Excerpted from http://www.booklocker.com/books/1541.html
by Angela Hoy
After a violent divorce from my first husband, I met and married a wonderful man and we relocated to the Northeast. Sadly, we couldn’t find any apartment complex or rental home that would allow dogs. Cats were fine, but nobody wanted dogs. So, we had to leave our dog, Baysha, with my mother in Texas. I was quite distraught about leaving her on the day we drove away in the moving truck with everything we owned and loved—except our beloved Baysha, who we had saved from the pound as a puppy eight years earlier. She was like another child to me, and I have still not gotten over the guilt of abandoning her like that.
Sure, she was well taken care of, spoiled, in fact, by my mother and the rest of my family. But I know she missed the children and us with an intensity that I will probably never understand. To this day, I still feel tremendous guilt over leaving her behind, and I’m crying again over my guilt and deep sadness as I write this.
I had a speaking engagement in Texas a few months after our move, so I was able to visit Baysha and my family. Baysha was so happy to see me! She jumped and barked and crawled in my lap and didn’t leave my side the entire time I was there. I think she thought I would be taking her home with me, back to the three children she’d loved and protected for almost their entire lives. But I couldn’t take her with me, and again, my heart was being ripped out, knowing I had to leave her there, once again. On the last day of my visit, Baysha knew I was leaving alone, that she had to stay behind. She whined and cried all day long. And once again, I did the wrong thing. I left her there, knowing my mother would care for her, but not knowing the extent of Baysha’s emotional pain nor the extent of the pain I would experience from my guilt for the next several years.
By the time we purchased a home, Baysha was too old and ill to make a trip by plane to our new home. She had lost her sight and developed a horrible skin condition that left her scratching continuously
One morning, our son, Zach, came in our bedroom looking very distraught. He said he’d dreamed that Baysha died. The dream was so realistic to him and he was so upset that we called my mom to check on Baysha. Mom said, “Well, honey, she is dead.”
My mother and step-dad had finally decided that Baysha was suffering too much from her skin condition to be forced to endure even one more day of physical torture. So they held her tight while the vet put Baysha to sleep. Mom had been trying to find a way to tell us that our beloved Baysha was dead, but she had not yet been able to do it.
Oh, God, how we cried and grieved. I cried because I missed her and, again, from the guilt of abandoning her. To this day, I know that abandoning a member of our family, someone who was like a child to me, was and will probably always be the biggest mistake I ever make in my life. I should have smuggled her into the new apartment and just risked getting caught. Such a fool I was at that time; so intent on following the rules and doing the “right thing.” But sometimes the “right thing” is dead wrong when it involves someone you love.
One day, earlier this year, while attending a dinner party, our youngest son, Max (age 18 months at the time), choked on a tortilla chip. While he was trying to breath and I was trying to clear his airway, he started vomiting blood. Richard and I ran out the door, leaving the other children at the party, and raced to the emergency room, almost having an accident on the way. It was 20 degrees outside and we hadn’t even grabbed our jackets. The hospital was only five minutes away, and we knew it would be faster to get him to the hospital ourselves than to wait for an ambulance.
Thankfully, Max was fine. By the time we got to the hospital, he was breathing normally again. His airway was clear and they determined the tortilla chip had cut his tonsil, which is what caused all the blood. We returned to the dinner party, shaken, but relieved.
Later, as we were getting in our van to leave, I looked down and was absolutely stunned speechless when I saw Baysha standing next to me, looking up at the van door, waiting for her turn to hop in, just like she’d always done in Texas. I pointed and moved my mouth open and closed a few times before the words finally came out. I said, “Baysha is here! Baysha! It’s Baysha!” By the time I finished, she was no longer visible and I, nor Richard or the children, could see her anymore. But, I knew she was there. I even said, “Come on, Baysha! Up!” when I crawled in the van, so she would know I had seen her.
Nobody questioned me, and the children seemed thrilled that Baysha had dropped by for a visit. I can’t adequately describe the comfort her visit brought to me. First, I knew Baysha had shown herself to me to let me know she’d been there with us on a night when I thought my baby was going to choke to death. Second, she’s not mad at me for abandoning her for the last year of her life (though I still live with the guilt).
Baysha showed up another time, shortly thereafter, in our upstairs hallway, and confirmed my suspicions that she is, indeed, dropping in for visits, still loving us, and still protecting us.