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This story is true--as true and exact as I know how to make it. The events described here actually occurred. This account may offend those who do not believe in God and those who do believe in God but do not believe that animals have souls. If you hold such beliefs and do not wish to be offended, please read no further. Otherwise...

His name was DD.
These initials were derived from the nickname, "Dump Dog", that I gave him when he came to live with me.

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I first saw DD at a truck stop in Natural Bridge, Alabama. He was a dog of uncertain heritage, a stray, a young dog, scrounging and begging for scraps. He slept under parked trucks and nearby utility buildings. He had no home nor did he have any master to care for him. Thin and emaciated, DD had long thick black hair and was beautifully marked with well-balanced symmetrical brown markings. Weighing about 35 pounds or so, he was a medium-sized dog. His hair was black and tan and relatively thick and long. He had the makeup of an Australian Shepard. Even though he was very friendly and personable, Dump Dog was suspicious of everyone, and even though he would wag his tail and show other signs being glad to see me, he would not allow me, or anyone else, to approach him closely. Slowly, after feeding DD scraps over a period of weeks, he came to know me. Eventually he started taking scraps of food from my hand. DD came to expect a daily handout from me and would come for his food when I called. I used the name "DD" and he came to recognize it. Time passed and I continued to feed him. However, except for taking food from my hand, he never permitted me to approach closely enough to pet or touch him.

One day the manager of the station told me that he had decided to shoot the dog because he had become a pest and was annoying his customers by constantly begging for food. Concerned, I went to the nearby restaurant, bought a hot dog, and took it back over to the station. I called for "Dump Dog" and he came running to me, expecting his daily treat. This day was different. I broke off a portion of the hot dog and held it in my left hand as was my customary procedure. By slowly moving the food away, I enticed him to come closer and closer. As he stretched his body out to take the food from my hand, I suddenly reached with my right hand and grabbed a handful of his hair and held on with all my strength. Dump Dog screamed with a shrill voice as though the devil himself had him in his grasp. Truckers awoke and streamed out of their sleepers. The station manager came running out to see what I was doing to the dog. Diners in a nearby resturant abandonded their food and rushed outside. Nothing, however, caused me to release my grip. I had DD, and I was not about to let him go. I continued to hold him as I put a rope around his neck. DD was terrified and shook with fear as he screamed. After a while, his screaming subsided although he continued to shake. He did not know it, but Dump Dog now had a home and a new master.

I took DD home. He would not come inside voluntarily. I lifted him and carried him into the house in my arms as he trembled and shook with fear. Over the ensuing months he became comfortable with me and with staying inside. DD became a member of my household and slept comfortably and protectively at the foot of my bed each night.

DD was an extremely intelligent dog. He developed an amazing vocabulary. He understood almost everything that we told him and obeyed commands that we gave. It was never necessary to raise our voice to him. We could give him a simple instruction and he would obey. I could tell him to "Stay" or "Sit" and hours later he would still be in the same place. I could open the door of the house, tell him to get into the truck, and he would climb into the bed of the truck, without me escorting him. He would stay there until I came out. I have never seen anything to compare to this dog, nor do I expect to see such again in this lifetime. Many happy years passed and I shared a loving and trusting relationship with DD. We became inseparable and I took him everywhere that I went.

Then, one day I discovered a small tumor on the side of DD's tongue. Concerned, I took him to a vet. It was a small cancer. The vet removed the cancer and told me that it was likely to reappear. Later I discovered a small lesion on DD's side. Again, I took him to the vet, and again he diagnosed this lesion as cancer. He told me that there was no hope of saving him. The vet outlined various options. These were essentially the same as for humans, chemotherapy, radiation, etc. He told me that regardless of what he did, DD was doomed and would soon die, and that even with these treatments, the best he could do would be to prolong DD's life for an undetermined period. The vet said that when DD got to the point that he could not hold food in his mouth and started spilling it that we should consider "putting him down". I opted to forego the recommended treatments and to not have the vet treat DD. I started a regimen of vitamins and regular feeding of those things that DD liked best: ice cream sandwiches, biscuits, hot dogs, etc. DD became fat, and stayed fat until the end.

Slowly DD's condition became worse. Over the next year and a half the cancer took its toll. His entire tongue became involved. Open bleeding sores appeared on his abdomen, behind his ears, and on his sides. I treated these with various nostrums, mostly Gentian Violet, and I was successful in causing most of the lesions to heal for varying periods. But the sores did not stay healed. Gradually DD became worse and it took longer and longer for the reoccurring lesions to heal. Large watery tumors appeared on the inside his hind legs. A watery tumor arose on his abdomen. Despite his illness, DD's spirits remained high. He would run and play with me and with my other dogs. Over time, however, his condition continue to become worse. He developed a large lesion on his left side.

Then came the dreaded day. The lesion on DD's abdomen burst and a hole appeared. I could see his intestines through this hole. The look in his eves told me it that he knew what I had to do and that it was OK. I thought of taking him to the vet and having him put to sleep, but after thinking about it, I realized that even though the vet would administer the drugs that would kill him, it would only be the vet acting in my stead. I decided to do this awful chore myself, where DD was at home, with those he loved and who loved him, rather than have a stranger that DD did not know end his life in a cold, sterile, and unknown place.

I loaded a small short-barreled revolver with low power target rounds so that the bullet would not penetrate all the way through. Tears streamed down my cheeks as DD followed me to the top of a small wooded knoll behind my home. I sat on the ground with DD sitting on my right side. I wrapped my arms around his body and petted him for a long while and told him how much I loved him. Finally, without him seeing, I placed the muzzle of the pistol at the nape of DD's neck, angled it upwards so the bullet would enter his brain, and pulled the trigger.

DD stiffened and settled to the ground. His head came to rest on his forepaws as though he were sleeping. As DD settled to the ground, the sunlight started to become brighter and brighter and a few glistening sparkles drifted downward from the sky. The sparkles rapidly increased in number until the air was filled with these minute sparkles. It was as though these sparkles were tiny bits of diamond dust gleaming colorfully in the ever-brightening sunlight. The entire world filled with this glittering fog and the sunlight glowed intensely through it all. I could see only hazy images of trees and unidentifiable forms moving faintly through the fog. The entire world within my view began to shimmer and vibrate as though I was watching a reflection of the landscape off the surface of a pond covered with tiny waves. Suddenly, DD's tail started to wag. Then, slowly, his tail wag became less pronounced until there was no more. The glistening diamond fog gradually dissipated and the brightness of the sunlight slowly dimmed to normal. The moving forms faded to nothingness. The shimmering gradually ended. My body heaved with great sobs and floods of tears fell from my cheeks to the ground. I cried for hours.

I have thought about this experience many times. At first I thought that DD's tail wagging was a reaction to the sudden ending of his pain and misery. However, as I mulled over these events, I came to the conclusion that I had witnessed something miraculous. I believe that a divine spirit, God, or Angels perhaps, came to welcome DD and take him to his new home. DD wagged his tail as he recognized and greeted this Spirit.

Was this vision simply a grief-induced hallucination? Do animals have souls? I don't know. What I do know is that this is a true and accurate description of the events that occurred that sad day, and that since that timeI have never doubted the existence of a Divine Being. I truly believe that God visited the knoll behind my home on that day and took DD's soul, and I am firmly convinced that God takes cares for all of his creatures both large and small.

So, what do YOU believe? Divine visitation? Hallucination? Something else?

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