Hi Chrissie,

I spoke to you at All Angels Day in Bury St Edmunds and promised I would relay my story.

I’ll start at the beginning. I went through a rather messy divorce in 1995 and my 2 small boys and I were presented with a wonderful present from my sister, a male golden Labrador retriever puppy whom we named Beano. Beano became my shoulder to cry on, my silent counsellor and gave love to all 3 of us unconditionally. By 1998 I had met and married a wonderful man who adored Beanie as much as the 3 of us did, and in September 2003 Beanie became our bestman at our wedding along with the duties of my husband’s assistant chef and chief security officer! In the autumn of that same year, we decided to get a companion for him a male Rhodesian ridgeback puppy whom we called Reggie. Beanie was gentle and protective, loving and became Reggie’s hero.

By 2006 Beanie was showing signs of arthritis and we put him on medication to ease his discomfort, but by the autumn of 2007 he was deteriorating at an alarming rate and despite several visits to our marvellous vet it just wasn’t going to get any better. One very frosty, cold autumn evening when my husband was away on business, I let Beanie and Reggie out for their nightly patrol and after calling and calling found Beanie collapsed – his legs just wouldn’t hold him any more. We spent the next week dragging his bed in the mornings to the back door and then holding his body up for him to pee, it was heartbreaking, we decided after long consultations with our vet and much soul searching, that the kindest thing we could do for him was to have him put to sleep.

I spent the next few days praying as I have never prayed before that the angels would take him in his sleep so that he would not have to face the trauma of a lethal injection. About 3 days before the arranged date, a couple of strange things happened, one afternoon Reggie layer down with his head against Beanie’s head and rubbed up and down so gently which he had never done before, he then got up, walked away and layer down on his own. That same night I woke up with a jolt, swung round in bed and saw what I can only describe as the outline of an angel with wings outstretched, similar to a negative photoprint it was floating about a foot off the ground and was about 5 ft tall. Now I am the biggest scaredy cat when it comes to anything at night and I hate the dark, but I just sat up in bed with the biggest grin on my face and I remember saying out loud ‘it’s an angel’, It stayed for about 10 seconds then faded.

We all decided that Beanie should have the dignity and comfort of dying in his own bed, in his own home and this is what we did. The night before he was put to sleep I could not sleep at all and was still begging the angels to take him in the night, as I lay in bed I saw in the corner of the room a ball of sparkling light it was just hovering at ceiling level and didn’t move, and as I lay there, in my head I was asking it ‘please don’t go’, although I didn’t know what it was I wasn’t afraid. It stayed there for well over an hour and then gradually faded, then something else happened, at the top of my head just where the duvet was covering myself and my husband, a vivid jade green light appeared like a solid wave on the sea moving really slowly, and I can remember whispering to myself ‘what the hell is that?’ and I am ashamed to say that at the time I was really frightened, because It was just too much – although now I wish I had had the courage to look over the top of the duvet and see what was in the bedroom – I am now convinced that it was Archangel Raphael, bringing healing and comfort for the day ahead.

On the 28th November 2007 Beanie was put to sleep. He knew it was his time to go and his tail kept wagging to the end as we cradled him in our arms and said ‘goodnight, sweet dreams’. After our vet had left and Beanie had gone I felt a cold, soft brush against my hand, he said goodbye and then the angels carried him home.

The strange thing was Reggie completely ignored everything although he was in the same room, it was as if he had already said his goodbyes that afternoon when he laid with Beanie, and I , who didn’t know how I was going to hold it together for Beanie and the rest of the family amazingly was emotionally in control until the end, and I thank the angels for giving me strength. Although they didn’t take Beanie in his sleep, they did answer my prayers, for I think he needed us to be with him as he left this world to return home.

Although we will never forget Beanie we now have a wonderful new addition to our family, her name is Bunty named in honour of Beano, she is a goldendoodle and a joy, she has brought new life to Reggie and to our home.

I have found great comfort in knowing that when we need them the most the angels let us know that they are always here for us with their never ending love, peace, protection and healing.

Julie Small