July 19, 2024

Bio Publications Previous Columns Mexico Canadian Articles Stories of the Old West Home

Selected Story

Love Never Dies: The Rainbow Is a Two-Way Bridge

by Maggie Van Ostrand

Houdini and Bobby




I came to see you last night

My nails clicked on the floor

I tried to make you feel me

I touched you with my paw


Don't think that you're without me

for your life I'll always share

So when you think about me

Check your heart, for I am there.


Oprah's grief over losing her beloved Sophie, was profound: "When I [finally] allowed her sweet spirit to be present, my deep connection with her rose to a new level — makes me want to cry —  I am closer to her now than I was when she was still in the body."


Legendary magician Harry Houdini could escape from locked boxes at the bottom of lakes, straitjackets with chains suspended over New York, and submerged upside down, manacled, in a water-filled torture cell. Houdini even taught his dog, Bobby, amazing tricks, like getting out of miniature handcuffs, and how to escape from a straitjacket. Always seeking the ultimate escape, Houdini spent years on a spiritual quest for a way back after death. Though he has not yet returned, it's possible Bobby did — others have.


Some bereaved humans are positive their pet returned, unseen but not unheard. One need only listen, until they reveal themselves in subtle, sometimes comic, ways, like Kay's adored white cat, Tom.


When Tom chose to remain inside the house instead of sunning himself outdoors, he invented indoor games, like opening the kitchen cabinet doors. "Such mischief," Kay exclaimed, childproof-locking the cabinets. Milk-white Tom then turned to scratching inside the fireplace walls and rolling in the liberated coal-black ashes. Kay bought a heavy fireplace screen. Undaunted, Tom chased feathers, laser lights, and catnip mice, filling his life with activity. He finally crossed the Bridge, but he didn't stop the the mischief. 


One night, Kay was awakened by noises downstairs. In the kitchen, she found all the cabinets wide open, the childproof locks rendered useless. No doubt about it, it was Tom. Apparently, he had also conquered the fireplace security screen, because Kay discovered a pyramid of ashes on the hearth outside the screen.


H.H.Holmes, Chicago's famed serial killer, was waiting to be executed and told a reporter "... I shall be hanged until my body is dead ... my soul will immediately transmigrate to another animal ... At 12 o'clock midnight... if you will stand in the middle of City Hall court ... a little yellow dog will run into the court and up to where you are standing. The dog's body will contain my soul." 


At midnight, as prophesied, a yellow dog appeared.


In a London shelter lives a dog they call "Hairy Houdini," who became a media star after finding a way of opening his cage lock, then freeing all the other dogs. Now a legend, known as "Hairy Houdini and the Great Battersea Dogs' Home Escape," who can say that he isn't Houdini's dog, returned from Rainbow Bridge?


My dog, Cejas, loves to play on off-leash beaches, always staying close by. Once he did something unusual ― he ran from me, sat next to a strange woman sitting on the sand, and put his head on her knee. The woman began to cry. "What's wrong?" I  asked, “Is my dog bothering you?” Her voice breaking, she said, "My old dog died last night. We used to come here. I was praying for a sign that she was okay. Suddenly, your dog appeared and put his head on my knee like she always did. Your dog is telling me that, wherever she is, she's okay." 


One thing is clear: a dog is a soul with fur on it.







©2013 Maggie Van Ostrand, all rights reserved.