The Word of God

Ode to Hannah Bear

yellow lab puppy looking into the camera

Have you ever been casually driving perhaps on a cloudy afternoon and all of a sudden, a song comes on the radio that mentally catapults you back to a time years and years ago with memories you thought were long gone?

For some reason last week, I was listening to an oldies station and they played this song called “Mr. Bojangles.” At that moment I remember as a young teenager listening to that song and feeling sad about the man who seemed to be all alone except for his best friend, a dog. The line from one of the verses that truly stood out to me was “the dog up and died, up and died, and after twenty years he still grieves.” I remembered then wondering how that would actually feel, grieving for an animal. At that time because of allergies, a small house, and college looming in the distance, I couldn’t know. It wasn’t until I was thirty  years old that I had my first dog. And since then I continued to adopt canine companions for quite a stretch of time, but it wasn’t until I met the one dog that even today makes me smile even while I offer you this memory.

Thirty years ago, I decided to look for a four-legged companion for what I thought were going to be just the next few years of my life. What I could not have imagined is that this little beast would make me laugh, make me cry and eventually fill some of the most wonderful gaps of time for the next 17 years. When I first clapped eyes on her it was only two weeks after she was born snuggling next to her brothers and sisters trying to stay warm during a cold and rainy December. Her first owners had seen the shape of a bear in her little plump first appearance and immediately named her “Bear.” It was also during that December that I remember a particular reading from the Old Testament about Samuel’s mother Hannah and I knew instinctively what would be her name but without forgetting the first human words she must have heard, I simply named her “Hannah Bear.”

It was then I fully understood the words of a poem by Rudyard Kipling, entitled “The Power of the Dog:”

“Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie—
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.”

Kipling’s work addressed the sad facts of a dog’s short life and how that life brings one so much joy and then so much sorrow. I could not have agreed with him more. Lord Byron also had a unique and poignant insight when he wrote the inscription that to this day still hovers his dog’s grave:

“Near this Spot are deposited the Remains of one who possessed
Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of

I am sure that every dog owner believes that his or her puppy is special, outstanding, and worthy of medals and trophies and while that is certainly true, these creatures do a little bit more. They help us remember how truly wonderful God is to each and everyone of us. Take for instance this beautiful little song written by Wendy Francisco:

I look up and I see God, I look down and see my dog.
Simple spelling G-O-D, same word backwards, D-O-G.
They would stay with me all day. I’m the one who walks away.
But both of them just wait for me, and dance at my return with glee.
Both love me no matter what – divine God and canine mutt.
I take it hard each time I fail, but God forgives, dog wags his tail.
God thought up and made the dog, dog reflects a part of God.
I’ve seen love from both sides now, it’s everywhere, amen, bow wow.
I look up and I see God, I look down and see my dog.
And in my human frailty…I can’t match their love for me.

Instead of imparting more than a few little hilarious episodes about my pet, I will just let you know that having Hannah Bear by my side helped me relate to many people and speak tenderly about friendship, loyalty, exciting fun in this life, and grief. There were even times that these selfless experiences of dog ownership helped ease and heal the typical grief of others who experienced those powerful emotions when “real” people died. When it was time for my Hannah Bear to go to the vet one last time, I refused to cry. I dressed up as fine as I could and carried her like a prom queen. Before she slipped away, I stared into her eyes and gave her my last command: “Wait for me!”

I wish someone had given Jesus a dog. As loyal and loving as mine.
To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes and adore Him for being divine.
As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog, would have followed Him all through the day.
While He preached to the crowds and made the sick well and knelt in the garden to pray.
It is sad to remember that Christ went away. To face death alone and apart.
With no tender dog following close behind, to comfort its Master’s Heart. 
And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn, how happy He would have been,
As His dog kissed His hand and barked it’s delight, for the One who died for all men. 

Well, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine, the old pal so dear to me.
And I smile through my tears on this first day alone, knowing they’re in eternity.
Day after day, the whole day through, wherever my road inclined,
Four feet said, “Wait, I’m coming with you!” And trotted along behind.
(Rudyard Kipling)

Well, it has been thirteen years now since Hannah Bear left for her well-deserved extended vacation, and after all this time, I can’t say that I’m grieving. Rather, I am rejoicing over the most wonderful ways that God showers down His love for you and me in all the most unexpected places and through the most gallant noble of creatures.

