Gypsy’s Story

Gypsy was only part of our family for a little over a year, but her story demonstrates that the bond between people and their pets can be so strong that it can’t even be broken by death.  It also reinforces my belief that people are reunited with their pets in Heaven.

In the early part of 1987 Shelly brought Sandy home.  (See previous story).  The original plan was to give Sandy to my mother because she had lost her 18-year-old poodle, Princess (see Princess II), just a few months before.  Sandy ultimately stayed with us. In the fall of 1987 the dog of a friend of Shelly’s gave birth to a litter of puppies.  We decided that one of these puppies would be given to Mom at Christmas.

The puppies turned 6 weeks old a few weeks before Christmas.  We picked one out and took her to our house.  The pup was full of fleas and needed to have a flea bath before giving her to Mom.  We cleaned her up and put her in a little box with a note attached (written by Gypsy, of course, and signed with a pawprint) begging Mom to let her stay.  We took it to Mom’s, put the box on the porch, and rang the bell. We disappeared behind the bushes.  Mom came to the door and took the box inside.  We peeked through the window as she read the note.  Gypsy must have been quiet because Mom was more interested in reading the letter.  She then lifted the cover ever so slowly and peeked in the box.  Out popped the soon-to-be-named Gypsy.

After they appeared to be bonding, Shelly and I went in pretending not to know anything about where this new little intruder came from.  Mom kept saying she didn’t want another dog, but she named her and didn’t protest when we left her there.  So Gypsy had a new home.

Mom was still working at that time.  She felt sorry for Gypsy and didn’t want her to be locked up in a crate all day, so she tried keeping her in the kitchen with newspapers scattered all over.  Of course, this is not the way to train a young puppy.  In that first year Gypsy managed to completely destroy the carpet, the furniture, and the house in general.  But also in that first year Mom and Gypsy became inseparable.  In the second year Gypsy settled down, Mom got new furniture, and at last there was complete harmony between the two of them.

Mom was always telling me that Gypsy kept her feeling young.  Before Gypsy she would come home from work, have dinner, and fall asleep in front of the television.  After Gypsy, she would come home from work and immediately take Gypsy for a long walk. She made a lot of new friends in the neighborhood and Gypsy was the cause of it all.  She made the comment once that Gypsy had become such an important part of her life that she couldn’t imagine life without her ever again.

We moved to Florida in 1993.  Mom was still working in Michigan at that time.  With all of us gone, Mom and Gypsy became even closer.  Mom finally decided to retire in 1996 at the age of 76.  It took me a year but I finally persuaded her to move to Florida in 1997.  She bought a home not too far from us so we saw each other often.  I could also see how close she was to Gypsy.  They still went for their long walks two or three times a day.

In February of 2001 Mom had to have open heart surgery.  Gypsy came to stay with us for a while. Neither one of them did very well without the other. The doctor finally talked to me and told me to bring Gypsy to the hospital and he would make arrangements to have them visit one another.  The visit worked miracles.  Gypsy perked up and Mom recovered enough to be released from the hospital the following week.  She came to stay with us for a little while until she re-gained her strength.  After a few weeks she returned home with Gypsy.

In January of 2002 Mom’s health once again failed. This time she had to have 24-hour nursing care.  Her home was sold and she moved into a nursing home. Gypsy came back to live with us permanently.  By this time she was used to living in our home, so she adapted quickly.  We took her to visit Mom at the nursing home frequently.  During one of my visits with Mom, we talked about Gypsy.  I believe that Mom had some kind of premonition that she didn’t have a long time left in this world.  Her premonitions were always fairly accurate, so much so that I had always believed that she had some sort of special connection to God. The conversation we had that day was very strange indeed.  She reminded me where all the important papers were kept and how she wanted to be buried in Michigan next to my grandparents where she bought a family plot in 1960 when my grandfather died.  She also said she was worried about Gypsy being left behind.  I told her Gypsy had a happy home with us and would live out the rest of her days as one of ours. She then said that wouldn’t be necessary because when she got to Heaven, she was going to call Gypsy home to be with her forever.

A few weeks after this conversation Mom had some sort of stroke or mild heart attack.  This time it affected her mind.  There were days when she didn’t even recognize me when I went to visit.  When I took Gypsy, she would only pat her on the head, then become tired, and fall asleep.  I didn’t think this was doing Gypsy any good, so eventually I stopped taking her for visits.  Gypsy seemed to be happy and well adjusted living with us so I tried not to be too concerned about their separation.

On April 6, 2003, Gypsy ate her dinner as usual. About 9:15 p.m. I received a call from the nursing home.  Mom had gone into cardiac arrest, the ambulance was there, and they were going to transport her to the hospital.  I went to get ready to leave for the hospital. Before I could get out of the house, another phone call came saying Mom had passed away before they could get started for the hospital.

The next day I made arrangements with the vet to board the dogs while we drove back to Michigan for the funeral.  I called every day to check on Sandy who was very weak from kidney failure (see previous story).  They told me the other dogs were fine but that they couldn’t get Gypsy to eat anything.  Sandy died on April 11, the day of the funeral.  Gypsy had gone 5 days without eating.  We came back home the following Monday and picked up the dogs.  I thought Gypsy would start eating again once we got her back home.  After all, she hadn’t eaten anything since the evening Mom died.

Two weeks went by and Gypsy still wouldn’t eat.  She hadn’t seen Mom for months, so I knew she wasn’t depressed about that.  I dropped her off at the vet’s one morning to have tests and x-rays performed to find out why she refused to eat.  The tests all came back negative and the vet found absolutely nothing wrong with her physically.

Then on the morning of April 26, just 20 days after Mom’s death, Gypsy also died for no apparent reason. Mom’s words that she spoke to me that one afternoon suddenly came flooding back.  She had said that after she got to Heaven she would call Gypsy to be with her.  Is it really possible that there was contact between the two of them that night on April 6 when Gypsy ate her last meal and Mom entered Heaven?

Yes, I believe that they are together again, that even death couldn’t separate them.  And I further believe that one day I, too, will be reunited with my dogs at Rainbow Bridge, the entrance to Heaven.