The Legend of the Snow AngelsMeet the Snow Angels Team
Our Guardian Angels
Legend has it that dogs are our guardian angels here on earth. They help guide us with their caring and energy. They come into our lives when we really need them and leave when their mission is completed. I am blessed to have had many angels in my life, my snow angels.
It was Halloween 2004 when I left my comfortable life in Canada’s Northwest Territories and headed into the unknown. The unknown was a tiny coastal village in Labrador, a remote part of Northern Canada, totally isolated from the rest of the world.
In this rugged and unforgiving environment I would meet my many snow angels and ultimately discover myself. My new job as a community and family social worker was tough and the physical environment was not for the faint of heart. It was a challenging transition to this isolated and unforgiving big land called Labrador.
It was there that my huskies, my snow angels, came one by one into my life. First, was Raven, a beautiful caring dog and the matriarch of the team, she is still with me today, mother to all.
When I first saw her, she was tied to a skidoo by a very short line and I would watch this deprived animal every day from my office window. One day, when felt brave, I went over and offered the family $50, bought her, took her home and gave her the love and attention she craved.
She got pregnant and gave birth to Lynx, Oreo, Kodiak (Kodi), Koko and Tuk Tuk. I decided to keep the litter so I could have a dog team. People in that community still travel by dog sled and I wanted so much to have my own team. Later came Milo, with his boys Luca and Silly and later Tuk’s daughter Millie and Koko’s daughter Bean.
I really needed my snow angels during that period in my life. Shortly after my arrival in that remote community, my sister called me and I could immediately tell by her voice that something was terribly wrong, and it was. The news you dread to hear. “Mom has cancer, and they can’t treat it.”
I knew then why I had the urge to travel east. I had felt that I needed to move, but never understood why. I was not in the same town as my Mom, but at least I was in the same province, closer and better able to get to her and my family. It was then that my Mom began the longest and most painful 4 years of her life, and officially began her courageous battle with a very rare cancer.
My job was difficult, the environment unforgiving, I was in a very dysfunctional relationship, I felt alone, and I was hanging on to sanity by a thread. On days that I felt I could no longer cope, my snow angels were my inspiration to continue.
As soon as the dogs would hear or see me, they’d begin to howl and bark. I like to believe it was the language of love.They made me feel something when I felt numb. Sometimes life has a way of taking your heart and soul and tearing them apart. The snow angels somehow found a way to put them back together.
The day came when I decided to leave Labrador. Work was hell, my relationship at the time was unhealthy, the isolation had taken its toll on me and my Mom was close to death. Myself, three cats and nine dogs all flew out on tiny twin otter planes. It took a great deal of planning and several flights , but we all got out. It was a miracle really. That move made me feel like I could conquer anything.
A Better Place
But I couldn’t conquer my Mom’s cancer, and on a cold winter day in February 2008, she left this earth and took a small piece of my soul with her. I missed the opportunity to be with her in her last few days. I literally just missed it, but I know she felt my presence there, with her. As we get older and hopefully wiser, we come to realize that it’s not death that’s the difficult part of our journey, but life. As they say “life goes on”, and for those of us that continue on, life has its struggles.
Two of my snow angels left this earth not long after my Mom. Earl Grey, a fabulous and finicky cat, died in my arms on a Friday. Incredibly, Lynx, the dominate male of the pack, was rushed to the same hospital the next day. He had emergency surgery, did well, but later had complications. He closed his eye for the last time with my head on his chest. When they both died, it was like a piece of me died too. I was devastated.
Recently we lost Ange, Ariel and Milo. Ange died from a kidney ailment. She was a beautiful and loving dog. Her sister Ariel died a month later from a virus. She was full of life and love. Milo died from complications from cushings disease and diabetes. He was a strong and loving dog who was my best friend. Needless to say, again, I was devastated. I miss them all so much.
As I look back, and begin to heal from their deaths, I realize my life was and is in a better place. True to the snow angels legend, with their work looking over me complete, maybe their mission on this earth had ended and they left their earthly angel role and transitioned into real angels.
I feel deeply that they are still with us, now guiding and watching over all of us, playing in the snow somewhere, true angels.
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