Life is great, isn’t it?

Ode to Hannah-church dog plaque
Share your thoughts (100 thoughts)

100 thoughts on “Ode to Hannah Bear”

  • Fran Straw says:

    Michael I love this writing. God bless your most trusted companion Hannah Bear. I also loved Mr Bo Jangles’ song line about his dog; always brings me a cry or a tear through the years remembering my trusted companions. Thank you for all the quotes and writings about our dogs. I will cherish them all.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you very much, Fran. We all appreciate it deeply when others can share in our joy revealing the depth of God’s love through the simplest of creatures.

      • Caro says:

        “When God loves a creature he wants the creature to know the highest happiness and the deepest misery He wants him to know all that being alive can bring. That is his best gift. There is no happiness save in understanding the whole.”

        Thornton Wilder

  • Rosa Shala says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of Hannah Bear which I remember so dearly.
    Your stories are not only inspirational but thought provoking to the awareness of God all around us. He is constantly reminding us of
    His love even through our pets particularly dogs.

    Please continue writing these great things as God has always blessed you with a sharp tongue and sharp pen. God bless you!

    • Caro says:

      It is truly amazing to realize how many people found resonance with my sharing of the great Church Dog, Hannah Bear! What I also find amazing is how much of God’s creation elicits strong and positive emotions from all of us if we allow ourselves to be childlike. Thank you for your comments. I have shared this article with many who had the same reaction as you did. Truly I can not wait until we all assemble together in Heaven and have that Party that will never end. In the meantime, let us continue to pray for each other so that we might find a friendly opening provided by the Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus!

      • Caro says:

        God turns clouds inside out to make fluffy beds for the dogs in Dog Heaven, and when they are tired from running and barking and eating ham-sandwich biscuits, the dogs find a cloud bed for sleeping. God watches over each one of them. And there are no bad dreams.

        Cynthia Rylant

  • Liz Guerra says:

    What a beautiful story about Hannah Bear. I remember her so vividly. Being dog owners as well we can relate to their unconditional love and what a beautiful comparison of DOG & GOD. I love reading all your beautiful articles!
    God is Good!

    • Caro says:

      Absolutely, Liz! Thank you so much for responding and for enjoying our latest post about our “old friend” Hannah Bear! It is only in retrospect that I have realized how much these pure-hearted animals show a face and aside of God that we might have missed. Dogs have a way of stealing away our heart and help us remember how simple our lives could be.

      God bless you and all your family!

      • Caro says:

        I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven], I believe he’ll be there.

        Rev. Billy Graham

  • Rennie says:

    it sounds like there’s a reason for everything that happens in this world, good and bad.
    i wish everyone could understand the purpose of these animals.
    thank you for blessing my Anakin and giving him his middle name. Anakin Dogwalker, lol..

    • Caro says:

      Absolutely, Rennie!! Everything happens for a reason and every dog has its day! I have been reflecting on why we miss dogs when they have to leave us for good, and I think it is because they represent a portion or chapter of our lives that we will never ever get back. It is as if they held those memories and thoughts and feelings safe within their fur and fun and helped us remember not to take ourselves so seriously.

      So here’s to the Dogwalker, the Dog Vader, the Obi Woof Kenobi of our lives! They live on and still make us smile!

  • Eric says:

    Hannah Bear!! I am NOT a dog person but she was probably my favorite (along with Tomas lol) and yes she was a wonderful dog. Definitely was a friend to all!

    • Caro says:

      Hello Eric! Thanks so much for visiting these pages. Not everyone is a dog or cat lover, but everyone recognizes unconditional love and an unquenchable appetite. More than once while you were in school, Hannah would smell you up and down to see if you were hiding snacks (which might explain your aversion to canines lol) It is great hearing from you and sharing your thoughts with all of our readers. Happy Easter to you and all your (our) family!!

