Kody – The Miracle Dog
by Peter Anthony
It helps, as I tell you my story, for you to know that I am a spiritual life coach and author of several nonfiction books. Even with my intuitive background, I was amazed at the wonderful and unexpected journey that called to me in lifesaving ways.
I was awakened with a jolt in the middle of the night; his floppy ears, sad eyes, and sleek coat were visible to me, and I sensed someone pulling on his blue collar. The dream was calling me, begging me for attention, and I felt helpless lying in the rumpled hotel bed, as I visualized him willfully refusing to enter the kennel door. His eyes begged me as the woman tugged on his blue collar and this image haunted me.
The dream jumped to another scene. It was a long deserted road where I was greeted by an old man. The same floppy ears and sleek coat of this happy yellow Labrador retriever bounded joyfully beside me, and ran up and down the dusty road. Then he jumped up on me looking into my eyes as if to say, “Thank you, thank you.” What was I to make of this?
I pulled myself out of bed and walked to the window where I had a royal view of Kensington Palace, the famous London scene. I mused as I thought of the dream. The dog’s name begins with a “K.” I somehow knew this. Immediately I felt what had to happen without delay when I got home to the United States.
The list was long. I knew that he was waiting somewhere in the southwest region of the United States. Never once did I doubt. The message that I received was so strong. I surveyed my list of every dog kennel, clinic, and veterinary office from Texas to Arkansas, from Louisiana to Oklahoma. I had to find him and answer his calling.
People I called and coworkers said, “Are you crazy?” They snickered, they rolled their eyes, and laughed at my longing to find a dog that I had just dreamed about. The hang ups and ridicule were more reminders that my search was still in vain. But I knew in my gut that all it would take was the right person, circumstance, or chance that could make my incredible and hard-to-believe story come true. With each disappointment, I returned to my quest to find my yellow Lab.
Weeks turned into months, as I persisted, and my dream in London seemed like just that, a dream. “Don’t give up,” were the kind words of a friend. “If he is out there, you will find him.” I hung on to those words as my heart twisted and my spirit bounded. More calls, as I whispered to myself, “Where is my dog that calls me? How do I know what I see and hear is real? God, can you please give me a sign?”
Kelly is on the line for you,” my receptionist said, as I bolted past her desk. “Don’t know her,” I said, as I kept walking.
My receptionist then replied, “She says that you called her several days ago. She’s called you twice this morning.” This stopped me in my tracks, and I raced to my phone. The voice on the other end said, “I think that we have your dog.” My words did not come easily, as I froze and then stumbled to respond.
“Are you still there?” she asked. She then followed up with, “How did you know about the Lab?”
My voice cracked as I asked, “Does the dog you are boarding come from challenging circumstances, perhaps neglected, and is his vision impaired? Oh, yeah, and his name begins with the letter ‘K.’ It’s just a feeling that I have that I know him,” I offered without telling her about the dream.
“All of your descriptions seem to qualify for our kennel to call you,” I heard on the phone, “except one. His name is Cody with a ‘C’ not a ‘K,’ as you said. His vision is impaired, and his previous owners were neglectful. Our shelter is so crowded now, if he isn’t the right dog, we’ll unfortunately have to put him down. Can you come right over?”
“Absolutely!” I shouted into the phone.
I had one last question: “Does he wear a blue collar?”
“Yes, how did you know that? You’re freaking me out! We’ll see you when you get here. Good-bye,” Kelly said, and I felt my nerves shoot out of my body in excitement.
“What if? . . .” . . . “Is it really? . . .” My brain spun and I steadied my hand on the steering wheel while racing to the kennel. It seemed like a lifetime. And then, the door opened, and I saw his smooth golden fur. As he broke loose, tail whipping back and forth, he leaped toward me at warp speed and bounded around me in unabashed joy. I saw the blue collar and my heart sang. This is my dog! Cody looked at me as if to say, “Yeah! You found me, good going!”
“This is amazing! Cody has been terribly withdrawn, in pain, and distressed. We’ve had to force him into his kennel because he willfully refused to enter it. He is so changed,” Kelly said. I sat down on the floor and Cody immediately jumped into my lap and licked my face. Call it what you will, but somehow God had a hand in this, I thought, as I was wrapped in the joy of the moment. Dog kisses were too many to count. One could say that a miracle of love found its way all the way from the gates of Kensington to the doors of the rescue shelter.
I learned that even the people at the kennel thought that I was nuts when they had gotten my phone call. However, after witnessing Cody run out the secure door, and down the hall, and then dart over to her desk, Kelly thought Cody might be the dog that was I was inquiring about. They said that if it weren’t for Kelly’s hunch they wouldn’t have called me.
Kelly beamed and leaned in to catch my attention. “Here’s Cody’s paperwork. You must be psychic!” She chuckled. I winked and said, “What makes you say that?”
