) as a tribute to his brother who didn’t make it.
Our household and all our dogs were adapting well to the newcomers.
Then one day the first puzzling event occurred. John was painting the hallway just as he had
done at our house in Michigan when Bart was a pup. Bart had a real knack for getting into
fresh paint. He liked to walk real close to a wall of fresh paint and would end up with paint all
over one side of his long body. I looked into the hallway just in time to see Max walking close
to the wall, the same way Bart had done years before. We were scrubbing paint off of Max
for days. This has never happened with any of our other dogs.
The second event was even more eerie. We have a shrub that has a lot of flowers on it in our
backyard. For some reason this plant attracts bees and also attracted Bart. Bart was the
only dog we had who would keep sticking his whole head into this shrub and ending up with a
face full of bee stings. His poor little face would always swell up to the size of a small
football, but he just kept returning to investigate this plant. The company that manufactures
Benadryl made a fortune off of us while we had Bart. Then one day in early spring, 2004,
poor little Max walked into the house with a very swollen face that looked very familiar to
me. Out came the Benadryl again. Later that same week I watched as Max walked over to the
bee-infested shrub and stuck his whole head into it, exactly like Bart always did. Again we
had little “football” head to tend to and I’m sure the people who supply the Benadryl are
jumping for joy once again.
The real kicker happened just a few weeks later. Bart used to have one of those doggie
gumball machines with the lever that looks like a big dog bone. He would take his paw and push
down on the lever to release the treats that were in the machine. We have had many dogs in
the past, but Bart was the only one who learned to operate the gumball machine. After Bart’s
death, we packed up the gumball machine and put it away in a closet for safekeeping. While
preparing the guest bedrooms for company we were expecting, I came across the box with the
gumball machine. I took it out and filled it with dry dog food just for old times sake. I sat it
in the middle of the living room and watched as all the other dogs investigated it. Max was
outside sleeping on the pool deck at the time. When the other dogs realized the food wasn’t
going anywhere, they lost interest in the gumball machine and walked away. Later Max came
into the living room. He walked right up to the gumball machine, placed his paw on the lever,
pushed it down, and proceeded to eat his dinner. Now keep in mind that Max had never seen
this gumball machine before nor had he received instructions on how to operate it. He just
knew. There are no words to describe what I was feeling right at that moment.
Bart used to love his stuffed animals. After he was gone, I put all the stuffed animals away
because at that time I was blessed with a pack of carnivorous canines who loved nothing better
than to pull all the stuffing out of Bart's toys. I had one brand new stuffed toy that I was
going to give Bart for Christmas the year he died, which I had packed away with the rest of his
things. I took it out and gave it to Max. He was overjoyed and hasn’t let it out of his sight.
And, he is very careful with it – just like Bart used to be.
Bart was able to walk almost normally after his last back surgery, but his left rear leg was the
weaker of the two. He would sometimes stand with his toes on his left rear leg curled under.
Max is also doing this even though he didn't have back trouble at the time the picture used for
the background of this page was taken. The background on this page shows Max with his toes
curled on his left rear leg.
A few years later Max also developed the identical back problem that Bart had. Max also had
to have surgery and was left with only a slight limp - the same as Bart. A year later Max had
additional back problems just as Bart did. Only this time with the invention of laser
treatments, a second surgery wasn't needed for Max as it was for Bart. I hope this trend
continues and relieves Max of having to go through as many surgeries as Bart had to experience.
So, the question remains to be answered. Is it possible for a beloved pet in an old, worn out
body to come back to a home he loved, young and vigorous once again? Did the little guy who
pooped in my hand on that snowy night in January 1990 wait for the right body to give him a
fresh start, and then poop in my hand a second time in the body of Max to try and tell me, “It’s
me, and I’ve come home again”.
I have to look honestly at all the events leading up to this:
1. I was not in the market for a new Doxie after losing Bart – I was mysteriously led to the
website of the Kennel where this litter of pups was due to be born. I was open to providing
them with a home because they looked nothing like the three Doxies I lost in 2003; therefore,
they would not be constant reminders.
2. The male I had originally picked from this litter died of Parvo along with the other male in
the litter. This left only the “pooper” with the one blue eye and his sister, Amber.
3. Amber also became sick and wasn’t expected to survive. I told the breeder that I would
wait until I was able to get a “brother-sister” combination. Two days later Amber made a
miraculous recovery, and both pups came home with me.
4. Max begins to show the same character traits that were unique only to Bart. First came the
paint job and the knack for innocently getting into trouble. Then came the profound,
headstrong interest in the shrub loaded with bees that only Bart was interested in. After that
came Max’s ability to operate the gumball machine without being shown how. Bart was the only
dog we ever had who could master this in the past. And now, the need to carry around Bart’s
stuffed toys day and night comes to light, along with the curling toes on the left rear leg and
the similar back problems needing the same surgery.
Again, I have to ask. Is the possibility of pet reincarnation fact, fiction, or just coincidence?
1/15/90 - 12/4/03
|BART LOVED HIS STUFFED
|THE MORE TOYS HE HAD,
THE HAPPIER HE WAS
|BART LEARNED TO WALK
AGAIN AFTER HIS LAST
BACK SURGERY IN 1997. OF
COURSE, HE HAD HIS
STUFFED TOY WITH HIM.
|MAX ALSO TREASURES HIS
STUFFED TOYS. THE ONE HE
HAS IN THIS PICTURE WAS
ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO
BE BART'S CHRISTMAS
PRESENT THE YEAR HE DIED.
|MAX KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO DO TO GET THE FOOD OUT OF
THE GUMBALL MACHINE. HE WAS NEVER TAUGHT. BART WAS
THE ONLY OTHER DOG WE HAD WHO KNEW HOW TO DO THIS.
|WHO ARE YOU, REALLY??
|LINKS TO SOME OF THE STORIES
MENTIONED ON THIS PAGE
Cathy's Website (Cathy Inspired Me to Share This Story)
|Updated Note.....December 2010
I am no longer keeping the journal I started before Max came to live with us listing all the happenings that
led me to believe that Max was really Bart in a newer body. I think I know in my heart that a big part of
Bart's spirit does live on in Max. But I won't let myself continue to look at Max and see only Bart. Max
has become his very own person (or should I say...dog). Max continues to show traits that only Bart
possessed, but Max is MAX, too. He will be 7 years old next month and has earned his own identity.
I know who you are now although it's taken me years to realize or admit.
You are Max...my beloved Weenie Dog...and I love you for who you are.