      • Caro says:

        It was my pork chop. But that’s ok. I ate his dog food.
        Bam Bam Bigelow

      • Eric says:

        Ha, I do have fond memories of walking into the rectory afree school and looking forward to hanging with the dogs. Or having them go through the back fence to the playground. Maybe once I realized someone had to pick up after them did I realize that dogs aren’t so easy to take care of!

        • Caro says:

          Oh wow, Eric, I too have the fondest of memories of so many enjoying my Hannah Bear in ways that are just stored memories now. And of course, you raise a most valid point about upkeep. Shots, grooming, baths, cleanups, leashes, walks, flea treatments, food, and so many more issues always surround taking care of a pet, even if you just want a turtle! Thanks again and please enjoy the rest of the month of April and this great Easter Season.

          • Caro says:

            “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill
            “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” – Robert A. Heinlein
            “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” – Terry Pratchett

  • Patty Lichtenberger says:

    Wow! Oh how I want to rush home and go love on my dogs! Thank you for sharing this wonderful time in your life. I am seeing my dogs in a different light now. How wonderful our Lord is to give us this gift.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you so much, Patty, for sharing that wonderful insight about the joys of our loving animals. They sure do reflect the care of God and are always there except when their relatively short lives are over. That is why I always include a dog in my manger scenes. I am sure there was one there!!

      Happy Easter to all of our family!!

      See you soon!!

      • Caro says:

        “Easter is the demonstration of God that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.” – Charles M. Crowe

  • Thank you so very much for sharing this beautiful memory of Hannah Bear, and the very meaningful parallel of unconditional love. In this day and age of social media, it is very easy to lose sight of the true meaning of unconditional love, pure joy, and the simple pleasures of life. It is interesting how a pet can instill in us the very same emotions and characteristics God sent us with as we entered this world.
    Thank you for your spiritual guidance through your beautiful articles. They remind us to keep it simple, keep it real, and to keep living with unwavering faith. I look forward to your next article!

    • Caro says:

      It is always a pleasure to hear from you, Sandy, and to share your thoughts and musings with all of our readers. I believe that this notion of unconditional love is first and foremost in the hearts and minds of dog lovers all over the planet. I especially appreciate the way we must and continue to link all of our human experiences with God’s love for the world expressed in nature and the little miracles along the way. Happy Easter to you Sandy, and to your entire family!

      • Caro says:

        “Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure:

        1. Acceptance
        2. Understanding
        3. Appreciation

        Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.

        Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable. Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?

        So, for the love of a triangle, please keep love whole.”
        ― Vera Nazarian

  • Yvonne Reyna says:

    I remember Hannah Bear walking the OLPH grounds with you. HannahBear brought so much joy to my son and to all the children there. I am forever grateful to have those memories.

    • Caro says:

      Thank you very much for sharing that precious memory with all of our readers and with me. Hannah Bear loved the kids and I still remember a large group of them who came over after school to say their last goodbyes. Hannah loved it!

      • Caro says:

        “You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Benjamin Garcia says:

    I remember Hannah Bear as I was growing up around the parish.

    The connection the two of you had was the reason why God gave us our canine companions.

    Beautifully written!

    • Caro says:

      Benjamin!! Thanks for those words. Yes, Hannah Bear was certainly a fixture back in the day and I am happy you remember her as she probably visited your classroom more than once (and for sure the cafeteria, lol). Thanks again for your friendship and online presence with us and the Bible Foundation. Have a wonderful Easter ahead!!

      • Caro says:

        Nora Ephron
        “When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

    • Caro says:

      I think Hannah Bear and many other animal gifts like her remind us of a much simpler time when there was more laughter than tears!

  • Denise Smith says:

    Beautifully stated. God is wonderful to us. He made us in His image and then blessed us with dogs-they’re His unconditional love on earth. ❤⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    • Caro says:

      Welcome back, Denise and thank you for always finding the time to respond to our stories. Yes,, the unconditional love of these creatures is a constant reminder of tremendous joy and love that flows from the Creator’s hand. Happy Easter to you and and to all your family!

