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Wheezer and the Shadow
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Wheezer and the Shadow
Everyone knows Wheezer, or a dog just like him. He’s an old spaniel with his hair clipped short to keep it from matting & his eyes are a little cloudy now. He sleeps in “his” spot on the porch so the sun warms his old bones. In his younger years they called him “Whizzer” because he would get so excited all the time he would sometimes take a little “whiz” right where he was standing. Nowadays though, he has a little trouble walking and never jumps around anymore, and his breathing sounds faintly like an accordion sometimes which is why he is now called Wheezer. This is his tale . . .
Shades of the Past
There it was again, the cold spot. No matter how he wriggled or turned to the sun lately, it was always there. It had started so small like an occasional drop of rain falling on his fur. Now it had grown until it seemed a large object was sometimes pressed against him; a large, cold object.
Sometimes, out of the corner of his eye he almost thought he saw something, but not being given to a pup's fancies, he noted it to his dimming eyesight and ignored it, whatever it was, hoping it would soon go away; as it used to.
He shifted again seeking the sun’s warmth, and started to drift and drowse when he heard a little voice calling his name. Peering through half opened eyes, he could see the woman’s youngest pup. He was rather found of the girl. He remembers how things changed when she arrived, how unsure he had been that a new pup was a good thing after all he’d been getting older and didn’t play like he had when the boy had come along.
Then the other memories came; the new and constant food source (he’d gotten fat after she had arrived); teaching her to walk, moving slowly beside her so she wouldn’t fall; the gentle romps with her and her friends; all the times she had dressed him up and fed him treats from her little dishes while calling him Mrs. Peabody. She had never been one to play fetch but he hadn’t minded; he wasn’t as quick as he had been anyway.
“Wheezer?” she said again, “do you want to go for a walk, boy?” He heaved himself up as she clipped the leash on his collar. Maybe walking would warm him and give him an appetite. They walked slowly together, for his sake now instead of hers. As they walked, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a shadow. It wasn’t hers and it wasn’t his. When he turned his head to growl at it, it faded away. Thinking is just his old eyes playing tricks he tried to ignore it, but as they walked the shadow returned and accompanied them along the way, staying always in the corner of his eye.
The Unseen Vision
When the returned from their walk and Wheezer had nibbled his supper and drank his fill of cold water, he headed for his bed in the corner, near the old fashioned heater and bedded down for the night. There it was again! The cold spot, not only was it bigger, and colder, but out there of the corner of his eye was the shadow. He growled, and kicked at it, whining with pain as he twisted and pulled old muscles.
Then there was a commotion all around him. Finally! The family could see it too, he thought. But they couldn’t, they were just worried about him and after being carried to the car, Wheezer found himself being driven to the vet. He didn’t mind so much, the vet was kind and gentle and after a quick shot of muscle relaxer Wheezer was on his way home again.
At home, drowsy and tired , out the corner of his eye he saw a shadow approach and sink down next to him, Then he felt the cold spot return pressing up against his side like an old friend. So, he mused dreamily, maybe it just wants to be warm too. Wheezer sighed, relaxed, then slept through the night.
The next morning Wheezer was stiff and cold. The woman brought his food and water bowls and placed them by his bed near the heater. She stayed awhile, petting and talking to him, sharing her best with him freely as she had since the beginning. He knew not all of his kind had good food to eat, people to play with and a warm spot to sleep. He and the woman had been friends for a long time, she knew him well, and he knew her. He wondered at her sadness even as he licked her cheek to share it. Soon he tired again and so he slept next to the heater with the shadow pressed snuggly at his side.
A Strange Visitor
He awoke the next morning feeling much better and after a brisk if brief walk, he romped a bit in the yard before seeking “his” spot to nap in the sun, with the cold shadow pressing firmly against his side, sinking slowly into his body.
Another day passed. He woke the next morning, his breath coming sharply, to see the woman and her pups crying as they sat around his bed. “What could be so wrong?” Then, from the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of movement. He turned and looked and instead of a fading shadow he saw a stranger pressed firmly against his side. The golden-furred one looked strangely familiar but Wheezer couldn’t quite remember where they might have met. The stranger looked kindly at him and seemed to have been waiting for Wheezer’s attention.
The golden one rose and moved to the door, and seemed to be waiting again. Well, perhaps he should show the stranger around a bit, it would only be polite.
Wheezer licked the hands and faces of his family and closed his eyes, preparing to heave himself out of his early morning bed. To his amazement he bound right up! There were no aches, nor the stiffness he had grown accustomed to as a constant companion, and he wasn’t fighting for breath now.
He heard a sob from the woman and, when he turned to investigate, was stunned to see an old one of his kind lying in his bed, apparently lifeless. Wheezer began to bark and bark. It was all very upsetting. No one seemed to pay him any attention.
He rushed to the stranger who waited by the door, but the stranger just pressed briefly into his side and led the way out. After a look over his shoulder, Wheezer followed and it was then he began to understand. There, not in the old backyard he knew, but in a sunny field of green, stood the Master. As he excitedly went to the outstretched hand, he heard the Master say, “Welcome home Whizzer, good boy!”
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
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