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Did she really see God's angels?

Updated: May 18


The day started out strangely. It was not a typical Florida day. You could see that the sky and clouds were angry as the rain started and the wind was howling. The weather forecast predicted a tropical storm coming. I felt the heaviness and knew it would be better to stay inside and not venture out into this mess. However, this was the day that my wife and I, as volunteers with Canines for Christ Therapy Dog Ministry and our certified therapy dog Gracie visited the VA Hospital Hospice Unit. The patients loved our visits and we were not going to disappoint them even though the weather was ominous and foreboding. As a volunteer chaplain, we were constantly being asked to visit with the patients and pray with them and their family to bring them hope of eternal life through God's amazing salvation and grace. The drive to the hospital was unusually quiet as we both were pondering upon the weather and what God had planned for us this day. When we arrived, the usually busy VA parking lot was nearly empty. A storm was coming, and in Florida, people took this warning very seriously. Driving rain and heavy winds were keeping everyone home. However, God gently told us to “go” as something was going to happen that would be a powerful message of His love and compassion.


 We ran as fast as we could after parking and entered the spinal cord injury building that connected to the main hospital and eventually to the hospice unit. As we entered the hospice unit, a hospice nurse came out of one of the rooms and told us that her patient only had a few moments to live and would we come in with Gracie and pray with the parents and relatives. The patient was a 45-year-old man who had been hit by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle and was in his final moments of life. As we entered the room the lights were dim and the mood was somber. We could see the patient lying in the bed with his family and his doctor standing over him observing his condition and waiting for that final moment. The doctor, nurse and the elderly parents acknowledged us when we entered, but other than that, it was eerily quiet. So quiet you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was waiting for that last breath. Then, very slowly and gracefully, Gracie moved forward into the middle of the room and stopped. Her normal behavior is to meet and greet people with her sweet, gentle manner and offer her loving and kind eyes and wagging tail to bring joy and love into people's lives in the midst of their pain and suffering.


 A beautiful white English Labrador Retriever, she attracted attention everywhere she went. However, this time she deliberately turned left and walked directly to the patient lying on the bed. As she approached his bedside where his hand laid close to the edge of the bed, Gracie stopped and looked slowly around then she placed her head on his hand as he took slow and labored breaths. What seemed like many minutes however it was only a few seconds, Gracie raised her head, looked at the man and gave out a deep groaning. In the next instant the man took his last breath and passed into eternity. I believe from scripture that angels come to take believers home to heaven when we die. As the doctor and nurse were confirming the death, I believe what Gracie saw and experienced at that moment were God's angels surrounding this dear soul and accompanying him into the Everlasting Grace and bosom of his Savior Jesus. She saw or sensed something in that room that drew her to the man’s bedside. Never had she ever done that before or since.


As the doctor confirmed that the man had passed, God spoke to me and told me to tell the young man’s elderly parents what had just happened in my view. God had sent his angels to carry their son home and that Gracie knew they were there surrounding his bedside. Tears were flowing but they were tears of joy knowing that he took his last breath here on this side of heaven and in the next breath he was in the presence of Jesus.


Our Lord told us a fascinating story In Luke 16 of two men who were as different as they could be. Jesus began this story in such a way as to make a point of the contrast:


“There was a rich man who was dressed in fine linen of purple who lived in luxury every day. At his gate was a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat the scraps that fell from the table of the rich man. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell he was in constant torment.” Notice what happened. When Lazarus died,” the angels carried him to Abraham's side. Lazarus was a beggar, but that did not disqualify him from having an angel escort him through Eternity's doorway. Lowly Lazarus was awarded this privilege because he knew God and the rich man did not.


 I believe that animals have an innate sense of seeing things and feeling things that humans cannot. Their minds are not cluttered with worldly issues so they can focus on things more clearly in certain situations. Dogs can sense danger, cancer, seizures, emotional stress, PTSD and many other conditions that humans cannot detect. Amazing gifts from a gracious God.  Gracie sensed God's angels at that time in that room. There is no doubt in my mind of what I witnessed and was honored to be a part of.


A wise man once quoted “God wants you home so much he’ll send his angel to meet you. Don’t be surprised if the angel is wearing a big smile.”




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