  • Rosie Pena says:

    A beautifully written moving, inspiring story that needs to be read and shared by as many people as possible! This is a story that needs to be read not only by dog lovers but by everyone who believes in God’s unconditional , amazing love for us! As a dog’s undying loyalty to his owner, one can relate God’s love for us, who “waits” until we come “home “ to Him, who never left us! A remarkable story to be treasured in the heart!

    • Caro says:

      Welcome, Rosie, to our little Agape community and thank you for your words concerning our latest offering about the wonderful life and witness of dogs. I could not agree with you more about God’s love for us as He waits for all of us to come home. I love that. Please enjoy this wonderful Holy Week with the greatest expectations of a blessed Easter!

  • Veronica Leal Altamirano says:

    What a beautiful reminder of how God gives us so many ways of His unconditional love for us, especially through a dog! I got to meet Hannah Bear when I was so deathly afraid of dogs in one of our first meetings and you made sure and reassured me she would do me no harm. Of course she didn’t, she was too sweet of a dog!

    A few years after this encounter with Hannah Bear, we got our first family dog, April, and so I tried very hard to not be afraid of her and it took a few years of locking and running to my room and closing the door behind me, or screaming at the kids to get her, etc. and I slowly conquered my fear and she grew on me, really grew on me. She became the best our family could ever ask for! They truly are man’s best friend, as God is there for us any time we ask Him to be! Oh how our family will be forever grateful of all the beautiful memories she gave us! Keep these coming!!!!!

    • Caro says:

      Thank you very much Veronica for returning to these pages with your reflection concerning our latest post, “Ode to Hannah Bear.” I remember April fondly and now of the gentleness and sweetness of which your wrote. God is like that, too, I believe. Perhaps at first we are a little afraid of the awesome power and majesty — after all, He created the Universe — and then to try to fathom how this Awesome God loves me with every fiber of His being. it is truly so much to soak in but it becomes our life’s particular journey to do so. Thank you so much and Have a wonderful Holy Week and gorgeous Easter Season!!

      • Caro says:

        Emma Kenney
        “Opening up your life to a dog who needs a home is one of the most fulfilling things you can do.”

  • Ann B says:

    Such a poignant essay that brings to life the joy that pets can bring to someone! I am definitely not a pet person, but the emotions that come across this reading are so clear. It makes me want to get a dog! It makes me happy to know that Hannah Bear brought such a stir of emotions that the writer would never have experienced. Thanks for the smile today!

    • Caro says:

      Thank you very much for that comment! I realize not everyone is a dog or cat person but everyone can see joy in the life of another and be happy for them! Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Caro says:

        Doris Day
        “I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Lou lou was left at my brothers property, my daughter saved her brought her home and of course I stepped in . As she grew closer to our family we could not give her up. We had no place for her in our rent home. She later ended up saving my daughter. She was her support going through her pregnancy and tough relationship. This gift from God is now my grandson’s protector, wrestle buddy and his best friend. Loyalty, love and compassion is what keeps showing through this dog. Today is her birthday. This article came on the perfect day. Thank you for these beautiful words . I am sharing this over and over .

    • Caro says:

      First and foremost, Happy Birthday to Lou-Lou!! If I could bring you all a doggy cake I certainly would! Thanks so very much for sharing this wonderful snippet of your lives and the courageous tale (pardon the pun) of your precious animal. My favorite part of your post was he mention that Lou-Lou has been and is now the “protector” of your grandson. That is sweet! Your words reminded me of an interview I once heard about someone’s thoughts concerning how things will actually work and exist in Heaven. One of the more profound ideas I heard in that podcast was the notion that in Heaven, all of our pets from our lives and memories will actually speak! Wow! That makes me wonder what will Hannah Bear say to me. If I may extract just a little knowledge of your own situation, I would gather to think that Lou-Lou will say that he just didn’t save your daughter, protect your grandson, and spent some of the most wonderful days of his life with all of you, but that you saved him, too. God bless you all, Happy Easter!, and may you all have many more canine birthdays to share.

