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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Allen

Chimes of Liberation

Have you ever wondered what the Rainbow Bridge is like, or if your best friend is waiting for you at the bridge? My novel Leashes in Heaven paints a wonderful picture. Not only is your pup waiting for you, but is thriving.


One of my favorite chapters, Chimes of Liberation, highlights dogs with mobility issues on earth… now renewed.

Josh is the main character who ends up in heaven. Hoping to meet the love of his life, Maddie, must wait. Monkey, the dog that started it all takes him on a magical journey, meeting up with all the dogs he and Maddie saved over the decades.

Chimes of Liberation (shortened)   

Josh and Monkey walk through the valley as a refreshing breeze blows against their faces. It carries beautiful music from the far ridge. As they crest the knoll, they see thousands of wind chimes in the distance, dancing in the breeze and striking out a lovely, harmonious melody. Sunshine reflects off individually polished pieces of metal, giving an appearance of diamonds levitating in the sky.

As Josh and Monkey approach, the awesome sight mesmerizes them. If they didn’t know better, they’d swear it was nighttime. The chimes glitter like stars in the clearest of skies.

Live in the moment, Josh remembers Maddie telling him, always live your Dash. He stops, closes his eyes, and listens. The music is soothing his soul. “This is amazing. What is this?”

“Wait, you’ll see when we get closer.” Not another word is spoken as the beautiful tones entice them to make haste.

About to enter the field of dancing stars, Monkey has a tear in his eye. “This is hallowed ground for many. Of all the places in heaven, I get emotional here.”

Walking further into the midst of all the chimes, Josh falls to his knees, his body tingling as uncontrollable tears stream down his cheeks. These are not sad tears, but tears of joy, tears of triumph. Josh immediately realizes the chimes have special meaning, not your traditional wind chimes. They are made from parts of dog wheelchairs, carts, and wagons—any contraption the dogs once used to assist with mobility on earth. The chimes, once part of a symbol of disability, are now instruments of liberation. They’ve broken free of their chariots, gracing the dogs with independence. Much like the Bridge, these chimes are purely symbolic and Josh can barely contain his joy as he sees those same dogs now running on an agility course down in the hollow; that’s the miracle.

Lifting his gaze to the sky, he closes his eyes and crosses his hands in prayer. “Thank you, Lord, for renewing these dogs’ bodies, allowing them to run and jump once again under their own power.”

Josh feels a cold nose in his ear and he knows it isn’t Monkey’s. It may have been ages ago, but he thinks he recognizes that wet nose. Opening his eyes, he sees Dozer standing right in front of him: a strong, broad-shouldered German shepherd. Any signs of the Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), which consumed his body on earth, is now gone. Dozer was a handsome short timer at Monkey’s House, but during his brief time, he received the love of a lifetime. When Maddie and Josh sent him on his last journey, he knew love more than he’d ever believed possible. They only knew Dozer when DM took over this entire body, but it never took away Dozer’s spirit or his love for them.

Still on his knees, he throws his arms around Dozer’s neck. “It’s so good to see you, Dozer.” As Josh hugs his beloved friend, healing energy flows from Dozer into his body. By now, most of his aliments, aches and pains are gone.

“Dad, I’m so happy to see you. You won’t need to pull me around anymore. Maybe I’ll pull you now.”

“You’re one healthy boy. No more wagons or carts for you.” It thrills Josh to see Dozer whole again.

“Nope…” Dozer flips his nose over toward a large, shiny metal chime hanging magically in the sky. “They gave me the ability to take walks with you and mom. I was grateful for it, but now I love the music they make.” Dozer pushes his shoulder into Josh’s hip as he gives him a hug.

“They make great wind chimes,” Josh says with tears still in his eyes, returning his gaze to the pups below.

“It looks like you guys have an obstacle course. In fact, it looks pretty extreme, like a Ninja course for dogs.” Josh is in awe of the course. Even more so, he’s delighted beyond belief seeing dogs, once in need of mechanical help to get around, running the course like champions.

“We are pretty intense. Once we get our bodies and our independence back, there’s no stopping us.”

Dozer leads his dad and Monkey towards the course. As they get closer, the dogs on the course stop in their tracks, turn and run up the hill to see their dad. Josh notices Monkey slow down to make way for his dad’s reunion with the others.

Josh pets Legend, Fletcher, and the others as he falls to the ground in laughter amidst all the happy, wriggling pups. They are so excited, each trying to get their dad’s attention. Licks, wiggles, and cuddles… are even better here in heaven, with dogs in restored bodies. Once things quiet down a bit, Josh notices their sweet little white poodle, Ariel. He’s surprised to see her; up until now he has met none of “Maddie’s pack.” These were dogs who would never leave her side at Monkey’s House. They were the likes of Sora, Buck, Daisy Mae, and so many more, but especially Ariel.

“Ariel, look at you with all your legs. You look as glamorous as ever. I see you’re still wearing your bling.”

Before he’s finished speaking, she darts forward and leaps into his arms. “I’m always by Mom’s side. But I couldn’t wait for you to see how fast I can run and jump on my own.”

Josh lovingly embraces Ariel. “I can’t wait to see you pups conquer the course. For most of you, I never saw you walking without assistance.” The dogs, eager to show off for their dad, dash off to the starting line. Dozer takes a seat next to him, both looking down the small slope. It’s a great vantage point for watching the dogs’ triumph over their earthly disabilities.

“Dozer, this course is like dog agility meets mountain biking. Why is it designed like that?”

