Not long ago, I came across a post from a friend of mine which told about an experience she had while hiking a trail in Ireland. The post read as follows:
I was rushing through the last 2 hours of my hike on the Atlantic Way Trail, getting nervous about the dying twilight and empty trails. The last person I passed had been hours ago, and I still had no glimpse of Doolin. I was experiencing fatigue in my leg stabilization muscles and needed to watch my feet closely, when I looked up again I was startled to see this black dog silently watching me. I called out to her, and she timidly snuck into the high grass. 5 minutes later I turned around and she was following me a ways behind. Although I was a little unnerved, I again crouched down and called to her. She never let me touch her, but eventually she was accompanying me into town a couple paces behind me. Then, at the trails end and roads beginning, as suddenly as she appeared, she disappeared. It was strangely comforting to have this shadow sharing a length of the dark trail with me, and I’m thankful to her for the company.
This story reminded me of another that I had heard countless times. It was a story from my dad’s childhood in Greece. He and his friend were climbing a rocky mountain in order to avoid taking the long road from a village to the monastery where they were staying. After climbing for some time, they realized that they had reached a point where they couldn’t climb any further, but it was also too high and too steep to go back down. As the sun started to set, their fear took hold and they began wondering how long it would take people to find them once they realized they were missing. Suddenly a mountain goat appeared before them, and began to walk along a path that they hadn’t seen before. They followed the goat just long enough to feel they were safe again before it disappeared just as suddenly as it had appeared before.
These stories aren’t unique. There are endless accounts of people in far more dire situations who were rescued by animals that appeared at just the right moment to ensure their safety.
In 1974, the Philippine navy published an official account of an unusual rescue. On June 2nd an inter-islander passenger ship had sank off of the coast of an island in the southern Philippines. Two days into the search and rescue effort a woman was spotted clinging to what appeared to be an oil drum. As soon as they started hauling her up, they realized it was actually a giant sea turtle that had been propping her up. It was witnessed by Lt. Cesario F. Mana along with practically everyone else aboard the ship. Mana was quoted in the Montreal Gazette saying “The Sea Creature even circled the area twice before disappearing into the depths of the sea, as if to reassure itself that its former rider was already in good hands.”
In September of 2000, 19 year old Kevin Hines had made the decision to end his life by jumping off of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. He immediately realized after launching himself past the guardrail that he had made a mistake and he didn’t really want to die. He managed to turn his body so that he was no longer falling head first, and miraculously survived the impact. However, he was in indescribable pain as he sank below the water since he had broken his back. He was struggling to keep his head above water when he felt a creature brush against his leg, he claims that the creature kept circling him and nudging him, keeping his head above water until he was rescued by the coast guard. He believes that the creature was a seal but one man on the bridge claimed that it was actually a sea lion that was circling Kevin and keeping him alive.
There’s no question that we have a special connection with animals, but are these stories just a case of being in the right place at the right time? In Kevin Hines case, he believed that the sea lion who came to his rescue was a guardian angel, and my dad claimed that the goat leading them to safety was divine intervention as well. In Kate’s case, she was just grateful to have companionship during a part of her journey where being alone could have been dangerous.
Is it possible that these people manifested their guardians in a time of need?