By Dannette Horton, North Carolina

At four o’clock on a Saturday morning, a dish crashing to the floor in the kitchen downstairs awakened me. I heard my ex-husband, Carl, making sounds as if he was in pain. (Although Carl and I are divorced, he is still my best friend and lives with us.) My thirty-seven-year-old son, Eric, was pleading in an urgent voice, “Dad, please try to sit up in the chair.”

I cautiously came down the stairs and found Eric sweeping up glass from the dish that must have fallen while our son struggled to help his father. Our ten-year-old, brown-and-white dog, Dolly, followed him closely. My daughter, Jennifer, and I had rescued Dolly from a puppy mill when the dog was three months old. Jennifer named the dog after Dolly Parton. She grew into a sweet, gentle, loving Soul and became best friends with our family cat, Tao. Dolly was also a great friend to Carl.

Eric looked worried. Dolly was staring up at Carl while whining and pacing between Carl and Eric. Too weak to sit up straight, Carl slumped in the chair and gasped for air. His skin was pale, clammy, cold, and wet. As a former cardiac-intensive-care nurse, I immediately recognized the symptoms of respiratory failure and called 911, the emergency-services number. This situation was beyond anything Eric and I could handle by ourselves.

I waited outside in the humid August night air so I could direct the emergency vehicles to our house. I continued talking to the 911 dispatcher on the phone and began to cry. The dispatcher urged me to keep calm. Fortunately the fire-department rescue truck and hospital ambulance were located near my home and arrived within a couple of minutes. I thanked the 911 dispatcher for her service and waved the emergency crews toward me.

Dolly’s Inner Guidance

Usually Dolly loves to bark loudly at anything coming near the door to our house. However, she stayed calm and did not bark as the fire-department and ambulance crews rushed into our home. Instead of fending them off, Dolly led the emergency workers, one by one, up the stairs to Carl in the kitchen. After escorting each person, she would give a worried glance at Carl and make a tiny attempt to lick his face. Then she’d hurry downstairs to lead the next person to him. Otherwise Dolly did her best to stay out of the way.

I had a hard time believing what Dolly had done in this crisis. Then an inner nudge told me the Mahanta, my inner spiritual guide and friend, was present. I felt a familiar calming, loving feeling come over me when I turned my attention to the Mahanta. And I realized Dolly, this little Soul, had known what to do.

The ambulance whisked Carl to the hospital. He was in a lot of pain but still breathing with the help of an oxygen mask. Eric and I took a moment to process what had happened.

“I was downstairs sleeping when I felt Dolly come into the bedroom. It was odd that she didn’t jump into her typical snuggle spot to sleep by me,” Eric said. When my son opened his eyes, Dolly was watching him with her face close to his head. Nervously she looked up to the ceiling to the second floor, where the kitchen is located. Dolly is a prick-eared Jack Russell terrier with ears that naturally stand straight up, but now her ears were pinned back, as if she was worried. “I knew something was not right,” Eric explained.

Eric immediately ran upstairs to the kitchen and found his father in distress. Quickly he helped Carl to sit upright in a chair in order to be able to breathe better.

While listening to Eric’s explanation of what happened, I immediately understood. Dolly, as Soul, had followed the Mahanta’s guidance to provide the right outcome for our spiritual good. Every moment and reaction in an emergency like this impacts the outcome. Dolly’s intuitive understanding of the situation had made a difference in saving Carl’s life. What an incredible example of Soul acting on divine love.

—Photo by Dannette Horton