  • Cris Garcia says:

    Beautiful. I’m so happy to hear you and Hannah Bear were great friends. We all need that love of a loyal, caring friend who celebrate us endlessly when united.
    I’m not a pet kind of person but I do have a great respect for the domestic animal “dog”. I’ve witnessed the unconditional love they have for their “Best Friend” and it amazes me. Very Christ like.
    Thank You God.

    • Caro says:

      Yes Cris, these reflections help all of us see how Christ-like our world can be. These days it may be very difficult to find the grace of God shining through others, but we must look and we must forgive, always. I am grateful to you for the time you took to add your thoughts to our community of readers and beyond.

      • Caro says:

        Michel Houellebecq
        “The love of a dog is a pure thing. He gives you a trust which is total. You must not betray it.”

  • Deborah Saavedra says:

    What a beautiful story ! I remember your Hannah Bear . I couldn’t help but cry while reading the story because you loved her so much. You are so right . Gods creatures can bring us so much joy and unconditional love just like our lord. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. May god continue to bless you!

    • Caro says:

      Thank you for responding, Deborah, and for remembering my dear little Hannah! So many people remembered her fondly and I think we can both safely say that she lived up to her memorable characterization of “CHURCH DOG.”
      Memories are great when we share them with old friends.

  • Denise Guerra says:

    Oh, what a wonderful story. Dogs are unfailing companions, they love you no matter what. You are right, God does the same. No matter how much we must disappoint Him, he still loves us and forgives whatever it was that we did. God as well, is a constant companion who we can talk to. I’m so glad that God created dogs. You will never find a more loyal friend.

    • Caro says:

      Yes indeed, Denise, the loyalty from our dogs is supreme and truly God-like. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us once again. Have a great week ahead and a spectacular Easter!

  • Kristen says:

    In addition to my previous comment, I realized that Koda also taught me how to understand and cope with grief. He, in a way, prepared me for when his time on earth is over. He taught me how to enjoy the wonders around me, that sadness is temporary, and that love can be found in everything and everyone. He taught me that the saying “we don’t deserve dogs” is untrue; we do deserve them, because the ones that entered our lives are gifts from God. And we deserve all that He has to offer. We are worthy of His love, especially when it comes to us in the form of a four-legged, clumsy, cuddle buddy.

    • Caro says:

      I could not have said that any better. Because of their total focus on the here and now, they are the perfect grief counselors.

  • Kristen says:

    Yes, I knew this article was going to make me sob the way I did when Willow Tweed had to leave Tod behind in the woods in Fox and the Hound. Dogs have always been a part of my life. I grew up with Shadow, a loyal german shepard for fourteen years. I was torn up when he passed away, peacefully in his doggy bed, and in the comfort of our home on a cozy fall evening. But, I’ll admit I was too young to understand the teachings and blessings dogs bring to us until Koda Bear entered my life. A few years ago, I adopted a silver lab puppy with arctic-blue eyes. I named him Koda after a film called Brother Bear. He followed me around everywhere, tripping over his own giant paws. He was clumsy, just like me. During his puppy years, he’d be a playful companion and brought so much joy into our lives. He became part of the family so fast, and all I wanted to do was cuddle him… Fast forward to a year ago; I unfortunately experienced the darkest few months of my life: my marriage dissolved and I’d lost my uncle who was practically a brother to me. My ex-husband and I decided I’d keep Koda and he’d keep our other, much older, lab. Koda lied bedside with me as I suffered withdrawals during sobriety from alcohol, cycled through the grieving process of an untimely divorce, and cuddled up to me during nights of loneliness. Koda never left my side. My mom would come to bring me a little something to eat, and Koda would cheer me up with his hopeful eyes that I’d drop a morsel on the floor. One morning, I woke up to Koda holding his leash in his mouth and patiently sitting at my bedside, watching me. At first, I rolled over, but then I heard him lie down and exude a glum sigh, the leash setting on the floor. It was a beautiful day out, the sun peeking through my old high-school blinds, and birds singing outside without a care in the world. And so I took Koda for a walk after a few months of sorrow and darkness. It was the most peaceful walk I’d experienced in years. Since then, Koda and I had traveled to many places across Texas, enjoying life outside alcohol and surrounded by trees and open skies. We’ve been on hikes, boat rides, swimming in the lake, and even visited a rooftop drive-in movie (we shared snacks), I even read to him while he lies his giant head on my lap. Koda is my best friend and showed me that he was Heaven-sent to be with me during this exact time of my life; to prove to me that I am truly never alone and will always have guardians by my side no matter what cards life deals me. Although my time with Koda is limited, I do all I can to make the most of the time God has blessed me with. Thank you so much for this beautiful, heartfelt article. I look forward to many more!

