Saturday, October 24, 2020

Steve Vassallo: Angels Are Among Us

Trixie was a member of the Vassallo family for 15 years.

This past spring something moved me to conduct a research project into angels. The deeper I got into the subject and the more I learned, the more fascinated I became. A book by Billy Graham about angels turned out to be the crowning jewel.
After two weeks of research and reading several books, I wanted to share my findings with a couple of churches and a prayer group. Their reaction was overwhelming: Like me, they were excited, fascinated and intrigued.
Of all the things I discovered, one stood out in my mind: Angels surround us constantly and occasionally assume the appearance of another human or animal. At the time, however, I was not focusing on how this discovery could relate to me, although I have always had a strong conviction about the guardian angel assigned to my protection and guidance.
This Thanksgiving, we lost our beloved pet, Trixie, a solid-black mixed breed and a cherished family member for the previous 15 years. Trixie was a special dog—she influenced our lifestyle and demanded our undivided attention at all times. We definitely understood her moods, wants and concerns in ways that only canines can communicate.
Steve and Rosie Vassallo’s late dog, Trixie, taking a walk in the area where the Vassallos later saw a mysterious stray that looked almost exactly like Trixie.

Over the years, we must have walked Trixie and our other dog, Daphne, on the Ole Miss campus several thousand times. The pair enjoyed these walks more than anyone could ever imagine, and chasing the hundreds of squirrels was always an added bonus. Not once in all those thousands of walks, an exercise ritual that spanned five years, did the four of us ever encounter a loose or stray dog. Not a single time!
A few mornings after Trixie had departed her earthly body, my wife, Rosie, Daphne, and I were walking through the Quadrangle just north of the chapel on campus. Suddenly, a stray black dog, similar in size and shape to Trixie, appeared out of nowhere, running in circles around the chapel’s rear lot. The three of us stopped and watched in confusion and disbelief, not knowing if the stray dog would come near us or not. Daphne could not take her eyes off this surprise visitor. After circling the chapel grounds for a minute or so, the dog disappeared between the chapel and the Johnson Commons building.
angel comforts Jesus
An angel comforts Jesus in this painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Shortly thereafter, I told a friend about what had happened. He quickly dismissed it, assuming someone’s dog had just happened to get loose and wandered into our path by coincidence.
I did not concur with his conclusion. I asked myself, “Why hadn’t we observed another stray dog during all those years of walking the same route? And why did this stray pup just happen to resemble Trixie in color and almost exact size? And why did the exact location of the sighting just happen to be on the chapel grounds rather than other sections of the Quadrangle?”
I don’t believe in coincidences and normally do not attempt to dismiss unusual happenings with such rational, earthly explanations. What we observed that Thanksgiving holiday morning may or may not have been an angel, but if it was, its appearance only reinforces my belief in what Billy Graham and thousands of others have experienced and witnessed throughout the ages. If your curiosity compels you this Christmas season to explore the world of angels, prepare yourself for some unanticipated findings.


Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.