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I was a boy when my mother’s father died.

I was terrified to visit him because his dogs always ran out barking wildly when we arrived. I did not know they were expressing joy at seeing my mother.

I visited him the week before he died.

He died the day after while having lunch.

When we arrived his dogs did not run out to greet us. They were locked in a shed. They were barking and wailing.

My grandfather was laid out in his coffin in the parlour of his house.

Someone said the dogs should be allowed in.

They were.

They ran all three of them into the house. When they arrived at his coffin the three sat in silence.

It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, would ever see.

My cat Zorro died yesterday.

I was upstairs working when I got a craving for something I don’t particularly like, a tuna sandwich.

I decided to make enough for myself and others. I would give the water to Zorro.

As I went to the kitchen I saw Zorro lying in a familiar spot in the hall.

I emptied the tuna water into a dish. Then I went to bring him in. As I put him down his body lay flat on the floor. He meowed.

I realized at once that he was dying.

I brought him upstairs with me after putting the tuna in the fridge.

I held him in my arms stroking his stomach.

I realized he did not have long.

One thing he liked to do very much was lie on my bed gazing at me.

I moved him to the bed. Then I softly stroked his body.

I had potatoes boiling on the stove. I went down, turned them off, riced them and returned.

When I returned I saw that life had left his body. I regretted not being with him for that.

I lay beside him thinking of the joy he had brought me.

I had adopted Zorro after the death of my cat, Berlin, whom Zorro very much resembled.

The day Berlin died I had cradled him in my arms for a while: .

I turned off my camera just before he passed.

Suddenly his body arched, his mouth opened wider than it ever had and all the breath in him left his body.

The word “spirit” is Latin for breath.

I had a crew from Ryerson coming over to interview me. My musician friend Petunia was in Toronto for a show. He arrived just after Berlin passed. Petunia asked if he could park his vehicle in the back. When he came in from doing that he said, “I saw your cat, Merlin. When he saw me he ran towards me. There were no footprints in the snow.”

I said, “His name is Berlin not Merlin. You did not see him. His body is lying upstairs on my bed.”

Petunia said, “I told you there were no footprints in the snow.”

Berlin had eaten rat poison. That was what killed him. I used to let my cats run free. I loved it when I called them and they came running to me.

But after someone kidnapped Berlin and I found out he had eaten poison I no longer let them out.

I said to Petunia, “That cat was dying to get out.”

I have an authorized replica here of The Turin Shroud. I regularly give presentations on it which few attend.

One of those few was a woman who told me she had been so seriously injured in a car accident it was thought she would never recover let alone be able to walk.

She had astonished everyone by recovering.

She had she said psychic abilities.

She said, “This house is alive with cats, dogs and friends of yours who have passed on. They want me to let you know they are here.”

I’m not asking you believe this story. I’m just reporting what she told me.

It makes sense to me though.

I. myself, had seen a man the day after he died.

It was in 1968 in Ottawa. I had gone to a meeting on ESP and the Paranormal that had been suggested to me.

I sat at the back of a room that filled up with over one hundred people. A woman began to speak at the front. as she did I looked around at those there with me. When a fellow sitting by the exist door feel my eye on him he faded from view. I saw him two more times before the break.

I identified myself to the speaker. She said, “Wait here.”

She left the room. She came back with a photograph. She asked, “Is this the man” I said, “Yes.”

She said, “That’s the caretaker. He died yesterday. Where you saw him was his favourite place to sit during our meetings. Would you like to speak to the group after the break?”

I did for two hours. When I finished I was told, “You belong here.”

Petunia will be in Toronto September 29 and 29. Ask him about there being no footprints in the snow.

That craving for a tuna fish sandwich (which I don’t like), that was Jesus moving me so that a friend who needed love at the moment of his death could receive it.

Why do I say that? Because if I hadn’t given him the tuna water I would have left him where he was when I returned upstairs. The ways of the spirit are indeed wonderful.

We don’t blame Karl Marx because Marxists mess up his teaching–Marx taught we can’t have a socialist state because then the state becomes the capitalist. Marxists are busy creating capitalist states. We should not blame Jesus for the fact that so many who say they are Christians are messing up his teaching. Jesus taught that as we treat the least among us we treat him. He was speaking of the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the jail bird, the stranger. I include cats and dogs among that number. –Reg Hartt


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