Can’t Escape the Ghost of You

The True Value of Companionship

Came in from a rainy Thursday on the avenue
Thought I heard you talking softly
I turned on the lights, the TV, and the radio
Still I can’t escape the ghost of you

What has happened to it all?
Crazy some’d say
Where is the life that I recognize?
Gone away

A couple years ago, a friend of mine lost his pet of 18 years. He was telling me that sometimes at night he sees her run across the room. That made me think of the lyrics from the Duran Duran song, Ordinary World (1993).

More than three years after she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I still see Lucy. I used to think I was whacked; but, my friend is not the first person to tell me about seeing a pet after it left this world – and none of them have spent time in a psychiatric hospital, except me. So, while I may be a little crazy, I know they aren’t.

My evangelical Christian father would have declared Lucy a figment of my imagination since only human beings have souls that live on after death. Even at the evangelical Bible college I attended, one of my professors pronounced that our beloved pets would not be in heaven because…you know what’s coming, don’t you…they don’t have souls.

Do Dogs Have Souls

Will Rogers once said: If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go to where they went. Even though I don’t believe in the Christian idea of heaven, I embrace this sentiment with open arms. If we do live forever, what kind of hell would that be to face eternity without the pets that made our lives complete during their all-too-brief time with us.

Mark Twain said: Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. How could dogs be excluded from any heaven, when they deserve to be there more than we do? Would a benevolent deity deny entry to the very creatures that many believe epitomizes that god’s attributes of love, acceptance, loyalty, selflessness, service and, forgiveness?

Doggy Devil

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.  Anthropologists posit that early humans created devils and demons to explain natural disasters and other misfortunes. In modern times, some believe that the idea of Satan is perpetuated by people who need to believe that there is something in the universe more evil and pernicious than humans.

So, anyway, sometimes at night I see my Boston Terrier, Lucy. Maybe she is a figment of my imagination. Maybe she is still with me. I hear her bark during the day and, very often when I’m driving, I experience an overwhelming sensation that Lucy is right there beside me. I look at the doggy car seat on the passenger side and I’m always surprised not to see her sitting there, watching me.

Even though I know she cannot possibly be there. Or can she? What do you believe?

~ George

That’s one True Value of Companionship.

A good dog never dies. He always stays. He walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter’s drawing near. His head is within our hand in his old way. – Mary Carolyn Davies

Want to read more?

Rauser, R. 31 October 1912. Are demons responsible for natural evil? Retrieved online at:


Hamilton, M. 07 July 2013. What does it mean to live in a fallen world? Retrieved online at:


Geggel, L. 02 October 2016. Where did satan come from? Retrieved online at:


Kiger, P. The devil: Understanding the root of evil. Retrieved online at:

Tired of Missing You

The True Value of Love

I only wept once today over missing you

And wondered if that meant my grief was less

Overwhelming than it was last year.

Or the year before.

Might it mean that I’ve grown tired of missing you?

Or, that finally, after three years of grieving

Perhaps I’m running out of tears.

Might it mean that I feel less, or care less

Than I did last year? Or, the year before?

I do not, cannot, will not believe this is true!

Ellen replaced you, you know, a few weeks after you

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Replaced. What an unkind and uncaring word!

Like renting out the bedroom so soon after

A loved one is gone.

We named her Stella, a French Bulldog puppy

Just eight weeks old and unaware

Of my unreasonable expectation that

She would fill the hole that losing you

Had left in my heart.

She was never you – never could be you

Never will be you

And I was afraid to love her

As if loving innocent Stella would

Somehow betray your memory.

While I knew that her purpose, her place, was

Not to replace you,

It took almost all three of the years since you left

For me to love her.

Like I loved you.

And, the most amazing thing happened as I invested more

Attention and more affection and more love

In Stella.

I began to weep less over missing you.

And, as I spent more time petting and rubbing and

Scratching Stella, I noticed how much she felt

Just like you.

I noticed how much she enjoyed being scratched

Behind the ears and

Stroked under her chin

Just like you did.

And, she returned my affection, sought out my attention and

Began snuggling with me on the floor or the sofa

Or the bed at night.

Like you always did. And it occurred to me

How much like you Stella is.

So, every year we celebrate another birthday for Stella.

And, every year we remember when you

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Three birthdays now to celebrate Stella’s exuberant life.

Three anniversaries to remember when you left us

To run and play in fields beyond that Bridge.

And, as I thought about you today and all that you

Meant and mean to me, I understood that

Just because I only wept for you once today,

That does not mean I love you less or miss you

Less or remember you less than I did last year.

Or the year before.

I rather think it means that I remember to love Stella

Like I loved you.

And, I rather think it means that the piece of my heart

That died with you has grown back in the form

Of a French Bulldog named Stella.

While neither she or any other will ever

Replace you in my heart,

I have grown to embrace another little girl

Who loves me and needs me

And wants to be with me.

Just like you, precious Lucy.

Just exactly like you.

Forever loved. Forever missed.

Forever in my heart.

That’s the True Value of Love

Lucy Elliott-Applegate (102501 – 080614)