    • Caro says:

      I speak for many if not for all when I say that we are all moved and strengthened by your words of courage and comfort. God is always at our side and he sends us tactile tangible ways of experiencing His great love. I am so happy for the journey you are taking and for the fruits that lie within the rest of your life which will be, no doubt whatsoever, the best of your life!

  • Julie Trevino says:

    I had to wait for my eyes to dry up so I could comment. This was such a touching true story!!
    Animals are amazing! Maybe that’s why God created them before he created man. Animals trust in God whole heartily while man has doubt at times.
    I’m a cat person, myself, but only because they’re easier to care for. My cat gives me comfort and we have our little conversations while enjoying God’s beautiful day in the morning as she has her breakfast. We did have cats and a dog when I was younger. They truly are loyal companions. My brother, RIP, had a small dog after his stroke. He couldn’t walk or talk anymore and was paralyzed on his right side. But that little dog did so much for him just by sitting on his lap. You could see the joy in my brother’s eyes. God definitely showered down His Love. It was just so obvious. Life is great, yes! We just have to look past what we hear and see on the media and keep our focus on Jesus Christ!!
    Your articles have truly helped me do this. To keep my focus on what truly matters. Please, don’t ever, ever stop writing! You are a gift!!!

    • Caro says:

      Welcome back, Julie, and thank you so very much for joining us again in this wonderful little online Agape community of looking for and making sense of the world. I never realized it but you are absolutely correct: God did in fact make the animals first as they show us clearly they totally trust God with all they have. I truly appreciated the kind story of your brother and his little caregiver. That is what they are in so many ways, giving care and connection and unconditional love. And once again your comments are spot on about where our focus should be: less media more Jesus! Amen! and next week, a huge ALLELUIA!

      • Caro says:

        Louis Sabin
        “No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.”

  • Mary Ann Ramos says:

    Yes indeed, life is great! Thank you so much for sharing your love for your Hannah Bear. You brought to mind our beloved dog, Mayo. We had him for 10 years. I was witness to the overflowing love he had for our family. Our boys were little and they couldn’t wait to get outside to play with Mayo. Although he relished time spent with our kids, he adored my husband like it was the two of them against the whole world. I will never forget the way Mayo was constantly by his side with his focused and loving gaze upon my husband. That connection was undeniable. When Mayo got sick and then passed away shortly thereafter, we all grieved. Our youngest, with tears flowing down his cheeks, was the one consoling us all with hugs, kisses and little pats on our back saying, “It’s okay. He’s not sick anymore.” Mayo was an important part of those growing years for all of us as a young family. I will always cherish those years with him. Thank you for reminding me of our wonderful Mayo as you write about Hannah Bear. Thank God for these beautiful creatures!

    • Caro says:

      That was entirely moving, Mary Ann, the way we learned about Mayo and the special relationship with your boys! All of them! Isn’t it truly amazing how an innocent dog can do so much for our souls? This is one of the many reasons I included and like the song about spelling G-O-D- backward and finding D-O-G. “He’s not sick anymore,” yes and yes, and even a thrid yes! IN heaven there will be more sickness and death just joy and laughter and eternal bliss. Let’s hope Mayo and Hannah are getting everything ready for us for a paradise of Jesus and joy!

  • Anonymous says:

    Another beautiful post. Continue to cherish the Memories of Hanna Bear. It is never easy to lose one of God’s special companions. They are here for a short while yet show us something that we need in life. They let us know they are hungry but don’t realize they teach us to Love. Thank you for the reminder that I must continue to cherish my dogs even more because of their unconditional love

    • Caro says:

      Thank you for your response! I never thought of the way they let us know when they are hungry and simultaneously teach us about the hunger we have for love and affection. That was brilliant!