“Years ago, you loved biking, and we wanted you to join us when you were ready.” Dozer looks over toward the edge of the course. “That bike's for you, no helmet required.” Josh notices what looks like his favorite childhood bike, yet larger. The adult version of the Schwinn Sting Ray, the same bike he’d ride on makeshift obstacle courses with the neighborhood kids.

As they ready to watch the dogs take turns, Dozer lies down with his head across Josh’s lap. First to go is Bambi, a tan, slender Italian greyhound who looks like they shot her out of a cannon. She’s avoiding all the obstacles on the course, just flat out running.

Josh scratches his head. “Bambi is so fast, but she’s ignoring all the obstacles. I don’t understand.”

“Heaven gave her the ability to run again; it’s what she loves, her unique gift. Running all out is also her way of showing her appreciation for something as simple as the freedom of movement, given back to her. In her case, she shows it through speed.”

Next up is Dolly, a little white mutt covered in black and brown spots. When Josh last saw her, she was missing her left front leg along with a paralyzed hind-end. Off she charges with all four legs in harmony, ducking her head into the smaller tunnel, only to shoot out the other side in a flash. She goes in and out of the weave polls, like a downhill skier tackling the slalom with her side pushing into each pole. Over a few jumps she goes, followed by the seesaw, up and over, sprinting to the finish. The other dogs bark and howl; Josh joins in with a few howls of his own and a big smile on his face.

“I don’t see a pause table. Don’t dog agility courses have one?” Josh asks.

“We replaced it. We paused our crippled bodies on earth longer than we ever wanted and don’t need to rest anymore. It feels so good to keep moving.”

“What did you replace the table with?”

Dozer looks towards the edge of the course, where a runway leads to a long pool. “We have our own version of a Dock Dive. Our pool is a hundred feet long.”

“Why so long? The world record is around forty feet.”

“World records are insignificant here; we soar on the wings of God. We are all beating earthly records every day. My best so far is over sixty feet.”

Ariel, who you couldn’t miss as her collar glistened in the sun from all the bling, is next up. She looks up to her dad, “Watch me go!” She takes off with excitement, proudly showing her father the skills she’s mastered. Her energy is like the thrill of a little girl on her bicycle, without training wheels for the first time, after her dad releases his grip on the saddle. Ariel’s glitter is like those little girls’ tassels blowing in the wind from the ends of their handlebars. She’s killing the course today and is heading toward the finish line, when she suddenly veers off towards the pool.

“She’s not… she’s going to do the Dock Dive!” Josh grins ear to ear. Approaching the pool, she lets out a cheerful yelp and leaps, flying through the air, hitting the water at about the forty-foot mark. Josh jumps to his feet and runs down with Dozer to meet her. When he gets there, all the dogs have gathered around Ariel, making a fuss over her.

“Congratulations. This is a personal best for you,” Dozer says.

“I did it for my dad.” Looking into her dad’s eyes she continues, “There is one thing I want from you, Dad. Join us.” Ariel flips her nose to the corner of the course. “There’s a bike so you can have some fun with us, like you weren’t able to do for decades.”

Picking up Ariel and hugging her, Josh disagrees: “I always had fun with each one of you, in whatever capacity we could. I loved our time together.” He kisses Ariel on the head. “But I understand what you mean. This is a different kind of fun… now let’s get that bike.”

Josh sits on the bike, ready to tackle the course, with all the dogs anxiously waiting behind him. Rusty, a little red Pomeranian, remembers the many times he rode with his dad in the canine backpack, whipping through trails in the Pines. He is excited to be running alongside his dad this time, as are all the others. The bike takes off as he pushes down on the right pedal. It feels as though he’s just done this yesterday, not the many decades ago when he was last on his bike with his cycling team. However, this time, his crew members are four-legged and furry.

Zipping through the large tunnel, he’s able to ride up the sides, sweeping back and forth, side to side from the momentum. He hears the pounding of hundreds of paw-steps right behind him. As they stream out of the tube, Josh looks like a shooting star with the pups trailing along behind him. He travels so fast, it’s hard to recognize the dogs behind him, but spots Ariel easily. Her shiny bling gives her away. They glide in and out of the weave polls, like a dragon weaving through the streets of Chinatown on the Chinese New Year.

Jump after jump, up and over the seesaw they race; next, Josh heads for the dock dive. As they reach the edge of the pool, he pulls up on the handlebars and flies with the dogs. He lets go of the bike and hits the water first. Ariel and Rusty land close by as more and more dogs splash into the surrounding water, even Bambi. Josh pops his head above the water and sees Dozer and Sammie flying overhead, both landing all the way at the other end of the pool.

His ride with the dogs fills Josh’s heart with joy as he witnesses the miracles bestowed upon them. Spending time with them has rejuvenated his soul. Glancing up the hill from the course, he notices Monkey coming his way; it is time for them to go. He says his goodbyes for now and they walk back the same way they came. At the crest of the hill, he turns, looking upon the dogs with a smile on his face. They’re at it again, the young pups on a mission to crush the course.

Approaching the wind chimes, Josh stops and listens. “If it’s possible, the music sounds even sweeter now.”

“Dad, now you know the true source of the beautiful music. It’s not created by pieces of glistening metal, but from renewed hearts and rejoiced souls.”

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Mar 27

Such a touching and heartfelt passage, I stared to cry knowing my Bessie and Scout Marie

are in Heaven.💕💕


Paula Buchanan
Paula Buchanan
Mar 24

Bawling like a baby as I read that again!! I LOVE this book!! I LOVE all of Jeff's books!!


Mar 24

I have this book as well as two more. I love this one but can’t pick one favorite! ❤️

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