New Year’s Wonders: The Dalmatian’s Epiphany

Topics: Grief
little boy with black labrador

I love this day. Of all the holidays, Epiphany is my most beloved.

Dogs are involved.

In October of many years ago, when I had recently graduated and was living with my grandmother, I lost my sweet Rottweiler Susie. Her favorite trick was to rest her chin on my shoulder from behind my seat when I drove. After she died, I ached to know that dogs went somewhere special and prayed for weeks and even months for a sign that she was somehow okay.

Nothing happened. My grandma and I mourned quietly and life rolled on through the craze of Christmas itself. Then, on the day we celebrate the coming of the wise men to see Jesus from afar, a different dog bumbled his way into my life and my heart.

This Dalmatian pup snuck past the greeters at the entrance to the church doors and wandered down the aisle. I suppose he must have been hungry because he headed straight up to the altar and the communion bread. I laughed from my pew to see the pastor try to shoo him without touching him. Then I followed the usher who had carefully scooped up the pup to take him outside.

We decided to go knocking from door to door in the neighborhood, looking for an owner. No luck. I took him to the shelter but then couldn’t leave him–instead bringing him home for ‘just a few days’ to see if anyone would claim him from my notes on the telephone poles and the notice I left at the shelter. No one did.

So he stayed.

He was the goofiest dog. Even my genteel older Labrador, who wanted to hate him, couldn’t bring herself to do it. He somehow got her to loosen up and play with her.

I named him Angel–Ani for short–because of where we found him and because of this unshakeable sense I had of a prayer answered that Epiphany when he came into the sanctuary against human will. I didn’t exactly know that Susie was okay out there in the universe. But I knew I would be because I could still love and laugh with a dog.

May you find your prayers answered, too, on this Epiphany Sunday-



Dalmatian and black Labrador dogs at the top of the stairs

(I think Cheyenne was getting even for all of Ani’s shenanigans here.)


About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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