  • Ann Fister says:

    I’m honored to share the same birthday with Hannah Bear AND Winston Churchill! Awesome, right? Offices in the West Wing of OLOH rectory, a few mornings, Mona and I opened our door and said, ‘oh dear. Hannah was here. Hannah Bear would sneak out and rummaged for food wrappers in our trash cans. We couldn’t get mad when she smile up at us as we fussed that she forgot to pick up her mess.

    • Caro says:

      Yes indeed, notoriety all around us! Thanks for sharing your snippet of memory with all of us and the playful nature of Hannah Bear the Magnificent. There were many times during late appointments whether they were marriage preparations, lay formation or just struggling folks looking for meaning and substance in their lives, that Hannah found her way out for the den or her bed to come and help me console souls especially those who were crying. She did leave a mess from time to time but like a spoiled child, the minute she turned away from it and pranced away, in her mind, it was gone forever. Thanks again!

      • Caro says:

        I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

        Winston Churchill

  • Emma Soto says:

    My sister Mona passed me your beautiful article bc like you and many others I’ve had my heart broken from the loss of a beloved pet. She was my Kemi (shih-tsu), altho I only had her 4 short years she left a big hole in my heart. Thank you for your beautiful and meaningful article.. Blessings Always..

    • Caro says:

      Welcome to these pages, Emma! You are always welcome to comment and reach out whenever you would like. I appreciate the image of the hole in the heart because grief and sadness is the price we pay for loving and in my opinion, shaped over these 60+ years, it is a very small price to pay! I would like to imagine Kemi and Hannah running and playing together until that time one of our favorite Saints blows the divine whistle and they race with each other to the gates to greet us all over again. What a memory! God bless you always!

  • Laura Trevino says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article. I remember Hannah Bear and the joy she brought to you and others. I am definitely a dog lover and I thank God for these wonderful creatures He created.

    • Caro says:

      Yes, Laura, you are indeed a great dog-lover and you share the joy that all of us have with the unconditional love they continually express to us in their own unique ways. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and thank you for remembering my Hannah — what a great memory!

      • Caro says:

        Gilda Radner:
        “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”

  • Deacon Ron Martinez says:

    Life is great and so is this beautiful story about your Hannah Bear. It is true that our pets do not judge us they just love us unconditionally. Just like God loves us all unconditionally. No matter what we do, no matter how many times we err God still loves us unconditionally. This life God has given each of us is amazing. Thank you for this gentle reminder!

    • Caro says:

      Yes, yes indeed, Deacon, the lessons for the unconditional love that emanate from our pets do shine precious light on the complete and unabashed love that the Lord has for me and you. We need reminders of this every sing day, and not too terribly offbeat to say that no more needed that in these days and times. Thank you for your might gift of selfless giving to others.

  • April Ocanas says:

    Great minds think alike – just yesterday I posted a picture of my puppies and the quote
    “Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way.” – Caroline Knapp

    Thank you for sharing about your Hannah Bear- as an animal lover myself I know how intense the pain was of losing her yet what a reward her life with you was. I often worry that having pets in my children’s lives sets them up for heart break when they do finally leave us, but the memories we make with them make it all worth it.

    • Caro says:

      Indeed, April, great minds think (and eat) alike!! lol, This is wonderful to reflect on the rewards and not just the pain of all of our relationships here on earth. I must admit that not having a dog as a child and losing my first ol’ friend at age 30 was this side of traumatic. However I wholeheartedly agree with you–the memories will make it all worth it! God bless you always! and thank you, for everything.

  • Margie L. Lancaster says:

    I was praying with a friend tonight about all the turmoil in the world, attacks against our country and our Christian beliefs. We were praying against fear and anxiety when the Lord reminded me of the love I feel for my little, adopted dog, Watson. God said the way you love, care for and protect Watson, is only a fraction of how He loves, cares for and protects me. Our Lord used Watson, my Hannah Bear, to show me how much more He wants me to feel safe and provided for in light of all that assails us in this world. No coincidence that dog is God spelled backward. Thank you for the reminder that God loves us so much in so many ways!

