Oxen Mystic

golden retriever, best friend, dogI woke up in the middle of the night as sick as a dog. Wait. My dog never got this sick. Henry, my Golden, had the constitution of an ox and the compassion of a Mystic, so he  followed me from the bedroom as I raced to the bathroom.

I don’t remember what happened next, except when I awakened  I had a huge headache, an even bigger lump on my head, and someone breathing into my nose.

I had not only fainted, I must have had a seizure (rare but an occurrence if my body gets stressed). I lay flat on the cold tile bathroom floor; just lifting my head caused me to groan. The dizziness was all-encompassing. I could not get up.

My husband was on a business trip, and my bed and phone were miles away. golden retriever, woman's best friend

But not Henry. His face covered mine, and then he licked me from stem to stern. “Stop,” I moaned. His tongue was long and wet and cold. I began to shiver. Henry would have nothing to do with my protestations. Once he explored my skin and found no blood, he knew what to do to protect me.

He plopped on top of me. The warmth of his body settled mine. I didn’t want him there, and I shouted for him to leave. But he never wavered, except for getting up once in a while to peer into my eyes. Was I okay?

dog's eyes, golden retriever, dog storyAfter three hours, I finally crawled from bathroom to bed and climbed up on the bed, burrowing into the sheets. I slept for hours and when I woke up mid-morning, hours later than Henry’s own pee time and breakfast, he sat upright next to the bed, staring into my eyes. Are you okay? He asked, licking my face.

No. I pulled my phone close and called my daughter to help me. Henry never left my side until she arrived, and even then, he’d never peed so fast, forsaking his meal to plop right by my side again.  

More Mystic than ox, I decided.

dogs, golden retrievers, best friends

To the memory of the dogs in our lives, and their love.

152 thoughts on “Oxen Mystic

  1. Dogs are incredibly intelligent and loyal. Our golden, Tango, was one of the best dogs we’ve owned. What a scary situation! I don’t know if this was recent or a long time ago, but I hope you’re doing much better now, Pam.

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  3. The flu is a scary thing and I’ve been in an eerily similar situation so I know how horrible it is. I am constantly amazed at the intelligence and fierce love that our dogs show. They have an unconditional love for us (as long as they’re not mistreated), they’re great listeners, and they are the best protectors. Kudos to the amazing Henry and cheers to dogs everywhere.

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    • How fascinating, Amy, that you’ve been in an “eerily similar situation.” Let’s not forget to talk about that next summer in O.C N.J.! I love seeing the photos of your special (and adorable) dog. Oh, and I also loved the dog in your cozy mysteries. 🙂

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  4. Animals are so special–my dog passed a good many decades ago now but the lovable cockapoodle, Jet-Bear always knew if any of us were stressed or unhappy. Of all the family dogs–and we have had a few–Jet-Bear was the one that touched our hearts and souls the most. Once in a long while, in the misty distance, we would see a miniature black curly “bear cub” checking that we were still okay. . . .

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    • I totally believe that Jet-Bear is present in his own way, checking up on you all. My guy is not a believer in this, Y E T, several times I’ve heard him say “Hi Henry” (who passed several years ago) and then look at me in self-defense: “I just saw him lying next to the couch, like he always did!!” 🙂

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  5. What a heartwarming story! You were truly blessed to have Henry the Oxen Mystic in your life. I’m glad you were all right because of his careful and devoted attention. ♡ My husband remembers his childhood golden retrievers very fondly.

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    • We have been lucky to have two Golden Retrievers in our family. Tory was a breeder for the Guide Dogs and a total luv. Her face showed her emotions so clearly that we always knew if she had gotten into trouble or had snuck up on the couch while we were away on errands. 🙂 Henry we raised from 8 weeks on, and he was “my baby” for his entire life. Except, really, he’s the one who babied and took care of me. ❤

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  6. Dogs are angels, Pam. Pure unconditional love. I’ve always thought that the world would be a much kinder, happier place if we were more like our dogs. Henry was the hero of the day. I read in the comments that this is a true story and that Henry has passed on. As a dog-lover myself, I know he’s still in your heart. ❤

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    • Yes, if more people had Henry’s in their lives, they’d be so much happier and relaxed and not stressed. Whenever I was stressed or sad, Henry put his head on my lap and looked up at me with those big brown eyes. My blood pressure lowered in an instant. 🙂

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  7. What a wonderful story (as it has a happy ending because you are with us, even if your beloved Henry no longer is (in body, of course).
    Tell me they don’t know what’s going on… g’head. No, you can’t because you KNOW.
    Thank you for sharing, Pam!

