Until Death Do Us Part by John Cali

In our last two blog posts, The Power of Animals and The Power of Animals, Part 2, we talked about the relationships between animals and humans. This week we’re talking about another incredible animal, this one a dog named Shep.

I’m having a very busy week, as I’m away from home. So actually we’re just revisiting Shep in an article we wrote a few years ago, Forever Faithful.

I know some of you have read the article before, and some have not. Either way, I think you’ll love revisiting, or visiting for the first time, Shep’s story. Shep gives new meaning to the words “until death do us part.”
Related links:
Pets: Our Teachers and Healers
Heart To Heart
Dogs and God


Is there a lesson in Shep’s story for us humans? What has been your experience of the love and loyalty of dogs? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.

We welcome your comments and thoughtful opinions, whether you agree or disagree with us. Please keep your comments polite and relevant to the topic of this post. If needed, we’ll edit for clarity. Also, we’ll delete anything we consider inappropriate.

13 Responses

  1. Barbara

    Hi Damian,

    What a fascinating story, thank you for sharing it.

    I have an idea of what you mean regarding hot sun and sitting in the dirt. I have a friend who is also on a shamanic type of path. He once told me that the desert will strip you right down to your bones, there is nowhere to hide and it can be brutal. But it helps you release a lot!

    There are no deserts here in Scotland but I spent a day in the desert in Utah. I was mesmerised. I had never seen or felt anything like it. I had been instructed not to sit beneath a tree or on rocks on a dried river bed as that is a favourite haunt of snakes (we don’t have them here either!). I was so hypnotised by the energy that that was exactly where I sat.

    In my mesmerised state, my vibration was obviously not attractive to the snakes thank heavens lol.

    I also agree with you about the animals, they have been my constant throughout this lifetime and I don’t know how I would have coped with a lot of “stuff” without them.

    Like you, I also love travelling. I always meet fabulous people when I do.

    Perhaps we will meet up next time I am in Wyoming, but you had better keep me away from deserts. LOL.


  2. jerry

    Thanks for this wonderful story, John. Quite a few years ago, I got a miniature dachshund for my family to raise and love. She was the runt of the group and stole my heart. We named her Ginger. She lived with us for about 3 years and being in the Air Force, I got orders to England and had to sell her because we did not want to leave her for 6 months in seclusion over there.

    We worried a lot over this because she was a such a part of us. Several people wanted her but we did not feel good about any of them until someone came by and said he was interested because all he ever owned was dachshunds since he was a little boy. What impressed us was that he did not want to take her immediately. He said he would come by every day and play with her for a week, so she would get used to him and they could bond. That REALLY impressed us because of his love of animals.

    At the end of the week, he came and got her and she jumped in his car with a wagging tail and we knew she would be loved. My family and I were very sad to see her go but we knew she would be loved. About 14 years later, I was with my wife at a physical therapy session, I was relaxing in the waiting room chair and I had a vision of Ginger running to me with her tail wagging as a little puppy again, so I knew she had crossed over and was saying ‘Hi’ to me. It is amazing to me how pets can show unconditional love!

    Thanks again, John, for this great reminder of how love can surround us.

    Love and hugs,

    • John Cali

      What a beautiful dog story, Jerry! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

      Love & hugs,

  3. Sarah Drury

    What a touching and beautiful story, although I did cry at the end when old Shep was hit by the train. We can learn a lot from the loyalty and love of animals.
    There’s a lovely story from a city near to my hometown. Its about a little Skye terrior called Bobby who worked as a police dog with a man called John Gray in the late 1850’s. Gray died of Tuberculosis and the little dog was lost without him. Bobby, the terrior, held a vigil on John Gray’s grave for 14 years until he died and was buried in the same churchyard as his Master and best friend. There’s a statue which was erected in the city of Lincoln to commemorate this amazingly loyal little dog. He is now known as ‘Grayfriars Bobby’.
    I always think that the dogs who work with the deaf and the blind are amazing. I met a couple of guide dogs on a recent train journey and they were amazingly loyal. They were the lady’s eyes and she depended on them to get around. But they were much loved and obviously loved the lady just as much.

