Sam’s Guardian Angel

Sam’s Guardian Angel

How do I truly know that the spirit world exists? This is a question I am often asked. It is hard sometimes to explain it to others although I myself understand it perfectly. How can such a complex notion be easily felt inwardly as a universal truth? It is a thing for me as fundamental and indispensible as the breath of life itself and as if it needed to prove itself, the spirit world has shown me testimonies many, many times. Oftentimes in my life, evidence of the survival of the human soul and the love contained within it has revealed itself. The time I’d like to tell you about concerned a guardian angel from the spirit world and a small West highland white terrier called Sam.

On a dark December day night, in late 1990, my mother peacefully passed to the spirit world. A committed spiritualist herself, she had already begun to teach me how to accept that there is more to our world than that which we can see or touch; that there is a world beyond which is so filled with love that it spills back out into ours in many forms.Gary Dakin's Mum

While still with us in our earthly world, she had lived alone with her white West Highland terrier called Sam. Sam was a real character – easily likeable and smart; in fact, I often used to think he thought he was one of us! His pedigree kennel name was Samson of Meadow Lad and sometimes the way he busied himself about, you’d think he knew he was pedigree! Well, my mother loved Sam as if he was her baby and I would go so far as to say that she spoiled him somewhat. I mean, she even cooked fresh minced beef for him to eat… every night!

Mercifully, when it happened, the end of my mother’s life came swiftly. At first, she thought she had a bad case of the flu. At least that was what she told us – perhaps to protect us as I’ve often wondered whether she suspected the truth. In any case, it wasn’t till the doctors investigated further that they discovered the worse: there was a wide spread cancer present from which she would never survive. The last time I saw her alive was the night before she was due to have a breast removed: a radical last-ditched attempt to save her. However, it was not to be. She waved and said goodbye as I left the hospital ward. Her passing early the next morning was made even sadder as it was merely four days after the sudden and untimely death of my brother Stewart.

Unsurprisingly, the people at the hospital were very good to us, as they had been during their treatment of my mother and brother. One young attendant in particular, a Nurse Hill, had struck up a very close relationship with my mother. They seemed to have a lot in common and Nurse Hill was especially kind, spending a lot of her spare time at my Mother’s bedside. I would hazard a guess that what interested her was my Mother’s view on spiritualism and I would also venture that my Mother gave Nurse Hill psychic messages and guidance; such was the strength of their sudden bond. We all felt very grateful at the time to Nurse Hill who had taken such a genuine interest in our mother and made her final days more bearable.

Needless to say, we had a terribly hard and stressful time after my mother and brother passed over. It wasn’t just the double funeral to organise, which was difficult enough to do – both literally and emotionally – but it was made even more heart-wrenching as we also had to clear out their two homes. Can you imagine going through and sorting not only your mother’s belongings but also your brother’s in under two weeks? We had to take turns just so that we could cope with our own grief and sadness as well as being there for each other.

The tasks didn’t end there. To top it all off we had an added dilemma: what on earth were we going to do with Sam? With all the upheaval and upset, nobody had had much time for him. I’ve always thought that animals can sense your emotions and respond accordingly. The poor little chap hadn’t seemed himself at all and I think we all felt that somehow he knew his beloved owner was no longer around and missed her just like us.

At first, I volunteered to have him. I’d always had a bit of a soft spot for him (to be honest, we all had!) and I think deep down I saw it then as a way of hanging on to the memory of my mother. But when I started to think of the logistics – walks and exercise and giving him the tender loving care he not only had become used to but also deserved – it soon became evident that it would be an impossible task. Having recently been divorced, I lived on my own and was out at work all day.

Again, my heart broke as I felt that I had failed in something I knew my mother would dearly want us to do. However, thankfully, there was to be a happy solution.

Helen, a good friend who I trusted from work, put a proposition to me that would help us both. She explained to me that her father, recently retired, spent a lot of his spare time fishing. This meant that not only was he out and about a lot, but was mostly on his own. I don’t know whether it was Helen or her father who first came up with the idea but they came to the conclusion that a dog would be just the thing to keep him company. Helen was a nice girl and I had met her father several times so I agreed to let him have Sam believing that this was the best solution available for the welfare of the dog.

I was now happy that Sam had been nicely dealt with. The funerals and house clearances were over with and life soon returned to normal. Well! About as normal as it could do. I had first divorced and then lost both my mother and brother in the space of about a month; that’s not really all that ‘normal’ but hey, we do what we can with the hand fate deals us.