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  8. Wow! What a great story, Pam. I love it! What a good dog. ❤️

    I remember once when I was sick and went back up to bed in the morning, both cats left their usual spots to come up and sleep with me. It’s very comforting.

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  9. I think this is a true story Pam, one that actually happened to you, recently or in the past. Whichever way, it was a scary one and I deeply empathise. Henry is a hero … bless his heart. Please give him a pull of the tail from me and much patting when next you think of him or in your dreams…

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    • Yes, Susan, a totally true story that’s I’ve kept in my heart and head for several years. I thanked Henry so many times, and I was with him when he took his last breath, petting and covering him with my warmth as he had done with me.

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    • Henry is “gone” but never forgotten, and he’s left us signs of his presence in many eerie ways. Interestingly, when we “dog-sit” our granddog (another Golden), Charlie sniffs all of the Henry spots, as if he’s still here…!

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  10. As I read, riveted again by story, I was trying to tease out fact from fiction. Then, in comments I discovered this narrative was a real occurrence. Good doggie, that Henry. What a memory!

    Oxen mystic fits better than Ox-y-moronic. 🙂
    I’m happy that, in the end, your dog actually could “talk” to you. If I ever get another dog, it will have to be a Golden. Huge hugs, Pam!

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  11. There is no doubt in my mind that animals are the most amazing creatures. We just don’t give them the credit they deserve. Well, you just did and many of us know how perfect they are. Things like this event imprints on your soul. You remember it like it was just yesterday. How fortunate that you had a Henry to love you through that scary situation.

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  12. That must have been such a scary experience even if it happened years ago, Pam. Luckily you woke and managed to call your daughter in the end. Henry sounded so protective and concerned for you, and sensed something was wrong. Dogs can be so loyal and as the phrase goes, dogs are your best friend 🙂

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  13. What an amazing story! Dogs are just amazing companions and you’ve provided evidence of Henry as a caregiver! I’m glad to read that this was a past experience, but so glad you’ve shared it.

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  14. What a scary story. Dogs do pick up on seizures, anxiety, high BP and many other changes in our body. Henry certainly did take care of you. My brother’s dog wouldn’t leave my mother’s side at the end of her life — he sensed the end was near. Very comforting for her.

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  15. How awful, but how wonderful of Henry to look after you like that. The little ones may not know how to talk, but they know how to love. If there’s a heaven, and I know who I’d like to be reunited with. -hugs-

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  16. Such a beautiful and poignant story, one that does not surprise me. The loyalty and intelligence of dogs is something quite incredible. What a wonderful tribute to Henry. Love all the photos… those eyes!! It must have been very hard to adjust to life without him.

    Peta

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    • Peta – I think you’ll understand this. Henry never really “left.” We ‘saw’ him and felt him for months after …and even years. His energy is still around – he held so much love, how could that die? I LOVE reading about your special “rescues” and how much you love these dogs, and how much they give back in return.

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  17. I was so worried that this happened just now and didn’t know if your husband was still away. I know, it felt like it happened just now because you’d never forget about how Henry took care of you. Isn’t it amazing how he stayed with you until your daughter arrived? And even then, he stayed with you. Dogs are more compassionate than humans. Thank you for sharing this incredible true story with us, Pam. ❤

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  18. What a scary situation for both you and Henry. Animals have such a high awareness of danger and they really do know how to take care of their people. I was glad to hear that this was three years ago and not recently because as I was reading I was thinking Covid…you will always have Henry in your heart. Your bodyguard. Happy Fall.

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  20. What a title, Pam. You remind me of the exceptional senses of dogs. I am hoping this is a fiction story, yet I suspect more. Reading through the comments I see how it is non-fiction. Wonderful, loving doggy memories. ❤️

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