Studies have shown the value of prayer in healing. I was raised in the Catholic faith. It was a blessing to be named Susan Therese.

I have had the most amazing journey one can imagine. My journey of faith has given me many gifts. I believe the most powerful gift was my second chance at life. One of my greatest lessons was the power of faith.

It was truly in my dark night of the soul where my prayers were answered. I had no way to know how or if I would find my way back to the world. Then, in one moment, I just trusted that my prayers would be heard.

It was a friendship that began the healing journey of my faith for me. The energy of her faith and belief in St. Therese the Little Flower that warm summer day led me truly back to my faith and God. We worked in the same building and knew of each other, but did not have a close relationship. One day she gave me a prayer card with the picture of St. Therese the little flower. It is said that St. Therese answers your prayers in the form of roses, whether it be a gift of scent or a picture of a beautiful rose. St. Therese devoted her life to God and promised to spend eternity showering this world with gifts of roses. On the back of the card was a wonderful prayer to ask for her assistance.

I was so touched by the faith of my friend that I knew my miracle was just within reach.

As my world was turned upside down, I continued to look for those roses. My very first gift of roses came in the very beginning of my work with Rose. We did what is called a soul retrieval. During the process of soul retrieval, I saw myself at the top of a mountain overlooking a desert, a place that calls to my soul. I saw the image of an animal next to me. She looked like a wolf with a mask of black on her face. She had an incredible black stripe down her back. I knew it wasn’t my dog Sadie. She had already passed. With every part of me, I knew this was a gift to come.

Way to recovery

I had been well on my way to recovery when I had a thought of another dog. I missed the companionship and friendship that I had. I had lost my dog of 12 years during this illness. I was very sad after losing my companion and friend who had stayed by my side for every late night feeding and all those days of despair.

My children were grown and had very busy lives of their own. Yet, I wasn’t sure I had the energy to begin again with a new pup. I told myself I would just begin to look. I wasn’t really ready, but I had always wanted a husky if I replaced my Sadie. One Sunday, I just happened to look at the want ads and found an advertisement for husky pup. Available: one female with blue eyes and black and white. That was exactly what I was looking for. I convinced myself I was not ready. Two weeks later in the same paper, the same ad appeared. By now I felt safe to call, for surely the pups were all gone by now.

When I called the number, a woman assured me the black-and-white pup was still there. I decided it was time to just take a look. It was a 90-mile drive from home. Was I crazy? A new puppy takes so much energy. I was just getting back on my feet.

I called Mary Kay again. I asked her to come with me to look at these pups. Her your job was to not let me bring one home. I told her she needed to be strong for me, that I was just looking.

Changed our lives

We arrived at the farm. So many cute pups were running around. I had looked at the female pup with the magnificent blue eyes and her black-and-white coat, and surprisingly, I was very content to leave without one. We began to walk away from the kennel. As Mary Kay was holding this beautiful pup, she asked if, by chance, they had named any of the pups in the litter. The reply changed our lives forever.

She told May Kay that all the pups had names – and the one she was holding was named Rose. That response went right over my head. We were both speechless. I managed to utter a few words and asked again: What was the dog’s name? With both of us in shock, I asked why she was named Rose. The young girl replied, "My sister named her. She just looked like a Rose when she was born." To my recollection, no pup looks like a rose when they are born, but she was gifted to me and just waiting for me to bring her home. The only words I could say at the time, after the shock wore off, was, "Who do I write the check out to?"

What are the chances a dog named Rose would be found that day? It was a very long trip home. The conversation was filled with, "Oh My God, who names a dog Rose?" In that very moment, we both knew it was a great act of faith. We have both honored St. Therese in our lives and held such great hopes of her message of healing.

Now the task was to explain to my family that I would be bringing a pup home in one week. I worried about how I would tell my family that this new pup would be entering our lives. But even they understood the message when I told them that her name was Rose. No questions were asked, except, "When will she arrive?" In all the excitement, my youngest did not think we should be shouting the name Rose through the neighborhood. After all, it’s not a really cool dog name. I insisted that Rose be a part of her name. After brainstorming together, we decided she would be called Madison Rose.

Teach me patience

I began to question why was she was sent to me. Perhaps it was to teach me patience, because it was a daily task for me.

I wish I could say this was a match made in heaven, but as a friend said, "With every rose, there is a thorn." I was very excited all week at the thought of bringing her home, and yet, I was very apprehensive. I was just feeling a sense of freedom, getting out into the world again, and here I was taking on this new responsibility.

My daughter came with me to pick up our Rose. When we arrived, I had paperwork to fill out. We went into the house, where Rose was playing. The breeder told me that they brought Rose in for a bath early in the morning, but she had jumped out of the screen porch window. She ran back to her mom and the other pups. I really began to worry she was not ready to leave her family. I felt very sad. Was this a mistake? Was this dog really meant for me?

My daughter sat down and Rose just curled up in her lap and went to sleep as we finished the paper work. I began to think it would be all right. When we went outside, Rose did not want to leave. We had to literally drag her on her leash to the car. The breeder finally picked Rose up and carried her to the car. As we began to drive away, Rose settled into my daughter’s lap again and slept all the way home. There was such a peaceful feeling when I looked at the two of them. It was a picture of grace – two angels asleep in the back of my car. It was so very comforting that we had found a match. It was a true blessing.

Then we arrived home. The first few hours were crazy. She would not go into the house, so finally we picked her up and carried her in. Rose immediately tried to jump out the windows. For the few years, escape was the only thing on her mind. I began to question if I had made a mistake, but my belief in the power of prayer and its gift was omnipresent. My thoughts turned to my soul retrieval three years ago. The dog in the experience had a mask and dark black stripe. I began to think there was still another dog out here for me. I sat down and looked at Madison Rose. She had a very distinct mask and a dark stripe down her back. Today, the strip remains so bold and dark, but the mask has faded away. Like her, I believe we have outgrown the mask, the need to hide our true selves from the world.

I thank God for Rose every day. She brings so much laughter and unconditional love into my life. I cannot imagine my days without her. She was a gift from St. Therese to fill my life with unconditional love at a time when I was so empty and lonely. She is at my side as a write this journey, and she is always there in my heart and soul. I know today that she was the animal in the soul retrieval. She was my hope and healing.

Susan Mavity is a holistic practitioner. She has a masters degree in Metaphysics and Spiritual Counseling. My company, Inner Resources Inc., was founded to help each soul find the healing light within. The story of her dog, Madison Rose, is one of faith, healing and friendship. Contact her at innerlight20@aol.com Copyright © 2006 Susan Mavity. All rights reserved

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