It wasn’t long before I realised that I had spiralled into a pitiable cycle of work-home-tea-bed with virtually no social life at all except seeing my daughter once through the week and then sometimes at the weekend. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was not living and this poor excuse of living my life was, in my soul-searching opinion, a bit of an insult to the memory of my mother and brother who had recently ended their toils. I finally did something positive and worthwhile. I joined the local spiritualist church where my mother had been a member and that, in a nutshell, is how I started to walk the path that I walk these days.

But “What of Sam?” I hear you ask!

Months had passed and I was looking forward to a brighter future. Yes, it is sad to lose loved ones, but through the support of my mother’s spiritual church, I had begun to feel stronger. The loss of those we cherish is a sad but necessary part of life. We learn to live without them in this world and rejoice in their memories whilst knowing that they have moved on to the everlasting nourishment of the afterlife.

One bright summer’s day Helen approached me quite worried. Her voice trembled and she couldn’t look me in the eye as she began to tell me that something bad had recently happened to Sam. For some reason though, I wasn’t apprehensive, I simply heard her out.

The relationship between Sam and Helen’s father had blossomed as had been hoped. Sam provided the companionship Helen’s father had needed and he in turn, had seemingly introduced to Sam the remarkable and indefatigable world of fishing. It was a match made in heaven.

According to Helen, the day previously, on one of these daily fishing trips, Sam had apparently been momentarily drawn away from his chum and the lure of the catch and wandered away. By the time Helen’s father had realised, Sam was nowhere to be seen.

Helen looked up to me then, and I could see in her face that she was afraid of how I would react. However, I wasn’t upset at all, nor was I worried. I reassured her that everything would be fine; that Sam would turn up eventually safe and sound. In all honesty, there’s no real reason why I would have thought this. As I mentioned before, Sam had been, let’s say a slightly over pampered pup (to say the least!) and my mother had never let him go out on his own. Not only that, but remember, these were pre-chip days and apart from his collar, there was nothing stopping someone from just keeping him. Furthermore, the fact was that Sam had now moved away from his previous home to live with Helen’s father and so was new to the area. For all intents and purposes, you would be forgiven for thinking that Sam would probably not be alright… but I felt 100% positive that no harm would come to him. I just can’t explain it.

Anyway, Helen thanked me for my understanding but still looked worried and upset. Like I said, Sam had been a great character and I could tell that she had fallen for him too.

All was not lost! My feelings were soon proved to be right as later that night Helen received a phone call from a lady living more than ten miles away. She was quick to tell Helen that she had indeed found Sam safe and well. Helen was so happy that she swiftly got in her car and headed to where the lady lived in order to retrieve the intrepid pooch.

When Helen arrived at the lady’s house, she could hear Sam through the door excitedly yapping away as if desperate to tell her of his adventure. Helen still couldn’t believe how Sam had roamed so far and so the lady invited her in for a quick cuppa as she told Helen how she’d found him.

Apparently she had been driving home from work as usual on an ordinary day but, for no reason at all on a remote part of her route, she had felt a strong urge to stop the car. So she did. She stopped the car and sat there thinking to herself “Now what?” Then she had strongly felt that she ought to get out of the car. So that she did as well! She looked around for a moment, not understanding why she had been drawn to this and was just about to get back in to the car when she saw little Sam by the side of a stone wall. He had seemed a little tired and perhaps not so white in his fur, but otherwise well and happy to see her. So she read his collar tag, put him in her car and then called Helen when she returned home to inform her of her find.

As they finished their tea, the woman asked Helen how she had come to own Sam. Helen told her the whole story about her father being lonely at the riverbank and the decision to get a dog. She continued to say that in mentioning it to a work colleague – me – that I had suggested Sam who was in turn, looking for an owner. The lady asked what had happened to the original owner and Helen told her that unfortunately ‘Mrs Dakin’ had passed away. The woman froze, her tea cup midway to her lips.  She gasped the name almost quietly to herself and then added an ‘Oh My God’. Helen thought that something was suddenly terribly wrong and was quite fearful for Sam’s rescuer. The lady quickly recovered her wits and explained in fact that she’d known a Mrs Dakin in the hospital where she worked and knew for sure it was the same woman.

Yes, of course, it was Nurse Hill.

Sam never got lost again and now we had a connection again to the nurse who’d been so kind to our mother. Sam continued happily going on his fishing trips and lived to the ripe old age of 14.

I said at the beginning that the spirit world is forever showing us examples of its existence. This was, in my mind, nothing short of a remarkable exhibit of how we can be led to shelter when our guardian angels are watching over us. I am convinced that the love held for Sam within the spirit of my mother guided him to safety and I am further convinced of this as confirmation that the power of the spirit world is strong enough to break through into ours.

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