    I hope this isn’t out of order, but there’s a wonderful site devoted to rescue animals and by clicking everyday on the site it provides food for the shelter animals until they are rehomed. The site is:


    • John Cali

      Thank you very much, Sarah, for sharing the story of Bobby — it’s equally as touching as Shep’s story. Dogs are such amazing creatures, and we are richly blessed to have them walk among us.

      Thank you also for sharing the link — that’s not at all out of order.

    • Barbara

      Hmmmmm “coincidence” Sarah? I too thought of Grayfriars Bobby when I read Shep’s story in the early hours this morning. I always loved the statue of him and meandering around the churchyard.


      • Sarah Drury

        Hi Barbara,
        It’s a story that always touched me. Ignore my comment about Lincoln, it was Edinburgh I think? X

        • Barbara

          Yes, it was Edinburgh, Sarah. About five minutes walk from where I was born.
          B x

          • Sarah Drury

            What a lovely place to be born. I spent a week there in my younger days and really missed it when I returned home. I can’t believe I live in the uk and have only been to Scotland twice!!! X

  4. Damian Purdy

    Thank you John, I love it. I had a Shep of my own once. He was my very first dog and his name was Muncha. I was nine years old when Muncha came to me, a little black terrier mix of some sort. He bout licked my face off the first day we met. I lived in California then, and the next year, we moved to Wyoming. A few years later we went to Yellowstone. Of course, we had to see Old Faithful, but it was to be bitter sweet, see, no one saw Muncha get out of the van, and he wasn’t with us when we left. I never thought I would ever see him again. One week later we got a call from a Ranger, said that they believe they found our dog. The whole family jumped back into the van and we raced off to get him. When we arrived, I was the last one out of the van. I didn’t want to look at this dog they said was Muncha. No way he could of survived the wilderness of Yellowstone. There he was, he looked old and grey, he could barely walk. The Rangers later said they thought he was a very old dog, but he was only three at the time, and they also thought he was going to have a heart attack when he saw me. Like the first day we met, he bout licked my face off. The Rangers later dubbed him the Legend of Luis Lake. There were reports of a small black dog stealing food and running away from people he didn’t know. He was heading in the right direction, he was coming home. He lived a long life in our house. He was my friend. Yes, I miss him very much, but I know I will see him again and he will lick my face off, again.

    • John Cali

      Thanks so much, Damian, for sharing Muncha’s story with us. As I said in another comment, we are so blessed to have dogs in our lives. They have so much to teach us.

    • Barbara

      What an amazing story, Damian. That is wild rugged land to be lost in!

      My Rosie was lost here for a week, it was horrendous, so I have an idea what you went through. Our reunion was a complete joy too.

      Like you, I miss her. But as you can see in our article, The Far Side of the Rainbow Bridge”, she’ll always be with me.



      • Damian Purdy

        Thank you Barbara! I am familiar with the rainbow bridge and I like it very much. I do have something to relate to my telling of Muncha in Yellowstone. But first, a bit of background. Last year, in May, I went to Sedona to meet with a shaman. He showed me the burdens I was carrying, and in the hot summer sun, I did an exercise that left me crying in the dirt, literally. Since then, I’ve been working on myself with great intent, something is coming, I can feel it, and I want to be ready. In Oct, of last year, I remembered a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in over 30 years. This Jan, he contacted me! We have been talking as if those 30 years never happened. We picked right up where we left off. It is a connection that I thought was lost forever, but then, what do I know, heh. Well, just the act of talking with him has brought back a flood of memories, that, combined with these articles about animals, well, it reminded me of Muncha and his ordeal. While writing that story I began to cry. Uncontrollably for about an hour and a half. Now, in Sedona, I was prepared for what was coming, I knew I had to love my burdens, love what I’ve lost in my life, love my pain, everything, but remembering Muncha…it caught me off guard. I didn’t expect it and, to be honest, it scared me. Last night, I cried myself to sleep. I’m ok now. I think that not knowing why it hit me so hard is what scared me most.
        Every animal that I have had the pleasure of knowing has taught me something, and, I am forever grateful for every moment they have shared with me. Sometimes, I think that I get along better with animals than I do humans, but that isn’t true. I have met many people in my travels and I have made many friends. Like my friend from my early days in Germany. Every moment is precious. Learning to pay attention, to love, to be here now. I want that, so, that is what I will do. Thank you all for sharing your stories, your now. I love it all. Damian.

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