First I want to say I am SO so sorry for the loss of Jake. Our dogs truly are a part of our family and the loss should be honored as such.

In 2012, after the death of our beloved Yellow Labrador, we began the search for our next furry family member. Eventually, through a lab rescue organization, the stars aligned and we met Izzy. Izzy was a lab mix, mostly lab and border collie. She was 5 years old when we adopted her and she was my shadow every day until she passed away at age 13.

Izzy had experienced some trauma in her past, so she was afraid of hard floors (we made paths of throw rugs for her wherever there was no carpet) and her bark was higher pitched than it should have been (possibly from damage to her throat from a pinch collar used in her youth). She was always a little insecure and craved security and routine. Since I have health issues of my own that have me at home most of the time, we were wonderful security for each other. Izzy was the best fetcher we have ever had. Nothing made her happier than a good round of ball in the back yard. And she was incredibly talented at it as well, leaping and grabbing the ball from the air, and even seeing ahead of time when the ball was going to bounce off a wall and slowing down and estimating how it would bounce back so she could catch it on the rebound.

My husband was in the military when we got Izzy (he’s now retired and working in the civilian world), and she made two different cross-country moves with us, taking it all in stride and making friends wherever she went. She only worried if she thought we might be separated from her or one of us might be left behind.

In January of 2020, I lost my father to what, in hindsight, we are sure was Covid-19. Then just after that, our Izzy (then 13) started having health problems. Her illness lasted only a few weeks before we had to make the excruciating decision to put an end to her suffering and have her euthanized. We were able to find a vet to come to our house to put her to sleep, so she passed right in our living room with myself, my husband, and our adult daughter all around her. She was happy and safe and passed very quietly.

We missed her terribly, but she had had a good life in her forever home. The next night after she passed, something happened I never expected and had never experienced with any of our previous dogs.

Normally, each night, I would go upstairs to brush my teeth and get into bed slightly ahead of my husband while he finished up some chores downstairs. He would then take Izzy outside to do her business one more time. After they came in, while my husband was washing up, Izzy would dash up the stairs, come and find me where I was sitting in bed (usually reading or going over my planner for the next day), and she would come say goodnight to me, insisting she get my full attention, a pet on the head, and a “Good night, Little Izzy,” from her Mommy before climbing into her own bed for the night. She slept on a dog bed inside an open wire crate in the corner of our bedroom, just a couple of feet from my side of the bed.

After she passed away, we left her bed set up in our room with her favorite toy still on it for the first week or so, just until we were emotionally ready to let it go. Well, that first night after she passed away, I went upstairs and got ready for bed. I was sitting up reading and my husband was still finishing in the kitchen. And I swear to you, I so clearly and obviously felt Izzy come into the bedroom, walk the path she always walked around to my side of the bed, then wait there for me to say goodnight. I couldn’t see anything or hear anything, but I could feel her as clearly as I have ever felt anyone standing beside me. I don’t know how to describe it. She was there. In the past, when I heard people talking about feeling someone beside them, standing or sitting in a certain place, I couldn’t really understand what that meant or how it would feel. If you can’t see our touch or hear them, how do you know anything is there? Well, now that it has happened to me, I know. She was THERE. No question. We all have more senses than we know.

I was slightly freaked out, mainly because I didn’t want to think she was stuck lingering here on our plane. I wanted to believe her spirit had peacefully passed on and would be waiting for us on the other side. So, I didn’t do much to acknowledge her presence, then after a few moments, I felt her move away and into her bed. It was unsettling in some ways, but I tried to convince myself it was just my mind wanting her to still be there.

Until the next night. I wasn’t even thinking about it, I was busy with something I was reading, when the exact same thing happened again. Izzy came upstairs, rounded the bed, and waited for me to acknowledge her. So, this time, I indulged her (or my delusion, either way I decided to go with it). I reached out my hand just as I always had in her life, smiled at her, and said, “Good night, little Izzy. Sleep well.” Then I sensed her turning around and climbing into her bed.

After that, she never came again. Maybe she just needed to check in with me one more time, know that I was still with her, and everything was all okay. I had been her “security object” in life, her touchstone for comfort. Maybe she needed me to tell her that where she was now and where she was going was okay.

What I CAN tell you, is that she felt happy. Normal. Just like her usual self.

I can’t tell you if it was residual energy following an engrained pattern, or a true ghost. But it very much felt interactive to me, and not at all like my imagination. It was something outside of me.

Thank you for reading my story and I send lots of love your way as you mourn your own loss.

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