I adore good stories, especially the ones that move me to emotion. Earlier this week I received a great one that I wanted to share on a Saturday but, as I went to Snopes.com to see if I could authenticate the article, I learned it was fiction and I was shot down in flames. Not only was it false, there were five versions floating around on the Internet and each was based on the same theme.
A bit perplexed, I then searched Snopes for a story that was verified as real, one that was actually true, because I know really wonderful things actually happen to people among us every day. Almost immediately I came upon a newsletter of sorts that Joy Scrivener of San Antonio, Tex., wrote in 2006. It was verified by Cary Clack of the San Antonio Express-News and was written after the Scrivener’s 14-year-old black-and-white dog Abbey went across “The Rainbow Bridge.”
This is what Joy “really” wrote:
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Some of you may know that our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month (actually August 23, 2006). The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her.
She dictated and I wrote:
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Will you please take special care of our dog, Abbey? She died yesterday and is heaven. We miss her very much. We are happy that you let us have her as our dog even though she got sick. I hope that you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and swim before she got sick. I am sending some pictures of her so that when you see her in heaven you will know she is our special dog. But I really do miss her.
P.S.: Mommy wrote the words after Mer told them to her.
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We put that in an envelope with two pictures of Abbey, and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Mer stuck some stamps on the front (because, as she said, it may take lots of stamps to get a letter all the way to heaven) and that afternoon I let her drop it into the letter box at the post office.
For a few days, she would ask if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. Yesterday, for Labor Day, we took the kids to Austin to a natural history museum. When we got back, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch. Curious, I went to look at it. It had a gold star card on the front and said "To: Mer" in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith took it in and opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers, “When a Pet Dies.” Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God, in its opened envelope (which was marked 'Return to Sender: Insufficient Address'). On the opposite page, one of the pictures of Abbey was taped under the words "For Meredith." We turned to the back cover, and there was the other picture of Abbey, and this handwritten note on pink paper:
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I know that you will be happy to know that Abbey arrived safely and soundly in Heaven! Having the pictures you sent to me was such a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
You know, Meredith, she isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me — just like she stays in your heart — young and running and playing. Abbey loved being your dog, you know. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets! — so I can't keep your beautiful letter. I am sending it to you with the pictures so that you will have this book to keep and remember Abbey.
One of my angels is taking care of this for me. I hope the little book helps.
Thank you for the beautiful letter. Thank your mother for sending it. What a wonderful mother you have! I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I am in heaven and wherever there is love.
God, and the special angel who wrote this after God told her the words.
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As a parent and a pet lover, this is one of the kindest things that I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is some very kind soul working in the dead letter office. Just wanted to share this act of compassion – Joy Scivener
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So now you know that while some of the stories that swirl around the Internet are phony, there are others that are quite true and teach us wonderful lessons. Here is a detail Snopes added to the notes about the story:
“According to her mother, Meredith was comforted by the book and letter and was unastounded that God saw fit to write back. ‘She wasn't surprised because she had such faith that her letter was going to get to God.’ (The oldest of the Scrivener children, 6-year-old Andy, was impressed, though: He ‘thought it was pretty special his sister got a book from the angel,’ said his mother
“While Mrs. Scrivener considered asking at the post office about the package, she decided against it. ‘I kind of like not knowing,’ she said. ‘I don't know who took the time to do it, but it was an angel. We all think about doing these things, but no one takes the time to do it.’
So the lesson? Take time to become some child’s angel.