December 3, 2009
I have the great blessing of not just one, but two dogs in my life. They are both Golden retrievers and both six years-old: Holly and Emma, aka, Binky and Boo. I have almost always had one dog or another and there have been some mighty fine pups along the way. I had an Alaskan Malamute who was just amazing, a ‘king’ in his own right. Yet, he was also gentle, loving, stunning to look at, and a stalwart companion in any situation. His name was Moses, aka Mobo.
Both of these Goldens are remarkable too, each in her own way. Boo is a nurse-maid, affection addicted, very sharp girl who can figure out complex responses to a situation in a way that often makes us just smile and shake our heads. She is also terrified of thunderstorms and gunshots…no matter how distant. In fact, she knows a thunderstorm is coming when it is still hours away. I look at the regional radar on the web, and, sure enough, there’s a boomer cell in Vermont. Poor girl shakes uncontrollably all over and hides in the closet when it finally arrives. She hates anything that seems violent, noise-wise or otherwise. She got her nick-name, Boo, because she is so full of surprises. I tell her that if she were any sweeter we'd have to call her Maple Syrup.
Then there is Holly. We drove three plus hours to meet her entire litter when they were just four weeks. In a knee-high enclosure there was a ‘puppy pile’ and one iddy-biddy pup pulled herself away from the warmth and coziness to trip across the pen and look up at us, as if to say, “Are you my people?” Abby picked her up and she snuggled against her neck…and we brought her home about four weeks later. It has been an amazing journey ever since. For one thing, she is “The One Who Sits and Watches”. Jan, the breeder told us this and it is absolutely who she is. In any given situation, she will plop it and look at her surroundings with great attentiveness. She watches birds fly over, notes the moon, sees squirrels that are two hundred yards away. And, she lifts her world-class nose into the wind as if she is reading a newspaper.
When Holly was still just a pup, I noticed that she didn’t hesitate to lock eyes with me and that she was ‘reading’ me when she did so. I know this sounds kind of wanky, but, she seems to know what is going on with me, emotionally and mentally. If I need some comfort, she will move closer and ask to be petted, an activity that I suspect benefits me more than it does her, and in multiple ways, maybe even bolsters my immune system via an endorphin release. When Holly looks at me, she often has her head partially turned, at rest on her paws or with a stuffed animal in her mouth…so the result is that she moves her eyes to mine and the whites show. This has the effect of making her look more ‘open’ and almost wide-eyed. It is kind of disarming and makes me smile too.
There are other times when she arrives from someplace else in our household and presents herself to me, as if to say, “What’s up?” She is just checking in and it has the effect of making me pull back from what I am doing and take a break to really be present to her….and to the moment. It is a good practice, especially if I am struggling with part of a painting. Both of these remarkable creatures, as a team, probably constitute the best source of spiritual and emotional nourishment that I could possibly have.
So, when I contemplate either my inner state, or my connection to life, being present, focusing on the good things and finding ways to be happy, I have begun to realize that these two furry beings provide me with the finest role-models I could possibly have. They live their lives almost entirely in the present moment. If they stray from it, it’s not by more than a few minutes. They appreciate the simple things, like affection, playing, walks in nature, good food (despite the fact that it’s always the same food), companionship with each other and with absolutely anybody who comes into our home. In fact, with my wife’s clients coming and going all day, five days a week, you would think it might get less exciting…but no. It is like a small party on the spot, especially when the person is identified as a ‘dog person’.
I won’t go into it today, but I have lots of personal anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that dogs are psychic…..tons of amazing incidents. And, those are just my stories. They know stuff that cannot be simply acquired via the five senses. They know what is going on in the world at a level that we can only wish for. On top of that, the stories of their unwavering loyalty, bravery, selflessness and heroism are so many that only a simpleton would deny them.
I will never know—as in KNOW—what is behind the Great Mystery that created and surrounds us. It is not for me to assume I could possibly ever know something so vast and grand. But, I do have very strong evidence of God’s presence on the earth plane as living, breathing angels…..in fact, they’re wearing fur coats, and have eyes that can melt my Heart at a glance.
G-O-D = D-O-G
It works for me.