The sun was slipping over the horizon and the temperature was falling rapidly. This would be the last hard freeze of the season. Out our back window, we could see two dogs strolling across the point. That’s what we call the wide open space of property next to the woods on one side where it drops over a ridge into the woods behind. A few minutes later the dogs were in our back yard close to the house, obviously weary from their journey through parts unknown. One dog, a black and tan coonhound, stumbled over and laid down to rest on the cold damp ground close to the house. To avoid the firestorm of fur when our other dogs discovered the invaders, we put them behind a gate, restricting their movement to the other end of the house.

With the coon hound safely planted, the other dog wandered away and then returned to check on his friend. He wandered a bit farther and returned, then a bit farther still and returned, this time not as close. Getting further and further away, he finally made his way alone back to the point, turned around check on his friend and then disappeared over the ridge. We never saw him again.

By now it was nearly dark, the temperature had plummeted and it was frigid. We couldn’t turn our back on this poor, cold and hungry creature shivering in our yard so the Missus set off in her car to find the owner and I brought the black and tan into the house. The Missus returned later, unsuccessful in her effort. Walking was difficult for the exhausted dog and she was in such bad shape we wondered if she would even make it through the night. In a spare bedroom where she could rest undisturbed, we made her a warm, soft bed, turned on a small electric space heater and gave her food and water. After a thorough examination the following day, we were informed by the vet that the dog had been beaten so severely that she might have even suffered brain damage and had we not taken her in she would not have survived. For obvious reasons, we decided not to look for the dog’s owner.

Jazz’s recovery was touch and go for a while but she eventually healed up and haired over and became a cherished member of our family. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind around here that an angel in the form of a dog brought Jazz to our home for care and love. There is much more to this beautiful story of a special needs dog but I will save that for later.

Nimbus, a stray Scottish Fold cat, showed up at our backdoor one morning and asked if he could come inside. He was very sick and it was obvious by his battered condition that he had been out on his own for a very long time and had survived several vicious fights.

The following morning, Monty arrived at our backdoor and asked if he could also come inside. He was tired and disheveled but in better shape than Nimbus. He and Nimbus acted like they were best buddies and we later learned that the two of them had been holed up in a neighbor’s barn for a while before making their way to our house.

Trips to the vet revealed that despite a crinkled ear, Monty was in pretty good health. Nimbus, on the other hand, had some issues that required immediate and ongoing care. Monty stayed very close to Nimbus during his recovery and to this day, the two of them are inseparable. After Nimbus got back on his feet, Monty turned his attention to others in the house who might need a special friend. At the time, I was going through a rough patch and my mind was sliding into a very dark place. Monty knew that I needed an angel. He spent much of his time cuddled next to me, sometimes washing my hand or face and sometimes with his head on my lap. Yes, it helped. Tremendously. Thank you, Monty. By this time we had begun to wonder about Monty’s possible heavenly origin.

When Fred came along Monty assigned Josephine to take care of me while he turned his attention to this bonkers youngster, teaching him how to play responsibly. They wrestled and chased each other up and down the hallway and over time, with a lot of Monty’s help, Fred became rather manageable. And then came the new guy, Panda, aka Zipper. Mom calls him Panda due to his appearance, I call him Zipper because that’s what he zips through the house like a maniac, literally bouncing off of the walls and furniture. Monty’s current mission is to teach Zipper the ways of normal cathood at WarmFuzzy’s and he’s got his work cut out for him. So far, so good.

Monty prioritizes his time, focusing on those who need loving care the most and he’s good at knowing when he is needed. After escorting Nimbus to WarmFuzzy’s, our little angel cat decided to stick around and everyone here is sure glad he did.

His name was Paul. I saw him hitchhiking on I-70 and pulled over to give him a ride. I asked the raggedy old man where he was headed and it was farther than I was going but I told him I’d give him a ride until I had to turn off. He and I had quite a conversation and when I arrived at my exit, I decided to just keep driving…and driving. I finally pulled over when we eventually arrived at a junction in the highway where he wanted to “head north a bit.” I gave him what little money I had in my pocket for his journey and we said our goodbyes. I turned my car around to head back and when I turned my head to look and wave he wasn’t there. He had vanished. I slammed on the brakes and turned around to see where he had gone but he was nowhere to be seen. This was not the first time nor would it be the last that this sort of thing has happened to me. I later wrote a song about this called Angels Unaware.

There are definitely angels among us and I believe they come in all shapes, sizes, gender, and species because God is not limited to our doctrinal stereotypes. Angels show up at the right place for God’s children when they help. The Bible tells us that angels are God’s messengers and helpers. He sends them to protects us, to guide us and sometimes we may not even know we are dealing with an angel.

Hebrews 13:2
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

When we need God’s touch, He sends His angels to be by our side. In our darkest moments, they provide a glow that helps us find our way. They are the shoulder that catches our tears when our hearts are broken and they are there to escort us home when it is our time. My Dad saw angels in the room when he was on his death bed.

God loves us enough to always take care of us, protect us, guide us and comfort us, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He does. He loves ALL of His creation, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He does. Don’t you suppose those same angels that He sends our way also protect, guide and comfort His fur friends? They surround those precious babies and carry them home when it is time and when they are gone, God leaves some angels behind to be by our side to comfort us in our time of grief.

We had a monstrous thunderstorm last night. Buddy was terrified of the storms. Whenever one came around, we held him close and comforted him. Last night I remembered…and I cried. Fred came over, laid his head on my chest and purred. Buddy no longer fears the storms because he is with God and His angels but as long as I am here on this earth, God will send angels when I need them.

God’s got plenty of angels to go around. You’ve probably got at least one near you right now. That angel may have two legs or maybe four legs and fur, but there is an angel there nonetheless.

Thank you, God.

~ Rod Ellis
Here is a link to Angels Unaware if you are interested in hearing the song I wrote.


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