I had a little rescue tea-cup poodle named Angel that I got from a family who was going to either euthanize her or give her away. I was just 18, had moved to my first little $65/month apartment with my twinsie, and I had always wanted a dog. Cue Angel. She was ten, but spunky, and she followed me all through the little town where I lived. We’d walk down to the post office, I carried her through Harry’s Super Value picking up a few groceries, she was my constant companion. Wherever I went, Angel went, she traveled on a pillow in between the seats in my 1974 orange Vega. We’d pick up and just go, Angel and me.
In November 1979, right before Thanksgiving, a door had been left ajar by accident in the old Victorian house my friend and I had moved into. When I came home from the hospital, Angel was gone. I put out want ads, I checked out every single “lead”, but Angel was gone, and before long winter would come, and I held no hope that a tiny 5 pound dog would survive it.
I was heartbroken. I sorrowed so deeply not knowing what had happened to that little doggie. I wondered if she’d gotten picked up and was living with someone. I wondered if she had been hit by a car, and was left to die in the tall dead grasses along the highway. It pained my heart not knowing. All through that cold, snowy winter I mourned my sweet Angel.
In May, my big sister called the hospital and said, “You need to bring home some dog food.”
“It’s much too early for me to replace my Angel Dangel.”
“Well, we think it IS Angel, but we’re not 100% sure.”
I truly don’t remember how I got home that afternoon, an orange blur flying down the highway.
When I entered my sister’s house, I stood silently at the door. All of a sudden a little white head popped up from between her and her husband on the couch and like a flash she was in my arms screeching like a human being, it was a sound I’d not heard since — a dog finding its love after 6 months away, or maybe it was my voice I heard. To this day, I have no idea.
We don’t know where she spent the winter of 1980. A couple of people thought they had spotted her off the highway a couple of miles down the road, but when they stopped to call her, she scampered into the tall grasses and got away, until she found herself at the porch of my first apartment behind my sister’s house five months later.
Angel, became an angel in heaven when I was pregnant with my first child, but we had many good years between. She loved the man who would become my husband, and he loved her so much, that when we went on our honeymoon, he couldn’t leave her behind, so he tucked her in his pocket and surprised me as we got on the road. We placed a pillow between the seats, and Angel sat, her eye’s squinting with happiness, she had her people and we were embarking on a whole new adventure together.
Her story is one that even we can’t believe all these years later, how that little, tiny dog found her way home to the love that waited silently for her.