    • Caro says:

      Welcome back Margie, and thank you very much for reminding us about the protective nature of God in our lives and how easy it is to slip into moods of fear and anxiety. I have seen a picture of Watson, a beagle if I am not mistaken, and I love the image of the care and protection we show for them as a fraction of the wonderful paternal care the Father has for us. Be blessed!

  • Isabel Rodriguez says:

    Very beautiful and just sense of peace through the life of an animal. I kept my parents cats after they both past both had there own personalities, my dads cat kept to herself and was always at my dads feet on the recliner, mt moms was feisty just like my mom. My dads cats grieved after my father passed, would not go near his recliner would avoid areas of where my father was, months after his passing my mom also passed and it was then that I brought both cats home with me. At first they stayed in the room my mom stayed in and slowly started coming out, I soon noticed the personality both reminded me of my parents. I’ve had to put my dads cat down once she got older and fragile just like my dad did. My moms cat is still alive and still feisty but brings me peace just having her hear. Love and miss my parents but know they are happy together.

    • Caro says:

      This was indeed a unique angle as we all reflect on the gifts of pets and in particular our dogs and cats. When I read your reflection of adopting your parents’ cats and how they seemed to imitate and emulate the behavior of their owners, that was excellent and another way how God uses nature to show forth His care, His love, and of course His great sense of humor. That was excellent, Isabel, thank you so very much!

  • Margo Shepard says:

    It’s amazing to me how much a four legged creature can teach you the meaning of love! But these creatures ARE Gods creatures! They teach us unconditional love. If ONLY we, as humans, could understand the meaning of this and abide by it. I will have to admit that these creatures have stood beside me at one time or another at a time when it might I would end my life, the
    Life God gave me, and made me think twice. To some people, it’s JUST a dog, but to me….it was my life saver. The “unconditional “ part is the part that those workout dogs do NOT understand. They touch your heart.
    Thank you for this story! I get it!!

    • Caro says:

      And because they teach us the meaning and mystery of love, they are most certainly God’s creatures and His Magnificent expressions of love for you and me. Thank you for sharing those intricate moments with our readers all of us whom I believe will benefit greatly. God can use anyone and anything to get us to wake up and know that He is there all the time!

      • Caro says:

        Robert Wagner
        “A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.”

  • Lori says:

    My first cat’s name was Gertrude. Gert for short. She went on her extended vacation about 40 years ago. She has lovingly sent me Nemo, Maggie and Brick, and Rabbit over the years to make sure I never go without feeling the unconditional love of a cat. Dogs and cats, God’s gifts.

    • Caro says:

      Wow! A 40-year memory you shared with all of us! Thank you! You are so right, these are great gifts from God that we treasure even beyond the miles and years. Thanks for sharing!

      • Caro says:

        Oprah Winfrey
        “Over the years I have felt the truest, purest love—the love of God, really, I imagine that’s what God’s love feels like—is the love that comes from your dog.”

  • Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful story. Yes, God does shower us with His blessings in many unexpected ways. He is so good to us!

    • Caro says:

      I love the image of a shower! Both in nature and in domestic life, they signal a cleansing, a joyous rinse if you will that makes all things new. Thanks for your words and encouragement!

      • Caro says:

        John Grogan:
        “Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”

  • Debra Castro says:

    Awww what a beautiful article! I do remember Hannah Bear!! Thank you for sharing a wonderful memory!! I will share this with my family especially Laura Bella. She has a puppy named Poppy & a cat named Pepper. Lol Thank you again!

    • Caro says:

      Hello Debra and thank you for responding to our latest offering. It is funny how many people remember our pets and cherished “four legs” friends throughout these years. I am delighted that Laura Bella will have a chance to read this piece and deepen her appreciation for Poppy and Pepper — how funny! God bless you all!

      • Caro says:

        Oprah Winfrey:
        “I want to work like a dog, doing what I was born to do with joy and purpose. I want to play like a dog, with total, jolly abandon.”

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