“Here’s his paperwork from his previous owners. Take a look at the spelling of his name!” Kelly’s eyes were wide open with surprise. “His name is spelled with a ‘K,’ not a ‘C’; it was my mistake!” My jaw dropped open, words could not express the rapid sensation of emotion that I was feeling. I wrapped my arms around Kody’s neck, buried my head in his fur, and hugged him with tears.
Two more amazing things happened. Kody and I were on our daily gratitude walk one day in the mountains. In the distance of the long dusty road, I saw an old man coming toward us. As we came together, the old man bent down to stroke Kody’s head. He looked up at me and said, “Your dog came into your life for a reason, watch over him. Someday he will save your life.” I pondered this as he moved away.
Years later, Kody and I were hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains, outside of Palm Springs, California. It was a warm beautiful Easter Sunday morning, with bright blue skies. As we made our way along the trail, Kody spied what I didn’t see. Just inches away from my foot was a coiled-up rattlesnake, tongue black as the night. Its diamond-shaped head was perched with one intention: to strike.
Time pauses. The next few moments are chilling. The snake extends its slithery body and lunges toward my knee. Kody steps forward and yanks the snake away. Three clinching bites go to Kody. One bite goes to his face. The second bite goes to his shoulder. The last strike to his leg. The fatal clock has begun. I panic.
“Dear God!!!” Those words echo loudly in my head. My heartbeat pounds inside my throat. Kody is stunned. He falls to the ground. His facial expression shows pain. I pick up a large rock and hurl it at the beast. I reach down and pick up my eighty-five-pound dog and carry him down the mountainside. Sagebrushes cover the landscape. Rocks jut out like fortress walls, perhaps hiding more slithery predators. The weight of my dog strains my descent down the mountain path. Precious moments become a ticking time bomb.
I lay Kody inside the backseat of my SUV. His mouth froths. His panting becomes irregular. I watch my dog slowly succumb to the snake’s poison in the backseat of my car. I desperately call the animal clinic.
“Good morning. This is the emergency clinic. May I help you,” a voice says.
“Oh, my God, you’re open? Um, my dog was bitten by a rattlesnake about an hour ago. Where are you?”
Doors burst open. I cradle my dog into the emergency clinic full of faces I will never forget. A Hispanic family comforts their small children’s pain as a tech announces the death of their puppy, a victim of a hit-and-run. An old lady cries with such remorse regarding her cat’s death, every person in the room feels her pain. Tears of fear and loss dominate this Easter morning gathering, as a tech rushes Kody into the emergency room. All eyes watch. We wait. We hope. We pray that this Easter morning shows us all mercy.
One by one, every person in the room hears those dreaded words: “We are so sorry.” I look at the clock. I look at the emotional devastation that the death of an animal brings to those families that loved them dearly. Then my moment arrives. The tech approaches me. His eyes say it all. Tears roll down my face. My hands tremble. I look down at my feet as though this will soothe my pain.
“Unfortunately, the window of time became critical. Kody won’t make it through the night. You are more than welcome to leave him here,” he tells me.
Every pet owner’s face looks at me. Their tears become my tears. I am stunned. I can’t swallow. My body quakes with a hurt I can’t begin to describe unless you’ve walked in shoes of loss.
“No,” I say. I will take him home with me. He needs to be home in his bed. Not here in an unfamiliar place.” I quiver. I cry. I wipe the tears from my face. I leave the clinic with my best friend doped up on medicine. The ride home is silent.
Depression chisels itself deep in my soul as I enter my condo. Kody’s favorite toys line the hallway as I make my way to the bedroom. I lift Kody onto my bed and pet his sweet face. “I am so sorry,” I say over and over. His eyes close. His body goes still. His breathing stops. I hold him close to my chest. “Forgive me. Forgive me.” I close my eyes and enter a deep sleep.
A ringing phone jolts me out of bed. “Hello?” I answer. “Mr. Anthony. This is Dr. Wendy Beyer from VCA animal clinic. I got your message just now, regarding Kody. We were closed yesterday and . . .”
“Oh, my God,” I shout. “Kody is gone. Hold on.” I rush down the hallway and hurry to the kitchen. Lapping water from his bowl, Kody is a sight to see. He wags his tail, runs to retrieve his Bullwinkle stuffed animal toy, and proudly escorts it back to me. I pick up the other phone line and yell into the phone.
“He’s alive. He’s alive!”
Revolving doors open to nonstop ringing phones. Pet owners are abundant. Seats are not. I am greeted by Dr. Beyer with a smile. Her staff looks on Kody and me with amazement. Or is it shock? I suppose it could be both?
“I spoke to the emergency clinic this morning. Kody was not given anything other than Benadryl. No anti-venom. This is remarkable! There is no way a dog could survive three snake bites especially to the leg and shoulder” she tells me.
Everyone looks on Kody with disbelief. Dr. Beyer stares at me with astonishment and says, “This is a miracle dog!” I will never forget those words. Nor will I forget London. Or K-9 Rescue! Or, the old man’s smile! And when people ask me if I believe in miracles, I simply say, “Yes.” I look whoever in the eye and finish with a simple comment: “I also believe that dreams come true.”